Advanced Television

Survey: 5G to replace traditional broadcast distribution  

July 16, 2020

According to a recent global survey of broadcasters, 82 per cent believe that cellular networks such as 5G will eventually replace traditional broadcast distribution such as DTT/DTV and satellite as the preferred way to access TV content, with over a third (37 per cent) of these respondents expecting this to begin happening within one to two years.

The survey, conducted on behalf of virtualised media production specialist Nevion, discovered that 10 per cent still anticipate that it will take more than three years for 5G to overtake traditional services but the vast majority (94 per cent) of broadcasters agree that 5G will likely increase the consumption of content.

As increasing numbers of people favour streaming over conventional linear television delivery, the capabilities of 5G will help to cater to this audience and the demand to be able to stream content on the go.

With 5G set to enable viewers to stream live content on any connected device no matter where they are, Andy Rayner, Chief Technologist, Nevion, suggests that 5G technology can potentially deliver OTT broadcast services with the quality required, not only for mobile devices, but also for TV screens at home. “This could mean, as our research uncovered, that 5G is eventually likely to usurp DTT for consumers at home, as well as on the move,” he adds. “In the long term, it is likely that 5G mobile technology could become the standard means to deliver terrestrial television. However, it is expected that both DTT and 5G delivery (when ready) will co-exist for a reasonable time.”

Nevion notes that there are clear shortcomings with the current capabilities of mobile technology compared to DTT, which is highly optimised for power-efficient digital linear broadcast distribution.

There is also a key distinction between the potential of Service Provider offerings for broadcast media consumption and the use of the 5G radio technology to provide future real time broadcast distribution capability.

These views regarding 5G as the primary means of distribution of TV content are reflected in the research findings. Half (50 per cent) of the broadcasters surveyed think the biggest challenge of using it will be network performance issues and coverage issues (42 per cent). This is followed by issues with reliability (26 per cent) and network security (22 per cent), as well as some broadcasters expressing concern about the environmental impact of 5G.

Nonetheless, as reported by, the research uncovered broadcasters’ optimism about the potential of 5G in production with 95 per cent of broadcasters expecting to adopt 5G within two years.

“Ultimately, we are only just scratching the surface of 5G, and although broadcasters already see its potential value, at this stage industry-wide explorations into the technology are ongoing. It is too soon to say exactly at which point in the broadcast chain 5G will provide the most value. As such, broadcasters currently delivering with DTT will need to work with experts to follow the evolution of 5G broadcast capability,” he advises.

Categories: 5G, Articles, Broadcast, CDNs, Consumer Behaviour, Content, DTH/Satellite, DTT/DSO, Markets, Mobile, Research, Work flow

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