ABC News correspondent Wonbo Woo works alone, setting up a camera and microphone that ran directly into a laptop with editing software. When he’s ready for broadcast, he stares into his remote camera, talks to ABC’s Manhattan control room through a hand-held microphone and listens through an earpiece that ran into a mobile phone affixed to his belt.
The wireless works somewhat like a radio transmitter, sending information to a nearby server that funnels it on the Internet and gets it where it needs to go.
It’s a cheaper, faster, more intimate subset of TV news, and it is becoming more popular by the year.
But his live reports must originate from areas with good wireless reception. And so far, there is not yet enough bandwidth to transmit really good video images fast, so most of Woo’s stuff looks pretty grainy.
The reporter mostly works for ABC News Now, a division that’s only 2 months old and available locally to people with over-the-air digital reception, digital cable or wireless devices (besides laptops, you can get it on certain mobile phones and pagers.)
This new division is a gamble. ABC is betting that in the near future, a good percentage of news junkies will get their news digitally or via some kind of wireless service, and the network will be uniquely positioned to satisfy their craving.