SK Telecom claims 5G live TV sports broadcast first

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Korean mobile telco SK Telecom is to offer live broadcast of the SK Telecom Open 2019 on both JTBC Golf, a TV channel operated by JTBC, and oksusu, Korea’s largest OTT video service, using its commercial 5G network.

SK Telecom Open 2019 is a professional golf tournament held as part of the Korea Professional Golfers’ Association (KPGA) Korean Tour. The event will take place at SKY72 Golf & Resort located in Incheon, Korea, from May 16th to 19th.

In collaboration with JTBC, SK Telecom will broadcast live the golf tournament on JTBC Golf for selective areas of the golf course, which it claims marks the world’s first case where 5G network is used for live TV broadcasting of a sports event. To realise live transmission of video taken by broadcast cameras on the field during the tournament over 5G network, the company has secured 5G coverage for the third, fourth and ninth holes of the course and equipped the cameras with a 5G module.

Traditional golf broadcasting involves the cumbersome process of installing wired cables throughout the golf course and having outside broadcasting (OB) vans send the video taken by on-field cameras to the master/sub control rooms of the broadcasting network. By removing the need for both costly OB vans and cables, 5G-based live broadcasting can bring innovative changes to the broadcasting field.

Moreover, the company will temporarily operate a special section called ‘SK Telecom Open 2019’ at oksusu to offer 5G-based live streaming of the golf tournament and related video clips to deliver an enriched 5G experience for oksusu viewers.

“As 5G-based live broadcasting is subject to no physical constraints, it can be widely utilised in areas including sporting events and on-site news reports,” said Kim Hyuk, Vice President and Head of 5GX Media Business Group of SK Telecom. “SK Telecom will continue to work closely with broadcasting networks to contribute to the advancement of the broadcasting system through 5G technologies.”

Meanwhile, the company has also entered into MOUs with top three terrestrial broadcasters in Korea – KBS, MBC and SBS – to jointly develop a live broadcasting system based on the capabilities of its 5G network.

The SK Telekom initiative follows BT Group’s EE and BT Sport first live broadcast with remote production over 5G at the final of the EE Wembley Cup 2018 on November 25th 2018.


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