Hybrid vehicles emerging as cost-effective alternative to traditional news trucks

As broadcasters feature more reporting from the field, they have begun deploying new types of smaller news vehicles that rely on cellular bonding, KA-Band satellite and IP microwave. The hybrids save on costs, and allow crews to be more nimble.

In recent years, more and more broadcasters have started deploying new types of smaller news vehicles that rely on cellular bonding, KA-Band satellite, and IP-Microwave. These vehicles allow for richer news coverage at lower costs, compared to the bulky and expensive traditional KU-Band or Microwave trucks. Fueled by this demand, LiveU has begun offering cellular hybrid news vehicles solutions.

Substantial Cost Savings 

Cellular and KA-Band satellite, even when combined, are significantly lower in cost than KU-band satellite. By combining both cellular and KA technologies, broadcasters get nearly perfect coverage. Cellular operates in most areas, including where there is no KA-coverage or during bad weather, and KA can take over in areas where there is no cellular infrastructure.

The SUV itself is also lower in cost than the traditional news vehicles. In addition, these new vehicles can be fully operated by one person, further reducing the amount of resources needed in the field.

Live News in Motion

Since cellular does not require line of sight, many stations have started providing live weather and traffic reports on the move from storms and bad road conditions, in a way never before possible.


Minimizing Weather Interference

Harsh weather conditions can cause major damage to masts, satellite dishes and vehicles. By using a hybrid cellular/KA-satellite vehicle, broadcasters can easily mitigate the detrimental effects of high winds by using only cellular during storms, and keeping the dish or mast down.

Maneuverability and Access

Smaller SUVs or mini-vans are easier to park, access places more easily, and are able to maneuver on terrains that bigger vans can’t, making it faster and easier to get the story.


The LiveU vehicle configuration typically includes an LU700 Linux 1RU encoder inside the vehicle, or alternatively an LU500 backpack or LU200 handheld encoder. Outside the vehicle is an Xtender external cellular antenna array, containing multidirectional antennas for increased signal and about 6 cellular modems. An LU500 backpack can also rove up to hundreds of yards away from the vehicle and utilize the Xtender and KA bandwidth using point-to-point IP microwave.


Cellular bonding has created major changes in the workflow, ease of use, and costs of newsgathering. By using cellular hybrid vehicles, broadcasters can further capitalize on the benefits of the technology while producing greater amounts of more engaging content at lower costs.

LiveU will be showing its vehicle solutions at NAB 2015 at booth SU4405.

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Celeste says:

August 20, 2018 at 9:14 am

Thanks for the great post