Colorado Shooting: Here’s Why The Courtroom Video Feed Malfunctioned

By Alex Weprin 

If you were watching TV when the Colorado movie theater shooter James Holmes was brought into court this morning, you likely saw the audio and video drop in and out of  after a few minutes, forcing the networks to eventually cut away from the footage.

KUSA Denver was the local station providing the pool footage, and one of their reporters explains in detail exactly what happened:

It’s not because 9NEWS doesn’t know how to provide good video, it’s because the court encouraged the use of new technology for security reasons.

The judge allowed live video to be transmitted from the court room, but only on the condition that it be done without any wires running in or out of the room.

Because of the judge’s order, KUSA relied on a backpack system called the “LiveU” to broadcast from the courtroom, he explains the rest.

Trouble is, the LiveU relies on the cell phone network, making multiple simultaneous connections to cell towers to increase the amount of bandwidth it uses and provide HD-quality video live…

The sheer volume of data usage in the area sapped the bandwidth that was going to the source of the information: the one feed being relied upon by the world to observe the court hearing.