Simon Frost, head of TV marketing at Ericsson, expands on the opportunities and challenges with LTE Broadcast.
LTE Broadcast enhances the powerful capability in LTE networks to deliver high quality video to ever more connected mobile devices with superior quality. It enables an unlimited number of users in the broadcast areas to receive popular content, ensuring a high quality user experience and efficient use of broadcast spectrum. It is also a far more cost-efficient solution compared to unicast. However, these two diverse capabilities can complement one another; broadcast enables scalability and cost optimisation, while unicasting offers a personalised service.
Broadcasters commission and create some of the most popular content in any country and have largely defined the increases in quality of programming and video delivery. We have witnessed the quality evolution transition from black and white to 1080p, from analogue to digital, HD to (soon) 4K and linear broadcasting to on-demand libraries – all in just 50 years. This content is the most popular, and naturally demanded by consumers on all devices, at any time. While on-demand access via play services is rapidly meeting consumer needs, broadcasters’ most compelling content is often watched live, or scheduled – especially on mobile devices – as consumers make conscious decisions to watch in real-time, and increasingly engage with socially.
LTE Broadcast opens up the opportunity for broadcasters to engage with mobile network operators and define collaboration where the network assurance of mobile delivered quality of experience is met with an even richer consumer experience. One example of how LTE Broadcast will enable new consumer experiences is in-stadium use, where more deeply immersive content from camera angles, statistics and replays can be delivered to hundreds of thousands of mobile devices in dense locations. In the Networked Society era of TV, broadcasters’ greatest value is on what they have always done best – defining the benchmark for compelling content and exploiting technology in positive ways to enhance this. The future for broadcasters is focussing on their core business and values, and building a strong collaboration with the TV service providers, networks and device eco-systems that will deliver their content.
Today, we’re already seeing a shift from linear/live viewing to on-demand; consumers value convenience and want to watch specific content at any time. Although today’s mobile networks are very high in capacity and are being rolled out all over the planet, there are a number of challenges that remain, both from a delivery and quality of experience perspective. A number of crucial tipping points have emerged in the field of video delivery innovation in recent years and today, mobile broadband has become the key component. There is now a new catalyst for change – delivery of video content over wireless networks – and it will help mobile network operators to deliver very popular forms of content to very dense audiences.
LTE Broadcast will play an instrumental role in enabling the future TV Anywhere experience and transforming video delivery. Video-smart networks will open up a number of unique revenue opportunities in the value chain, which broadcasters should look to exploit today. LTE Broadcast technology enables telecom operators to dynamically offer very popular, high quality video content simultaneously to large volumes of people (in the tens of thousands, and beyond).
As we witness the shift to mobility, this opportunity opens up truly high-speed mobile networks, which makes it the perfect technology to deal with in-stadium scenarios. The November 2013 Ericsson Mobility Report states that video traffic will increase by around 55 per cent annually up until the end of 2019, by which point it will account for more than 50 per cent of all global mobile traffic. Consumer demand is dictating a guaranteed quality of experience without service outages or variations in the standard of high quality video.