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The Red Ferret Product of the Year 2009: Imaging – Livestream Livepack


It’s safe to say that 2009 was the year that television discovered the Internet in earnest, and not in a particularly good way. The incredible explosion of content that is YouTube, the drift away from packaged programming towards on demand delivery across the broadband pipe, and even the decline in our traditional nightly news addiction as the immediacy of the Web took hold. All of these factors served to reveal the cracks in the dominance of mass broadcast in ways not seen before.

So for us to award the Livestream Livepack our Imaging Product of the Year award is to acknowledge that television is about to undergo the kind of disruption that has already struck at the heart of the music and print industries. As we said back in September last year, the fact that you can use the Livepack system to hook a digital camcorder up to a backpack and literally broadcast high quality images live from anywhere you get a mobile phone signal is simply staggering. And at a price point that is not out of reach!

What makes this evolutionary product even more important of course, is the fact that at the low end, we’re also seeing the rise and rise of the citizen video reporter, delivering the kind of immediate, vibrant and sometimes shocking footage which is defining the birth of a hugely important new medium. Every way you turn, video is coming of age, in the kind of ubiquitous, consumer friendly manner that few of us could predict.

The shortlist for the year also included PowerGenix NiZn batteries which promise to improve digital camera power performance significantly, and the Flipbac low cost angle viewfinder and LCD protector.

 The technology aggregates the bandwidth from six built-in 3G modems in order to get the highest possible available bitrate. Maximum redundancy and reliability is achieved even if one or two of the networks are not available or have very poor connectivity (i.e. the technology can usually get a high quality stream out to the Livestream Platform).

Nigel is the managing editor of the Red Ferret, as well as a freelance columnist for the Sunday Times newspaper in London. Loves tech and fancies himself as a bit of a futurist, but then don’t we all?

Nigel – who has written posts on The Red Ferret Journal.


  • an advancement for sure. I was having a ponder and wonder what this will be like 10 years from now…..cell phone size?

  • Yeah, good luck with that. My station demo'd that about a year and a half ago. Unreliable at the time, you feel like a ghostbuster, and (if you're expecting this to replace the current methods of live broadcasting) you're now by yourself, wearing valuable equipment small enough to get mugged over withought anyone to watch your back. I'm sure this is fine for a static environment, but newscasting isn't done in a newsstation.

    • Thanks for the feedback NYC, interesting viewpoint. I guess we felt this to be the start of a new category of news-gathering rather than just an end product in itself. The backpack will no doubt disappear over time as nano-technology shrinks the tech down to…what…phone size? "Honey, I shrunk the satellite truck?"

      And the idea of devolving the power of live reporting to smaller news teams and organisations strikes us as being at the heart of the 'citizen journalist' revolution. Will it work? Who knows, but kits like this will definitely help us understand more about the exciting possibilities ahead of us in the future.

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