Cost Effective News Gathering Technique in Kenya Using Terrestrial Broadband IP Links

Njoroge, Benson W.
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This study aims to understand the methodologies and challenges of the current news gathering techniques used by broadcasters in Kenya and provide guidelines and methodology for development of an economical and cost-effective alternative technique. The research adopts both an analytic and applied approach. The analytic approach aims to review and analyze the existing methodologies and techniques and the challenges associated with them. The Applied approach aims to provide a guideline and methodology for a cost-effective alternative technique using locally available computer hardware (Video input and output cards), software (MPEG4 encoders and decoders) running over terrestrial broadband IP Links. The findings indicate that majority of the broadcasters in Kenya use the traditional satellite based news gathering technique (Digital Satellite News Gathering) which exhibit expensive and proprietary hardware systems and software. These techniques are always constrained by resources such as satellite bandwidth, hardware equipments and qualified manpower. The designed cost-effective alternative technique delivers the same video quality with significantly low capital expenditure and operation costs. The cost effective technique provides good foundation for future research and development of low cost commercial news gathering systems that run on broadband IP links. Additional research and experiments are recommended for development of similar but robust, versatile and automated systems that have the encoding software embedded in the operating systems code (such as Linux and UNIX) in a scenario where the encoder and decoder computers powers on without I/O devices and starts the services at boot time. The developed technique provide the broadcasters in Kenya and other developing countries with a cheaper alternative news gathering systems that can be used where reliable and fast terrestrial fibre, microwave, WiMax , 3 G or 4G links exists. For guaranteed service, the broadcasters should ensure they use robust computers suitable for outdoor use and the bandwidth available on the terrestrial links is over 2 Mbps for video and 128 Kbps for audio. This study shows that for the fist time, the terrestrial IP broadband networks in the region can be used for news gathering services by broadcasters using low cost equipments. The economic sense of using computers shows the news gathering service can be available to broadcasters regardless of cost and resource constraints.
Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Degree of Masters of Science in Information Technology
News Gathering Technique, Kenya, Terrestrial Broadband IP Links