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Video on the Radio

The Comrex booth at NAB has always been a must stop for radio folks.

The Comrex booth at NAB has always been a must stop for radio folks. Their usual excellent offering of ISDN, POTS, IP and wireless codecs have been staples for most stations for 50 years. Yes, Comrex is celebrating their 50th anniversary at this NAB. It seems like just yesterday I was talking with Lynn and John Cheney about their amazing new Hotline POTS codec. But I digress. Their big top secret surprise this year is Liveshot. That sounds like TV talk. And it is. You wouldn’t expect to see TV equipment and big live scene monitors in booth like Comrex.

Liveshot is an impressive new wireless video codec that is primarily targeting LPTV and even larger stations that want to save a ton of money supporting the traditional but expensive microwave ENG systems. Doing high quality video over wireless IP has always been challenged by limited bandwidth. With Liveshot and an LTE or 4G wireless connection, remote live video feeds can now flow at 2 mB/s for a little over $10k. That opens up an incredbly vast new market.

The Comrex Liveshot package includes a lightweight portable unit that can attach to a suitable shoulder supported field camera. The studio side is a rack mounted central server that handles all the decoding magic and processing. Included are USB and ethernet jacks, mobile-web-based UI, store and forward capability and full duplex audio and video.

But Liveshot just isnt for our TV brothers. It has all kinds of radio applications too. For those forward looking stations that are doing video podcast website content creation and live show video webstreams, the Liveshot may be the next weapon you’ll need in your digital arsenal. If our digital assets are ever going to start making real money, this new content that I like to call Video on the Radio, is one of the most promising yet under-developed or deployed resources out there.

— Phil Simon