March 10, 2005
OSLO, Norway - TV watchers in Norway got a video view of the future during a live broadcast of a ski competition - beamed directly from a camera-equipped mobile phone.
Norway's state broadcaster NRK claimed its test transmission from the grueling, 90-kilometer Vasaloppet cross-country ski marathon in Sweden last weekend was a world first.
NRK equipped a sports reporter with a third-generation, or 3G, cell phone and sent him off with 15,000 skiers who started the race. He stopped six times to provide commentary and images from his perspective of the world's oldest, longest and biggest ski race.
"We decided to test this in order to create a more dynamic broadcast," NRK sports editor Oeyvind Lind said. "By using a reporter who was also a competitor, we managed to give the viewers a rather unusual perspective on a ski race."
NRK said images were as good as those transmitted by satellite telephone from conflict or catastrophe areas but that 3G was cheaper and easier to use.
The broadcaster said it will consider using the technology, especially for fast-breaking news and sports, when there is a reporter or witness at the scene but no camera crew.
"This enables us to report breaking news live on TV at an earlier stage and keep it going until our normal broadcasting equipment is in place," said Gunnar Garfors, director of mobile services for NRK's development division.
The NRK reporter, Christian Grotnes, finished in 2,119th place, with a time of 5 hours, 36 minutes and 31 seconds. Vasaloppet's winner, Oskar Svard of Sweden, finished in 3:51:47.