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Wednesday, Sep. 26, 2012

TECH_JAPAN

GADGETS

Get ready to broadcast video live online


Japan-based Cerevo has carved out an interesting business niche for itself as a provider of live-video-streaming hardware, most notably its Live Shell device released last year. That device enabled aspiring Internet broadcasters to stream live video directly from a camera to the Web without the need for a PC. And now this year, Live Shell is getting an HD upgrade with Cerevo's Live Shell Pro, expected to go on sale in October.

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Cerevo LiveShell Pro

One of the drawbacks of using streaming from a personal computer is that sometimes your stream might not be stable, or you might suddenly lose your connection. Cerevo boasts that one of the main selling points of its Live Shell devices is that they can do stable broadcasts for long periods of time, even non-stop streams (24 x 7) when you use the AC adaptor.

A wide range of people could make use of LiveShell Pro, including musicians, podcasters, or even professional media organizations for on-the-spot event coverage. In the latter case, one of the big advantages of this device is the ability to take your live stream on the road, as the built-in rechargeable battery allows you to stream for three hours. The LiveShell Pro weighs just 300 grams and fits in the palm of your hand (123 mm x 90 mm x 26 mm), so when attached to a portable camcorder, a broadcaster would be able to send high-definition video to the Web from practically anywhere as long as they have an Internet connection. LiveShell Pro can connect to the Web via ethernet, a USB port (for 3G/4G adaptors), or Wi-Fi.

The device delivers high-definition 720p (1280 x 720) video with H.264 encoding, and can output to popular live-streaming Web services such as Ustream, YouTube Live, or NicoNico Live. Its Web dashboard allows you to control operation and settings, such as volume adjustment or changing the quality of video. This can be accessed from either a PC or a smartphone if needed. Other features include the ability to crop your video size and add captions.

The LiveShell Pro is expected to retail for ¥54,999 once it goes on sale in October.

Now if you're really serious about your live streaming, Sony recently unveiled a camcorder that might be up your alley. Showcased at Photokina 2012 in Germany recently, Sony claims its NEX-VG900 is the world's first 35-mm full-frame camcorder.

Shooting at a resolution of 24 megapixels, the company notes that this camcorder's Exmor CMOS sensor is about 40 times larger than the sensor in regular camcorders. Still images will rival the same quality you'd expect from a pro DSRL, as the sensor creates a wonderful "bokeh" or blurred background, for those who like to play with depth of field. As for video, the NEX-VG900 offers full HD 1080p video at either 24 or 60 frames per second.

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Sony NEX-VG900

And Sony has included a number of Picture Effect modes that enable users to inject some creativity into their work. The "posterization" mode emphasizes primary colors or black and white, while the "retro photo" mode gives an old photo effect with sepia tones. Some effects can be added to video as well.

The NEX-VG900 features a Quad Capsule Spatial Array microphone for superior audio, and a seesaw zoom level enables a smoother zoom than you might achieve with manual zooming. It also comes with a LA-EA3 adaptor for A-mount lenses. Sony says that this full-frame camcorder will be available in November, with a price tag of about ¥257,500.

If that's a little beyond your price range, you might consider the NEX-VG30H, which is a similar HD camcorder which can also shoot at 24 or 60 frames per second, but it only has a 16-megapixel sensor. This can be purchased for about ¥210,000 with a new SELP-18200 E PZ 18-200mm F3.5-6.3 Power Zoom lens, or if you just want the body, it will be selling for around ¥140,000.

Rick Martin is an editor at TechInAsia.com. Read more of his work at 1rick.com.


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