HD-beaming BMW visits San Francisco

November 1, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
An unusual car paid a visit to San Francisco this weekend. It was a TV station in a BMW.

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The San Francisco Waterfront was the first stop on a nationwide tour of the broadcast station. Yes, it was car. It was a BMW Mini with TV studio in back and a satellite dish on top. Philip Nelson, Senior Vice President of NewTek, gave ABC7 a tour.

"We have Wi-Fi Internet in the car. And in the front seat, you actually can be doing character generation on a laptop. Sitting in the back seat, I can see my interface on the screen here in front of me that folds down. I can punch up camera two. There's a High Definition production switcher, digital disk recorder, graphics, virtual sets, and High Definition instant replay. The idea behind Tricaster is to take Internet television to the broadcast level," he explained.

That is all the car is for now, an idea. It was built by NewTek, whose Tricaster device is one of the pioneers of Internet streaming. They topped it with a broadcast satellite system from a company called Todocast.

Consumers cannot buy one. It is a concept car that exists to demonstrate that with today's technology, you can broadcast video from anywhere. ABC7 calculates that the components cost $40,000, half that for the dish, plus the car.

But wait a minute, you say! My phone can do video!

That is right. You can take video and you can stream pictures, but you cannot do HD. And, you cannot do instant replay. And, you cannot use a satellite. "Theoretically," adds Nelson, "if you had Wi-Max around the country, you could drive around streaming."

Anybody want to buy some used television dishware?

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