High-speed mobile broadband made possible a new kind of live TV journalism in the just concluded May 13 mid-term elections.
Instead of using bulky TV cameras backed by conventional transmission equipment, broadcast reporters and social media “mobile journalists” used smart phones powered by the Long Term Evolution (LTE) service of Smart Communications.
TV5 for example spiced up its election coverage with live streaming reports from field reporters using LTE handsets in areas like Tarlac, Cavite, and various points of Metro Manila like Pasay City and Makati.
Meanwhile, new media Rappler.com and social citizen group Blogwatch.ph, both partners also of Smart for the elections, have also been using Smart LTE to report and shareinformation and analysis for netizens using any Internet capable device.
In Cebu, Sunstar Online used PLDT’s fiber broadband and Smart’s LTE service to stream election news through its website to Filipino communities overseas.
“Fourth generation mobile phone technology has made it possible for TV journalists to report live with good-quality video and audio using just their cellular phones. We think this can be a game-changer,” said Ramon Isberto, public affairs head for PLDT and Smart.
“This opens up many more opportunities for improving television coverage in a very cost-effective way. Combined with social media, mobile video streaming can revolutionize the way the public can access and interact with news and information,” he added.
In partnership with PLDT and Smart, TV5 recently launched its News5 Everywhere “trans-media” and cloud-based online video platform that allows Internet capable devices real-time access to news.
The same platform also acts as a vehicle for live streaming services for TV5 journalists which are then broadcast on national TV.
Smart LTE services have also been made available for use by media at the the Comelec command center in PICC, Manila where a Smart Multi-Element On Wheels (MEOW) has been deployed specifically for the elections monitoring and canvassing.
Smart MEOW is like a mobile cellsite mounted on a truck but is also capable not just for the usual voice and text services but also data, including 4G.
Launched in August 2012, Smart LTE is the country’s first and most widely-available LTE service. With over 800 LTE sites, Smart LTE is present in 46 cities and 69 municipalities nationwide and is backed by PLDT’s fiber optic network, the Philippines’ most extensive and resilient transmission infrastructure.