Advanced Television

Ericsson predicts LTE broadcast revolution

February 25, 2013

By Chris Forrester

At Mobile World Congress Ericsson is to introduce its LTE broadcast solution for mobile network operators. Data from its 2012 Mobility Report states that mobile data traffic is expected to grow 12-fold over the next five or so years.

Consequently, Ericsson is bringing together three key technologies (eMBMS, HEVC and MPEG-Dash) in order to ready cellular players for this increase in video demand. The advantage, says Ericsson, is that eMBMS (evolved Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Services) permits broadcast streams into well-defined broadcast areas where all cells contributing to a single frequency network are sending the same data. In other words a multicast wide-broadcasting footprint more akin to normal TV transmission to potentially a huge number of users.

Ericsson is working with Qualcomm on its solution, and earlier eMBMS tests have suggested that an ideal deployment might be at a sports ground or race track where thousands of spectators might want to see a replay of a goal or other incident, or viewing multiple camera angles at an event.

Ericsson’s Alexander Sem (head of IPTV/Connected Home) says that the scope for the industry is simply huge: “As at January a total of 145 commercial LTE networks had been deployed over 66 countries. We are ready to tap into this growth and showing new revenue models for operators.”  Sem also explained that by concentrating this solution then a network’s other circuits could be used conventionally with the network struggling to cope with hundreds of unicast demands.

Sem says that besides satisfying OTT services wanting to reach tablet and mobile devices, broadcasters are also keen to see transmissions reach these users. “However, it has to be on a cost-efficient basis, and the old DVB-H commercial models were not commercially right for operators. We know this new service will appeal to those fans who are already heavy video users at sports events, for example. Today’s Smart-phone users today are responsible for 90 per cent of data traffic.”

He adds that the old DVB-H challenges have now been solved, and these include battery life. “We are now using the ‘pacing’ packet delivery model which when combined with HEVC and the other industry standards delivers a seamless solution to users.

Ericsson is expected to confirm in Barcelona that it is advanced discussions with several operators for introduction early in 2014, and says they are based in North America and the Asia/Southern Hemisphere region.

Verizon has already announced that it will launch an eMBMS service in 2014.

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