The helicopter-tracked police car chase has become a staple of television news. But how could a station pursue and send live video feeds of a fleeing car or SUV from its ENG vehicle or even an ordinary car?
Enter an emerging wireless technology that offers broadband Internet access on the go. Known as Evolution Data Only (EVDO), the new wireless broadband technology typically delivers average upload and download speeds of 300kb/s to 500kb/s. Some vendors said they can “super-charge” EVDO to achieve up to 2Mb/s.
At such rates, the use of EVDO in an ENG setting becomes practical, especially in light of the fact that “video phone” filed reports with sometimes grainy pictures and less than full frame rates have become commonplace.
EVDO is a logical extension of concept behind cell phone coverage. Local wireless towers in geographic cells blanket whole cities. EVDO takes advantage of emerging 3G wireless technology to deliver broadband Internet connectivity where there’s cell phone coverage. Verizon Wireless currently offers EVDO service, and Sprint plans an EVDO service roll out later this year.
In theory, news crews in the field could use EVDO to file footage or live shots from moving vehicles or stand-ups from a street corner as long as they are in an area with coverage.
The pieces that are needed to establish EVDO service include an EVDO wireless transceiver card that looks similar to a PCMCIA Wi-Fi card and an EVDO service plan (currently being offered for about $80 per month).