One to Watch: LiveU

Mobile live video is going to be very exciting. Even in our on-demand world, breaking news, sports and real-time interactions are best experienced without delay. We’ve reported on offerings from companies like Qik and Flixwagon that send up video from fancy cell phones. This only gets more accessible to the everyday consumer as mobile data service improves.

But what about the pros? They, after all, have been doing live video for a lot longer than any of us. LiveU, a Kfar Saba, Israel-based startup, has built a piece of hardware meant to displace television news satellite-transmission trucks. Half the size of a laptop, the device can reliably and cheaply deliver up to 2 MB per second. I haven’t yet seen a demo, but I talked to the company’s first U.S.-based employee, Ariel Galinsky, this morning.

Built by a team that comes out of wireless and telecom R&D, “You can think about our piece of hardware as a supermodem that can detect any wireless signal in the area and maximize the infrastructure of the area,” said Galinsky. The quality is “absolutely” good enough for broadcast television, he claimed.

Two-year-old LiveU has been testing its system with customers in Israel such as Keshet TV for the last six months. The company hasn’t decided how it will charge customers yet, but it’ll likely be a flat-fee service plan meant to massively undercut the cost of satellite trucks and uplinks, according to Galinsky. He said the company also sees professionals like wedding videographers, security companies and realtors using portable live video to great effect.

LiveU, which has 16 employees, has raised $3 million from Canaan Partners and Israeli angels and is currently raising its Series B funding.