Wed, May 9th 2007 8:45am
A San Francisco news station has devised a clever way of reducing the cost of broadcasting video live from a news scene. Instead of using expensive cameras, and vans filled with gear, the station is using cheap cameras, EV-DO cards and Slingboxes, to transmit video footage back to the newsroom. It's hard to imagine that the quality of the footage is quite as good, but the setup makes a lot of sense for things like weather and traffic cameras, which don't require particularly high resolution. It's also safe to assume that the quality will improve over time. The story is also a good example of how we continue to benefit from Moore's law. Not only is cheap technology driving down the cost of computers, but computers themselves (repackaged in various forms like digital cameras and Slingboxes) are replacing traditional equipment that is much more expensive. In fact, television is one of the industries that's most affected by this phenomenon, as video production can increasingly be done on a laptop without needing an expensive studio. In addition to the cost savings, there's also an environmental angle, as all of this equipment that gets replaced requires a lot of power to run (particularly the news vans), further driving home the point that IT is itself green tech.
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