TVU Networks Gets Small with the TVUPack Mini

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Those of you interested in live streaming from the field may have read my recent article about a group of technologies I have christened Cellular Multiplexers. In it, I compare LiveU, TVU Networks, and Aviwest products.

One of the outstanding features of the last of these is Aviwest's extremely compact unit, and I was struck by how the physical size of an outside broadcast link has shrunk from a truck to a rack to a rucksack to a chocolate box over the course of the past decade.

With LiveU and TVU Networks products still in the rucksack as I wrote that article a couple of months ago, Aviwest was, in portability alone, the hands-down winner.

I'm delighted to see that within a short time the market is responding to this. In the last day or so a release has come out from TVUNetworks stating that this week, in sync with IBC, it's introducing the TVUPack Mini. In effect, this is its own chocolate box "ultra-small lightweight portable live video transmission system that utilizes one or more wireless data cards to broadcast live events."

Ultimately, this device is progressively miniaturizing the technology that allows a camera to wirelessly broadcast, using multiple cellular network links, live back to a transmission studio or playout facility (or similar). It provides camera operators with a red button facility to enable them to autonomously film and send that footage in real time over the public mobile phone networks back to a TV center.

Notably, because several cellular accounts (read SIM cards) can be used for the data link at the same time, with the signal spread across all of them as if they were one large network link, this means that higher quality pictures can be sent than, for example, the video conferencing quality that has become commonplace on smart phones. Indeed, the press release highlights that -- much like with the other products mentioned -- even HD quality is possible.

In my practical experience, all these cellular multiplexers are prone to adverse network conditions, such as other people using all the network capacity on the local cellular towers. However, in most circumstances good enough is good enough. As we've seen in recent major news events, such as the London Riots or the Arab Spring, having okay quality streaming is better than waiting for days for HD super quality footage.

As of this writing, I do not have any images in my hands to share, but I am assured the product will be on general release this fall. I will get more info out to you as I receive it.

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