Going live without the live truck

3G, WiFi, WiMAX, LTE or Skype.

No, those letters are not the result of fingers run amok on a keyboard, they’re all now part of the multimedia journalist’s toolkit. 

An article from TVNewsCheck does a great job of describing how wireless broadband is changing news reporting, specifically what each option can and cannot do.

The trick to using wireless broadband is understanding its capabilities. It requires “a constant juggling between how much time you have and how much quality you can submit,” said Fred Fourcher, CEO of Bitcentral, a digital media management and content distribution management vendor.

Here are some highlights from the piece.

  • 3G – Good for news stories that are not time sensitive because the upload time for a large video file could stretch into hours.  On the plus side, it’s available almost everywhere, even in a moving vehicle.  In addition, companies like LiveU have technology that can combine up to six 3G feeds to increase the bandwidth and upload speed.
  • Wifi – Faster and potentially cheaper than 3G, but not always available.  Wifi can be tricky to use for a live shot since there’s often a lot of competition for bandwidth.
  • 4G/WiMAX/LTE – coming soon, the article calls this “wireless nirvana.”  In theory, upload time is supposed to be up to five times faster than 3G.  The idea is that you could take a camera enabled with WiMax and use it to broadcast live.  But WiMax is public like Wifi, and without a dedicated link, it could be risky for a live shot.

For more on these technologies, LTE and Skype, check out the full article.