It’s never been easier or faster to use video to connect with the public. In fact, compared to the complexity and expense of alternatives like point-to-point microwave and satellite transmission, streaming a live report, emergency communication or even a trade show event via the internet is a piece of cake.
Thanks to the internet, widespread wireless broadband connectivity and an avalanche of IP-based video streaming solutions, ranging from dedicated IP transmitters like TVU Network’s TVU One to its TVU Anywhere broadcast app, the number of people who can stream live video has never been greater.
What Is Video Over IP?
Believe it or not, video has been digital as a consumer technology since the mid-1990s. DVD players and over-the-air TV stations –the kind you need rabbit ears, loop antennas or rooftop models to receive—ushered in the age of digital video.
But that wasn’t what we call IP, or Internet Protocol, video at all. Rather the data used to transport that digital video relies on a digital container format known as MPEG Transport Stream.
That original digital container literally was invented to get the digital media ball rolling. Today, it’s hard to imagine anything other than IP video ever existed in the digital realm, but it most certainly did.
Video over IP transports data packets across the internet at a distance or via a LAN within a studio. Wireless and Wi-Fi networks –by themselves or used together, frequently referred to as bonded circuits or connections—can increase available bandwidth to support high-quality video and provide connectivity with greater resiliency.
Broadcasting video over IP
IP transmitters like the TVU One employ multiple wireless network modems from different carriers to maximize performance and connectivity. In the case of the TVU One transmitter, up to six wireless modems can be used. TVU One, TVU Anywhere and the company’s other IP transmission solutions rely on a proprietary TVU technology called IS+ to push more data through the network.
Connecting a camera to TVU One can be done via an HDMI or an HD/SD-SDI connection. Setting up TVU One to live stream is simple and straightforward. A one-touch front panel button turns on the transmitter, and an LCD display provides touchscreen control over transmission, enabling users to select a receiver, choose transmission mode, view modem status, select latency and access other system information.
Camera connections are found on the left-side encoder panel. Besides the HDMI andHD/SD-SDI inputs, the panel has two spare USB ports, an Ethernet input, DisplayPort and HDMI outputs for monitor display and DC power input.
If a camera is connected when TVU One is powered on, video will be previewed in the LCD screen. In the left top corner, the status of the shot is displayed–either online, which means the unit is standing by to transmit, or live, which means it is transmitting. In the bottom left of the screen, the status of TVU One’s internal modems as well as Ethernet, hot spot and Wi-Fi connectivity is displayed. The right side of the LCD screen displays audio level and battery status.
At the bottom of the LCD panel is displayed the name of the receiver TVU One is connected to, delay status and transmission bit rate utilization.
To begin transmitting live from TVU One, simply tap the center of the display. A list of receivers will be presented. After selecting the desired receiver, tap Go Live and begin transmitting by swiping left to right on the on-screen transmission toggle. To stop transmitting, touch the middle of the LCD display and swipe the stop toggle leftto right.
On the right side panel of the TVU One transmitter are six SIM card slots for TVU One’s embedded modems, IFB output and two spare USB ports. The rear panel is forthe embedded battery.
Tips For Streaming In A Crowd
Nothing is more deadly to a live report than loss of connectivity. That’s one of the reasons IP newsgathering technology like TVU One enables use of a diverse set of wireless transmission paths. At the most basic level, that means using modems from different carriers, i.e. Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile/Sprint, etc. It also means a mix of connections and networks besides those of the wireless service providers, such as Wi-Fi and even wired Ethernet connectivity when available.
Doing so not only puts the live report eggs in more than one basket, but it also enables TVU’s IS+ technology to aggregate bandwidth, maximize its utilization and deliver the highest video and audio quality possible.
The ability to access a variety of wireless networks is especially important when multiple stations and other news organizations are competing for limited bandwidth from a finite number of cell towers in close proximity to breaking news.
Ditto at many high-profile sporting events and political conventions. In fact, available bandwidth can be so scarce –not just because of the media but also the thousands of people attending these gatherings who like to share selfies, watch videos and post to social media—that news organizations frequently will pay for guaranteed bandwidth on wireless hotspots temporarily put in place to ensure connectivity. The rollout of 5G networks promises to change all of that, but mass deployment is still years away.
There’s one other tip that will help ensure a successful live shot: test the wireless connection before going live. As discussed at length in the “Why Is Low-Latency Important When Live Streaming” blog post, dialing in expected latency into TVU One and doing a test stream prior to going live will guarantee the latency setting is correct for the connection being used.
Contributing live news and other content via an IP video stream has transformed the television news business, and now thanks to apps like TVU Anywhere the effectiveness of communicating live with video is open to anyone with a smartphone or tablet—ensuring the tsunami of available video content grows only larger.