TV broadcasting stations are going portable.
NetTVworld is working on a device that will essentially let people or small organizations more easily broadcast their own TV programs via the Internet, according to the company's CEO, Steve Baker. The black box in the picture digitizes and packetizes video streams and then sends them over the Internet.
The box itself can only broadcast 10 streams at once, but NetTVworld hopes to leverage peer-to-peer networks. With peer-to-peer, a single box can effectively send out 20,000 streams. The company has hit this number of streams in lab tests and it can probably do more, Baker said. Although the box can potentially deliver 20,000 simultaneous streams, it actually only broadcasts one single show at a time.
The NetTelecaster box, which will cost around $5,000, is far cheaper than conventional broadcasting equipment. (Technically, you could probably rig up a standard server to do the same thing, but this takes the configuration and complexity out of the equation.) The company will aim it at national franchises or chains. Automakers such as Ford or Honda, for instance, will be able to broadcast programs, videos and reviews to their nationwide network of dealers. The private ad network is similar to what Focus Media has accomplished in China.
Colleges, Baker said, are looking at the device to set up networks for broadcasting games for their alumni. ESPN, after all, doesn't show the Drake versus Oberlin game every year.
"Channels will be springing up to cover every niche," he said.
The company has also developed a portable version that TV reporters could sling over their shoulder to broadcast live from a disaster--or a celebrity wedding. The same portable device could be used by police or emergency workers.
These new Internet TV stations, moreover, won't have to have FCC clearance or worry about getting room on cable or satellite networks.