Thursday, January 12, 2012

Helmet Cams Now Stream Live Video

I think it is safe to say that over the past few years, one of the biggest innovations in outdoor adventure has been the introduction of the helmet cam. Sure, we've had the ability to record our adventures in the past, but it was usually with bulky, heavy equipment that wasn't a lot of fun to use. But now days, rugged, inexpensive, lightweight video cameras have become the norm, and as a result, we now get amazing video, captured by professional and amateur filmmakers alike, with astounding regularity.

As I write this, the Consumer Electronics Show is in full swing in Las Vegas, where hundreds of companies are unveiling a slew of new gadgets to eager customers. Amongst those new technological wonders are some upgrades to the helmet cams that we've all come to know and love. These upgrades are once again set to change the outdoor world, as the theme this year seems to focus on streaming live video from the field onto the Internet, where fans can watch and follow along.

A few months back GoPro released their new HD Hero2, which brought much higher quality video to their product. But at CES, they shared the details on their new Wi-Fi BacPac which will not only allow you to control the camera from a distance, using an included remote or a smartphone app, but will give the Hero2 the ability to stream live video over the Internet. The remote even allows the user to control up to 50 cameras at a time, which could be very interesting for event organizers looking to build an online audience. The BacPac will be available in February, although price hasn't been announced yet.

Not to be left out in the cold, one of GoPro's main competitors, Contour, has also announced a streaming video option for their excellent Contour+ helmet cams as well. Contour has joined forces with Japanese company Cerevo to introduce the "Liveshell," which connects to the camera and sends the footage directly to the Internet via Ustream. The Liveshell will be available from the Contour website starting on January 21st, at a price tag of $299. The company says that this addition makes the Contour+ the most inexpensive live streaming option in the world.

Finally, GoBandit, another company that makes compact HD helmet cams, has introduced their new GoBandit Live camera. This lightweight acton cam not only features GPS tracking and recording of speed, location, and a host of other items, it also features built in WiFi. At the moment, that WiFi is designed to quickly and easily upload clips to the Internet once you're back in wireless range, but something tells me they're already working on plans to allow the camera to stream in the future as well.

Of course, in order to be able to take advantage of these live streaming options, you'll still need to have Internet access where ever you are. That's getting easier and easier to do as well, although it can still be a technical hurdle for many to over come. If you can make it work however, these companies are opening up a whole new way to interact with the world from remote places and share adventures as they happen.