TV Broadcasts on 5G Networks: Telefónica and DVB Project
Telefónica said that the transmission followed a year of trials that had resulted in the capability of delivering a live stream over 5G with a reduction in latency to up to 0.8 seconds, or 25% less than the normal broadcast latency.
The telco said that the pilot was part of a set of 5G initiatives led by the Galician regional government’s Axencia para a Modernización Tecnolóxica de Galicia (Amtega) to place the region at the forefront of the development of mobile broadband technology.
Sara González, director of technology and media support at CRTVG said that “the drive for innovation of the Corporación Radio e Televisión de Galicia is being realised in projects like this, with the exploration of new technologies that can be applied to improve our live broadcasts and retransmissions”.
She said that the use of 5G “will enable us to improve the reliability of retransmissions, improve the quality of the transmitted image thanks to its great bandwidth and reduce latency.”
Galicia Television broadcasts live with Telefónica’s 5G | News | Infrastructures
Work has already commenced in its Technical Module to provide extensions to the relevant existing specifications – including DVB-I service discovery and DVB-DASH – to address the use cases and requirements collected and agreed by the Commercial Module.
Earlier this month, the DVB Steering Board approved the publication of the commercial requirements (DVB Bluebook C100). The document not only provides a set of 70 technical and procedural requirements, but also introduces key elements of 5G networks and systems related to media distribution including 5G Broadcast, 5G Media Streaming and other ongoing activities in 3GPP. In particular, LTE-based 5G Broadcast provides all functionalities to operate classical TV services including receive-only, free-to-air and high-power high-tower network infrastructures. The commercial requirements were developed based on six guiding use cases, all documented in an annex to BlueBook C100.
5G-based technologies promise to enable content and service providers to access mobile devices, typically interfacing with installable apps. 5G-based distribution to other types of receivers, such as moving vehicles, devices connected to roof-top mounted antennas or 5G-based home gateways, is not excluded. A particular benefit of DVB-I services over 5G is the ability to support integrated DVB-I hybrid services, i.e., services for which the basic broadcast distribution is augmented with unicast for extended service coverage, lower distribution costs, improved quality and additional user experiences.
The commercial requirements themselves are structured in technical and procedural aspects. Generally, the requirements ask for specifications to support different Rel-16-based 5G operation modes, namely 5G Broadcast, unicast-based 5G Media Streaming, concurrent delivery of the same service over both modes, and hybrid DVB-I services. In all cases it is expected that the specifications reuse existing DVB technologies to the extent possible and provide commonalities with other IP-based DVB delivery means.
The requirements are clustered in different service-operation phases, namely provisioning, announcement and detection, components, distribution and delivery, quality and monitoring, as well as client-related aspects. While they are extensive and detailed, it is expected that many are already covered by the existing DVB-I specification or would only demand minor extensions. This is a benefit of the original DVB-I design to provide a TV service platform independent of the access layer.
C100 explicitly addresses different aspects related to collaboration. This is a key issue for potentially successful operation of DVB services over 5G, as broadcast service providers and 5G network operators need to collaborate to beneficially use DVB-I functionalities and 5G functionalities for DVB-I service distribution. This aspect is addressed in the requirements by asking the technical group to provide specifications for network and client-side interfaces and APIs to formalise the communication across these two business domains.
Secondly, the DVB-I over 5G system is expected to align with common industry practices, for example those developed in 3GPP, 5G-MAG or other organizations that contribute to successful deployment of media and TV services over 5G.
Finally, an important aspect in the development of DVB specifications is the availability of Verification and Validation (V&V) tools. Collaborative efforts with other organizations such as 5G-MAG, 3GPP or DASH-IF are expected to be initiated in order to support reference and interoperability efforts. As an example, the newly established 5G-MAG Reference Tool project may create synergies with V&V tools for DVB-I over 5G.
DVB concludes by saying that DVB Updates to relevant DVB specifications to fully support DVB-I over 5G are expected to be completed in Q3 2022. However, with expected continuous extensions of 5G technologies in upcoming releases, the first release of DVB-I over 5G may be only the starting point in a long-lasting endeavor to enhance DVB-based TV services by also leveraging 5G-based distribution systems.
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5 Aug 2021 Update from Light Reading:
5G Broadcast, which is part of the 3GPP Release 16 standard, has some key differences. For one, it isn’t relying upon wireless operators to be the sole providers of the technology. Instead, other providers, such as media companies or broadcasters, are able to operate their own networks independently of the wireless operator using existing broadcast towers and broadcast spectrum in the UHF band, which broadcasters typically own or have access to. End users would be able to view that content via smartphones or other devices, such as a television or tablet.
“The previous attempts tried to turn the operator into a broadcaster,” said Lorenzo Cassaccia, VP of technical standards at Qualcomm. “That only worked in a few countries where the cellular operator had the rights to transmit things like live sporting events.”
Instead, Cassaccia said that 5G Broadcast should be compared to competitive standards like those from the Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) in the US or the Digital Video Broadcasting (DVB) in Europe. One of the reasons the 3GPP made the 5G Broadcast standard applicable to broadcasters and media companies was because it wanted to make sure that this was a solution that was adoptable and there was market interest. According to Devaki, Chandramouli, head of North American standardization at Nokia, the 3GPP didn’t want a repeat of its LTE Broadcast standard, also known as evolved multimedia broadcast multicast services (eMBMS), which didn’t generate much interest from the market. “The 3GPP has limited time and resources so we have to prioritize the features,” Chandramouli said. “We want to spend the effort on features that will eventually become a commercial reality.”
Building the ecosystem
Cassaccia said he believes that some countries are more likely to use 5G Broadcast technology because the broadcasters already have licenses for UHF spectrum. And, in some cases, the wireless provider and the broadcasting company have the same parent company, making it easier to establish a business partnership.
But in the US, the FCC auctioned off UHF television spectrum in the 700MHz band in 2008. Most of those 700MHz licenses went to US wireless operators, and they used that spectrum to deploy 4G.
Nevertheless, Cassaccia envisions that some broadcasters and wireless providers will ink some sort of alliance because ultimately the broadcast content has to be received by a wireless device and that device will need a 5G Broadcast-compatible chipset.
He said that although broadcasters can string together a 5G Broadcast network using their broadcast towers, they must still have an end user device that has 5G Broadcast-equipped silicon to receive the broadcast signal. That’s why Qualcomm is closely eying this area. “We want to see if there is enough momentum to make this feature a part of the silicon,” he said.
But Qualcomm isn’t the only champion of 5G Broadcast. The 5G Media Action Group (5G MAG), which is based in Geneva, Switzerland, includes members from technology companies, network operators, media groups and content companies. The group works with its members to collaborate on 5G solutions for the production and distribution of media content and services. Qualcomm is a member of 5G MAG as is Verizon and BT.
Jordi Gimenez, head of technology at 5G-MAG, said that the group is dedicated to working with the 3GPP on standards and makes sure that requirements for media applications are included in 3GPP standards. “We have trials of 5G Broadcast in Germany, Austria, Italy and France,” he said.
The trial in Germany involves a consortium of companies, including Kathrein Broadcast GmbH, Porsche, Telekom Deutschland and Rohde & Schwarz, that have agreed to spend two years testing a service called 5G Media2Go. 5G Media2Go will use 5G Broadcast technology to provide media services in vehicles. The goal of the trial is to assess the viability of using 5G Broadcast to combine linear and non-linear content for consumption inside vehicles.
The trial uses two high-power transmitters from broadcast network sites in Stuttgart and Heilbronn, Germany, plus low-power transmitters at mobile network sites to create a single network. That network distributes linear TV programs using 5G Broadcast over UHF spectrum channel 40.
However, there are other trials as well. In Beijing, China, the country’s National Radio and Television Administration is working on 5G field trials. The goal is to have a commercially deployed 5G Broadcast network in the country in time for the 2022 Winter Olympics.
Cassaccia said that he hopes that the technology is commercially available in the next couple of years but admits that the biggest challenge is coming up with a business model. “There are business model and strategy questions that are being answered.”
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