Mobile Livecasting


Now anyone can stream live video from a mobile phone. DailyWireless.org is even equipping a van for Live Casting.

Consider PocketCaster from ComVu. ComVu’s PocketCaster streams video from your phone to your video blog or homepage.

Webcasts are simultaneously archived on a server, so your friends, family or co-workers can watch live or any time it’s convenient – on a PC, Mac or their mobile phone. It is offered direct to consumers and as an ASP service or licensed solution to mobile operators, consumer portals, ISPs, enterprises and government organizations.

Qik is another cell phone solution. A little piece of software enables you to stream videos directly from your phone to the Web. Use it to stream videos to your friends in Facebook, Twitter, etc. It supports both private and public video viewing, and you can automatically send your videos to Twitter as well as archive them for later viewing. Visivo’s team, lead by CEO Ramu Sunkara, has experience with video conferencing and VoIP from Oracle and SPIRIT DSP.

Most streaming solutions work with a USB or video camera hooked to a laptop. Some of those include BlogTV, Justin.tv, Kyte.tv, Mogulus, Seesmic, Ustream, Vimeo, Yahoo Live and Zannel.

DailyWireless bought a mobile truck from Portland-based VeriLAN Event Services. The converted news van has a 30 foot hydraulic mast. Don and I plan to enable live webcasting from just about anywhere.

But cellular-based EVDO and HSPA wireless broadband solutions have two major flaws:

  • Cellular’s upstream speed is too slow (typically about 128 Kbps)
  • Cellular data is too expensive (at least $60/mo with a 2 yr contract).

Of course, Rev A CDMA cell modems and HSUPA cell modems may change all that. But you still are unlikely to get more than 500 Kbps upstream.

AT&T said it expects average upload speeds to individual customers to range from 500 kb/s to 800 kb/s when it upgrades to HSUPA, later this year. But real upstream speed – above 1 Mbps – is the domain of Mobile WiMAX.

With a WiMAX/WiFi hotspot like the Zyxel MAX-200M1 (right), for a few hundred dollars, we could go live. Anywhere. With full resolution at 1.5 Mbps.

PC Magazine and Computerworld tested cellular modems for AT&T, Verizon and Sprint cellular networks.

3G Networks — Test Results

AT&T Sprint Verizon
Peak download speed 1.6Mbit/sec. 1.2Mbit/sec. 1.3Mbit/sec.
Average download speed 755Kbit/sec. 494Kbit/sec. 592Kbit/sec.
Average upload speed 484Kbit/sec. 294Kbit/sec. 232Kbit/sec.
Connection time 3.0 seconds 3.7 seconds 5.6 seconds
Time to load Web page .228 seconds .224 seconds .230 seconds
Battery life lowered by 40 minutes 1 hour 20 minutes

But, if your carrier is feeding a cell tower with a single (1.5 Mbps) T-1 line, don’t expect 1.6 Mbps out of a cellular modem, as EVDO Forums and EVDO Info explain. “It’s not the device itself that affects speed as much as (1) the device’s signal to the cell tower; (2) the load on that tower; (3) the internet backhaul to that tower, or a combination of all or some of the above”.

Without a two-year contract, AT&T’s top DataConnect plan costs $80/month, while Sprint’s average upload speed was 294Kbit/sec with Verizon turning in similar speeds. All the cellular carriers now have a 5 GB cap. Speed and reliability depend on a variety of conditions, such as how far you are from a cell tower, number of users connected in your vicinity, and how much data they’re moving.

We are equipping the van with three inexpensive video cameras, switched with a cheap mechanical video switcher, feeding a $99 USB video capture dongle like those of Fast VDO can provide real-time H.264 compression. The laptop would uplink via Mobile WiMAX. So we can go live – direct to your website.

It’s real change. Right now.

Related DailyWireless articles include; Cellular Photosharing Software, CNN’s News Bureau in a Bus, WiFi Camera Adapters, Geocoding Content, Minneapolis Bridge Collapse & Emergency Communications and Webcasting Concerts.

Posted by Sam Churchill on .

Leave a Reply