Dish unveils $999 system to make live online video easier

Dish, a company known largely for its old-school satellite TV, is now trying to make it easier for people to stream quality video live over YouTube and Facebook.

Dish is unveiling a wireless device, SlingStudio, meant to enable multi-camera productions without high-end equipment. The wireless device collects video from up to 10 smartphones and traditional cameras as they are being shot. An iPad app lets you choose which video and audio feed to broadcast at any given moment. The app also has tools for transitions and text overlays.

The setup is easy for anyone to use — but the price tag will put it out of reach for many. It's still cheaper than professional equipment, the main device costs $999. While smartphones already have wireless capabilities, camcorders and other stand-alone cameras will need a $349 wireless adapter. Three-hour battery packs cost another $149 each; otherwise, you need to plug in the SlingStudio.

"At $999, it's not a mass market," acknowledges Vivek Khemka, Dish's chief technology officer.

But a YouTube or Facebook user with hundreds of thousands of followers might be willing to invest in a setup. So might a wedding photographer who wants to capture video from guests' smartphones (the system isn't limited to live, online broadcasts and works with recorded events, too). Khemka says schools also might get one for their football games and drama productions.

The system isn't intended for single-camera productions. For that, you can just stream the feed directly to YouTube or Facebook.

SlingStudio comes out in May.



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