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Crowd at Las Vegas convention sees first-ever 4K live stream from space

Updated April 26, 2017 - 12:57 pm

It was a giant leap for live streaming.

Peggy Whitson, a National Aeronautics and Space Administration NASA astronaut, spoke with a crowd Wednesday at the Las Vegas Convention Center in the first-ever, 4K live stream from outer space.

”We are ready for the event,” Whitson said as she rotated 250 miles from the earth’s surface. The roughly 300 people that packed a room at the convention center burst into cheers as Whitson’s voice came through.

“We are just pasting over Baja, California,” Whitson said when asked about her location. “By the time we finish speaking, we will be over central Africa.”

Dressed in a yellow polo shirt with the words NASA written in small letters, Whitson twirled her microphone as she answered questions in the zero-gravity environment of the International Space Station. Fellow astronaut Jack Fisher also took part in the broadcast.

Whitson and Fisher demonstrated in real time the usual aspects of life in a zero-gravity environment, such as playing pingpong with blobs of water suspended in air.

“I don’t know if you can here the oohs and ahhs here, but it is tremendous,” said interviewer Sam Blackman as he watched the astronauts carry out the demonstrations. “It is mind-blowing to be watching this in real time.”

Blackman is also chief executive officer of Amazon Web Services Elemental, a unit of the online giant that crunches high resolution data to make 4K viewing possible. AWS Elemental and NASA made Wednesday’s live stream possible.

The interview lasted about 15 minutes and was followed by a panel discussion about how advanced imaging and cloud technologies are enhancing scientific research, such as that conducted aboard the ISS, and film making.

Wednesday’s event took place as part of the National Association of Broadcasters Show, which runs through Thursday. The NAB Show, the largest annual broadcast industry gathering, draws more than 100,000 attendees. It’s closed to the public.

Live streaming and 4K were major focuses at the NAB show this year as both technologies become more widespread. AWS Elemental was among the 1,700 exhibitors at the NAB Show.

“From a nerd’s perspective, I think this is awesome,” said Monica Daniel, a film editor from California, as she showed up an hour early to get a good seat. “The closest the general population can get to something like this is at planetariums, which show video with grainy quality.”

Contact Todd Prince at tprince@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0386. Follow @toddprincetv on Twitter.

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