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kmetz

Live Trucks going fully cellular with 5G?

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Wondering if we could see more and more live shots be done with LiveU or other bonded solutions in let's say 5-10 years once 5G really takes off and becomes nationwide. Could we see the death of microwave trucks? 

 

Thx :)

 

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, kmetz said:

Wondering if we could see more and more live shots be done with LiveU or other bonded solutions in let's say 5-10 years once 5G really takes off and becomes nationwide. Could we see the death of microwave trucks? 

 

Thx :)

 

 

We're already seeing that happen. The streaming tech has gotten good enough that it's indistinguishable from ENG/SNG quality. There are upsides and downsides to both, and I'm sure both will be used for a while, but you would be surprised at how often it's already being used in big markets now.

Edited by C Block

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11 minutes ago, C Block said:

 

We're already seeing that happen. The streaming tech has gotten good enough that it's indistinguishable from ENG/SNG quality. There are upsides and downsides to both, and I'm sure both will be used for a while, but you would be surprised at how often it's already being used in big markets now.

From what I've heard it seems to be expensive, however? More expensive than microwave? 

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Posted (edited)
40 minutes ago, kmetz said:

From what I've heard it seems to be expensive, however? More expensive than microwave? 

Microwave is free once you have the trucks and infrastructure.  You can use it 24/7 without additional costs. It’s reliable and rarely goes down. There are some solutions where you can create your own private LTE network where you get two way data.

 

Cellular bonding your bound to a contract of how many hours or if you rent the SIM cards yourself the gig. It does provide good quality and allows high speed Internet in the field, but if your at a large event where cell phones are being used or during a hurricane and towers or down - good luck getting a signal.  Most of the trucks now are equipped with bonded cellular units as back up or two provide a second path. There are some trucks that look like conventional microwave trucks without the mast or dish that rely solely on cellular. 

 

A lot of the O&Os (which have huge contracts with the likes of Dejero or LiveU) automatically send their photogs who may be taking a truck (even if it’s equiped with a CNG unit) with a camera back or a backpack unit as backup. One station in LA (cough KTTV) deploys microwave trucks but mainly used CNG equipment and one day the control software at the station went down.  The photogs had to be instructed how to properly tune in a live shot or set up a satellite signal.

Edited by rkolsen

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5G also has some big limitations.  The signals don’t travel far, have trouble penetrating buildings, and the cell sites have to be incredibly close together.  The site locations are incredibly close, I was driving down a main road here and the cell “towers” (ontop of telephone poles) were located almost every two blocks. It’s going to take a while for complete coverage like 4G and as far as I know there isn’t a finished 5G standard.

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2 hours ago, rkolsen said:

Microwave is free once you have the trucks and infrastructure.  You can use it 24/7 without additional costs. It’s reliable and rarely goes down

Didn't know that part but was aware of the rest. Especially congestion. Thx for the input.

 

Do LiveU or TVU Packs use any "special" sim cards? All providers offer unlimited data on phone and tablet, but not on a hotspot or AirCard.

 

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Posted (edited)
34 minutes ago, kmetz said:

Didn't know that part but was aware of the rest. Especially congestion. Thx for the input.

 

Do LiveU or TVU Packs use any "special" sim cards? All providers offer unlimited data on phone and tablet, but not on a hotspot or AirCard.

 

 

You technically lease the LiveUs and TVU and what not.  I believe they deal with the various cellular companies and then they monitor your stations usage.  I think they use generic SIM cards.  LiveU has some devices for people or events who have YouTube channels that can take a SIM card, plug in a USB modem or Ethernet.

 

Its worth mentioning that almost all the devices provided by Dejero, LiveU and TVU allow you to connect to WiFi and Ethernet where they will bond all the sources for the best signal.

Edited by rkolsen

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6 hours ago, kmetz said:

From what I've heard it seems to be expensive, however? More expensive than microwave? 

 

If you're a station group like Gray, you recover the cost, and likely then some, by eliminating nearly all of your photographers and engineers and relying on live shots done by MMJs equipped with cellular backpacks and more fuel efficient vehicles than a traditional live truck.

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On 3/6/2019 at 7:59 AM, kmetz said:

Wondering if we could see more and more live shots be done with LiveU or other bonded solutions in let's say 5-10 years once 5G really takes off and becomes nationwide. Could we see the death of microwave trucks? 

 

Thx :)

 

 

We are already seeing the death of microwave trucks. Cell packs are smaller, lighter, easier, and quicker to use. I don't know the details on cost, but I'm guessing probably cheaper in the long run compared to microwave trucks. Current 4G networks are more than sufficient as long as there is coverage, which there is in most metro areas. 5G I'm sure will provide improvements, but any "problems" with 5G technology will be sorted out by the cell companies before being deployed to consumers. A 5G cell backpack will work just as good as a 5G phone does ones the technology is in place, just as a 4g backpack now works just as good as a 4G phone.

 

While live shots at my station are done with cell packs almost exclusively, live trucks are still taken as a backup about 50-75% of the time. I'd say we do maybe 1 or 2 live shots from a truck a week, if that. In fact, we probably do more satellite shots than microwave shots. Sat is used when crews are in areas with no cell coverage and too far out for microwave.

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Posted (edited)

There is still nothing better than a live shot done via microwave, with zero delay and no dropouts. Full HD.

 

No reporter nodding their head for an eternity. No producer messing-up a jump-cue (which is even worse). No need for a live stinger to sit on screen for several seconds.

 

The good news is that they still seem to be heavily used on the west coast.

Edited by NateinFLA
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25 minutes ago, PTVNews said:

A 5G cell backpack will work just as good as a 5G phone does ones the technology is in place, just as a 4g backpack now works just as good as a 4G phone.

 

LiveU is in fact already developing a 5G backpack. 

 

11 minutes ago, NateinFLA said:

There is still nothing better than a live shot done via microwave, with zero delay and no dropouts. Full HD.

 But I completely agree with this. 

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3 hours ago, NateinFLA said:

zero delay

Wouldn't there be some delay considering latency? 

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16 hours ago, kmetz said:

Wouldn't there be some delay considering latency? 

It’s usually sub second.

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16 hours ago, kmetz said:

Wouldn't there be some delay considering latency? 

Well, sure, there is technically encoding and decoding that does cause a few frames of latency, but it’s virtually unnoticeable. 

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Do you notice anything when the cell system looses power during disasters and emergencies?

 

How about covering large protest and gatherings where the cell network in that area is slammed and you can't get a decent encode or decode?

 

How many years till the entire country has 4G...forget 5G...that's still not not ready for primetime and the entire country won't see %g for a long time.

 

The 2ghz systems the real pros use are all backed-up by generators that we control, maintain and fuel.

 

We also maintain a pretty decent 2-way radio system where we don't have to depend on the cellular network...and we can talk on the system while we drive without fear of a ticket.

 

Cellpacs are great tools, however if your station is ditching it's 2ghz RPU ENG systems, then your station is gonna get a dose of news reality down the road.

 

Yeah....you can drive,  and transmit a live broadcast signal that does pretty well in most cases...

 

Now excuse me while I go watch Live PD on A&E.

 

mastsunrise.jpg.2ccd83eeaf13ced56321f2679f6223de.jpg

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On 3/6/2019 at 7:00 PM, blizzard59 said:

 

If you're a station group like Gray, you recover the cost, and likely then some, by eliminating nearly all of your photographers and engineers and relying on live shots done by MMJs equipped with cellular backpacks and more fuel efficient vehicles than a traditional live truck.

 

To expand on this, I recently came upon this article, a blast from the past to be sure, that indicates Gray quit buying ENG live trucks for their stations all the way back in 2011.

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Posted (edited)

I think we are to the point stations (and station groups) are done buying dedicated live trucks with a mast and such, but are still keeping their fleets until there's a huge breakdown and then just not replacing them. In the four years I've been at my station we haven't bought any more live trucks per se, but we have bought two new Escapes and a Chevy Suburban weather beast thing that can do a live shot via LiveU or the old fashioned way (it has a small dish). I, too, love the no-delay of a traditional live shot. Maybe it's just the network in this city, but I'd say on average the latency of LiveU is two seconds no matter what. Even though the reporters in the field have IFB you still get nincompoop producers who try to cue them to cheat the delay and it just trips them up. 

Edited by H4UL4U

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Wonder who will be the major brand. Right now I see all of the stations in my area using TVU backpacks. Here and there I see LiveU.

 

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, H4UL4U said:

I think we are to the point stations (and station groups) are done buying dedicated live trucks with a mast and such, but are still keeping their fleets until there's a huge breakdown and then just not replacing them.

 

If you go to the Facebook pages of the two largest live truck manufactures, Accelerated Media Technologies (AMT) and Frontline Communications, you'll see that plenty of new live trucks with masts are still being built for stations around the country, though the overall number is no doubt lower than a decade ago for all the reasons stated in this thread. Also, the sizes of the vehicles have definitely gotten smaller on the whole, with those low-profile weather chaser type of vehicles you mention being turned out at a high rate.

 

3 hours ago, kmetz said:

Wonder who will be the major brand. Right now I see all of the stations in my area using TVU backpacks. Here and there I see LiveU.

 

 

The biggest factor is who owns the station, as station groups tend to pick one technology vendor and equip all their stations with the same brand. Here's what I've seen in use among various groups.

 

ABC/ABC O&Os- TVU and Dejero
CBS/CBS O&Os - LiveU
CNN - LiveU
Cox - LiveU
Fox News/Fox O&Os - LiveU
Graham - LiveU
Gray - TVU (Raycom used LiveU)
Hearst - TVU
Hubbard - LiveU

Meredith - LiveU

Morgan Murphy - LiveU
NBC - LiveU
NBC O&Os - LiveU and Dejero
Nexstar - TVU
Quincy - LiveU
Scripps - TVU (some, or possibly all, of the ex-Journal stations use LiveU)
Sinclair - LiveU
Tegna - TVU mostly, with some Dejero and LiveU here and there
Tribune - LiveU and/or Dejero

  

Edited by blizzard59

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4 hours ago, H4UL4U said:

Maybe it's just the network in this city, but I'd say on average the latency of LiveU is two seconds no matter what. Even though the reporters in the field have IFB you still get nincompoop producers who try to cue them to cheat the delay and it just trips them up. 

 

I haven't had the guts to ask producers personally, but I've seen them cue reporters as they are taken live, not necessarily cuing them early to cheat delay. And I wonder to myself, why? Can't the reporters hear the anchors toss to them, or that their pkg has ended so it's time to do their tag? Unless it's just to reenforce that they are live, but if I was a reporter, it'd probably trip me up like you said.

 

 

3 hours ago, blizzard59 said:

The biggest factor is who owns the station, as station groups tend to pick one technology vendor and equip all their stations with the same brand. Here's what I've seen in use among various groups.  

 

I've worked at stations using the various brands. Does anybody know any significant differences between them. Is one easier to use technically or practically with the actual backpacks? Is one brand cheaper or more reliable in some way? Have more features? Btw, last I heard was that stations pay a monthly fee per unit for a certain number of "live hours", is that still correct?

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3 hours ago, PTVNews said:

 

I haven't had the guts to ask producers personally, but I've seen them cue reporters as they are taken live, not necessarily cuing them early to cheat delay. And I wonder to myself, why? Can't the reporters hear the anchors toss to them, or that their pkg has ended so it's time to do their tag? Unless it's just to reenforce that they are live, but if I was a reporter, it'd probably trip me up like you said.

5

 

The IFB isn't delayed, but the signal back to the station will be. The idea is that if you know there's a two second delay, if you cue reporters to go two seconds before the anchor toss actually ends, then it may end up appearing that there's no delay on air. In reality, the delay in the signal is still there, but it's less noticeable than if you don't cue the reporter and they wait naturally for the end of the toss to start talking.

 

We used to do that at one place where I worked a few years ago with TVUs when the delay was always consistently two seconds or longer. It ended up with mixed results. The strategy can backfire – if you cue them too early or if the anchor ad-libs at the last second, then the report could start talking before the anchor's finished.

 

I've worked at stations using the various brands. Does anybody know any significant differences between them. Is one easier to use technically or practically with the actual backpacks? Is one brand cheaper or more reliable in some way? Have more features? Btw, last I heard was that stations pay a monthly fee per unit for a certain number of "live hours", is that still correct?

 

I'm sure other people with more of an engineering background or in the field could say, but I can't ever tell much of a difference between the established brands. They all at least seem to work much better than they did a few years ago.

 

The only one that I thought was truly garbage was some homebrew mix of a Verizon device attached to JVC cameras that we used at one place where I worked. They only had a connection to the Verizon network and wouldn't reconnect if the shot took a hit. If the shot froze, it took a complete restart to get it back.

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19 minutes ago, C Block said:

The only one that I thought was truly garbage was some homebrew mix of a Verizon device attached to JVC cameras that we used at one place where I worked. They only had a connection to the Verizon network and wouldn't reconnect if the shot took a hit. If the shot froze, it took a complete restart to get it back.

That’s not exactly a home brew mix. It’s exactly what JVC was selling. You plug the stick in and you can stream. 

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15 minutes ago, rkolsen said:

That’s not exactly a home brew mix. It’s exactly what JVC was selling. You plug the stick in and you can stream. 

 

Okay, I wondered about that, because everyone always referred to it simply as "JVC." One of the engineers explained to me that it was just a single Verizon connection attached to the camera. Either way, it is/was terrible and borderline unusable for everyday use.

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I snapped these on I-405 in South L.A. a few days ago. I don't know who's it was but it's #33. FOX or KMEX?

 

It's a hybrid truck with a fixed LiveU antenna / amplifier unit just forward of the dish and mast. It's the little white dome about the size of a cake box.

 

That's the ideal set-up right there...best of both worlds.

 

live2gig.thumb.jpg.d2df296c87e327693cc80cda4334df65.jpg

 

 

2ghzliveu.thumb.jpg.c60b5a8c07a763cc67f8dab369306fd6.jpg

 

 

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Did you know you (yes, YOU!) could own your VERY OWN LiveU unit, no strings attached?

 

They sell a prosumer model now. The LiveU Solo. Bring your own 4G modems. Works with one out of the box, but you can upgrade to bonded cellular (max two modems) with some additional somewhat pricey software subscriptions.

 

 

 

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