Backpack live technology a TV news game changer

“I doubt I’ll ever buy a live truck again,” says Jeff Houston, news director for WTVA in Tupelo, Miss.

Houston’s station just recently aired its first live shot using a TVUPack. The system uses multiple wireless modems to put out live or video feeds of higher quality than what you can do with a typical smartphone or through Skype.

ABC News used the TVUPack to broadcast a live shot from a moving train, which opens up all kinds of possibilities for literally taking viewers along for the ride on stories.

This and other new technologies such as LiveCast and LiveU are already changing the news business, according to journalism professor Mary Rogus at The Ohio University.

“Feeding the demand for live has diminished the meaning of ‘broadcast quality,'” Rogus says.

Whether you think this is good or bad for the business, Rogus feels viewers are much more accepting now of lower-quality live shots and video segments.

TV stations like the low cost.  According to Rogus, the TV station she worked with this summer paid LiveU $2500 per month for 40 hrs. of cell time per unit.

Houston says stations are adopting this new, cheaper approach to live shots like “gangbusters.”  In addition to being much cheaper than a microwave truck, the backpack live requires fewer people resources, too.

“One person can do a self-contained live shot,” Houston says.

Attention reporters — get ready to add setting up and producing your own live shots to your already long “to do” list!