Elevating live production with 5G broadcast

Consumers increasingly want viewing experiences that are as good as – or better than – in-person: instant replays, more camera angles, access to highlights, and immaculate quality on any screen. Today, live production has grown to be a vast and complex operation, with broadcasters and production companies balancing increased consumer demand for more content and access to it at any time and from any location with shrinking budgets.

Thanks to 5G broadcast, the broadcasting industry gains more flexibility and can streamline workflows. Remote and distributed production of live sports and news will benefit from 5G’s high bandwidth and low latency capabilities. 5G-enabled broadcasts and remote production workflows will become increasingly important in the staging of events of all tiers, from major to smaller events. Fast connectivity is an intriguing alternative for media companies wishing to increase production output while lowering expenses without the logistical problems and costs associated with deploying fixed equipment.

As the rollout of 5G broadcast technology accelerates, broadcasters will require a proven end-to-end solution to take advantage of the potential of 5G broadcast’s to alleviate bottlenecks in their live production workflows. There’s no better time to get ready for 5G than now.

The increasing support for 5G broadcast

The support for 5G broadcast across the broader ecosystem has grown significantly the last couple of years. This can be exemplified by the more than 25 3GPP members who cosigned the Release 16 Work Item; and the establishment of 5G Multimedia Action Group (5G MAG) in 2019. 5G MAG is a cross-industry organization that has more than 40 active members (including Verizon and BT) promoting the commercial adoption of 5G broadcast. 5G MAG has carried out multiple trials between 2019-2022 to better understand the potential of using 5G for broadcast, production, and distribution of media content and services.

These trials have set the stage for the 5G broadcast and virtually seamless rich media content to be delivered to 5G devices. As 5G and its broadcast technology advances, the needs of the broadcasters, content providers, operators, and the likes continue to evolve just the same. Not only will 5G broadcast technology be able to address those needs, 5G broadcast is also a flexible platform that will continue to expand into supporting new applications and delivering new experiences.

Remote production boosts productivity

The live content supply chain has changed, resulting in significant cost reductions and improved overall efficiency. The broadcast industry was able to bounce back despite the challenges brought about by the pandemic by moving away from onsite production practices. 5G broadcast technology will accelerate the trend toward remote and distributed workflows, allowing more sites and events to be integrated into a single high-quality, low-latency production environment.

By having only the necessary technical manpower and hardware equipment on-site, remote production speeds up the shift from CAPEX to OPEX. Scalable workflows are built and paid for just when they’re needed, eliminating costly hardware investments.

5G broadcast raises the bar for live production

5G broadcast technology allows for the low-cost capture and distribution of mobile media from anywhere in the world, with high bandwidth, low latency, and high quality of service. This expands the possibilities for events like marathons, golf, cycling, and other long-distance activities that are challenging when it comes to broadcasting. Once fully implemented, 5G has the potential to become the major networking link between the event site and the centralized production facility.

Until that happens, it can be used as a backup connection to the primary connection, providing a variety of high-quality feeds and removing the inefficient practice of varied routing via fixed connections. Slicing capabilities in 5G networks increase connection reliability by allowing a select group of users or services to reserve a section of the network. This component is critical when live production requires high connectivity and ultra-low latency.

How 5G broadcast for TV and streaming is creating unique and engaging viewing experiences

While 5G is intended to provide users with more cost-effective and agile contribution links, it also has the potential to change and improve the viewing experience. It allows more camera feeds and new and more immersive camera angles to be included in the primary production, whether it’s player or referee cams, 360-degree or AR/VR cams from moving vehicles, or simply connecting broadcast cameras and sensors at event venues. When used in conjunction with remote workflows, it will also allow content owners to distribute more immersive content from events and even allow viewers to choose their own camera angles or players to watch. This means that 5G broadcast TV will have a revolutionary impact on viewing experiences, with gaming and esports being at the heart of transformation.

5G broadcasts have the potential to change television production and event staging quite dramatically. By connecting cameras to production facilities wirelessly, camera operators will be more mobile and follow the action. Production teams can use 5G broadcast technology to set up “pop-up” production capabilities that send multiple camera signals back to a central production center. Producers may simply mix video from traditional cameras with video from 5G-enabled smartphones, creating multi-camera experiences and unique perspectives not previously available.

Shaking up the media industry

As 5G grows and gains traction in the market, it has the potential to drastically transform the media industry. With connectivity becoming better, faster, cheaper, and more readily available, even smaller or niche events can gain more global audiences, opening up new revenue streams for broadcasters. The growing demand for content, alongside the changing consumer viewing patterns, means that having flexible and reliable solutions for live production is critical for long-term success. 5G broadcast technology is a key tool that will open the door to more exciting live production workflows and will deliver viewing experiences that were not possible before.

How 5G broadcasts technology will transform content distribution

5G broadcast for TV and streaming applications is currently transforming the production, broadcasting, and distribution of media content. It enables more cost-effective content delivery, improves production techniques, and provides a better experience to consumers. The 5G broadcast is set to completely revolutionize how content is created, consumed, and distributed as 5G networks are becoming more accessible, and the low latency and high speeds of 5G broadcast technology create new opportunities.

The 5G broadcast TV and streaming technology will (and already has to some extent) change how live events and programs are captured, produced, and transmitted to people all around the globe. Broadcasts enabled by 5G will be more interactive, more innovative, and more efficient.

So, what can we expect from 5G broadcast TV and streaming technology? How and where will 5G broadcast be used? And what advantages will it bring?

1. Remote production

5G enables faster speeds, greater capacity, and lower latency compared to its predecessors. Although remote production was possible using 4G, 5G broadcast TV and streaming technology takes it one step further, providing superior bandwidth and reliability, making remote production a realistic and lucrative proposition for broadcasters. 5G remote production reduces the number of staff members required on-site, and the need for a truck as the camera feeds can be sent directly to a centralized production hub, thus reducing costs and allows production teams to potentially work across multiple events in a single day.

2. Network slicing

Considering the limited numbers of 5G users today, the risk of a 5G broadcast on TV not having sufficient capacity is very low. However, the need for network slicing in remote broadcasts will grow as the users of 5G grow. Broadcasters in the future will need a way to provide a guaranteed level of throughput. Network slicing effectively fences off part of a 5G network for a particular application. Broadcasters will be able to request network slices similarly to how they book satellite capacity.

3. Greater creativity

5G broadcast TV and streaming technology increases the variety of creative options available to creators. 5G-enabled cameras – free from the constraint of wires – allows operators to roam freely around the venue or studio space, capturing footage that’s previously been impossible.

4. Mobile production workflows

Journalists using their phones to live stream reports and events will speed up considerably with an increased quality. Today’s smartphones are able to capture, edit, and even stream live images, boosting the concept of “Mobile Journalism”, MoJo.

5. Better user experience

5G broadcast does not however only benefit the production side of things. Due to the speed, capacity, and latency of 5G, end users will be able to enjoy higher quality streams in 4K Ultra-High Definition (UHD), while the densification of networks through micro infrastructure will ensure the users can enjoy the stream in the intended quality.

Also, the reduced latency ensures that what is shown will be as close to the moment it was captured.

6. Remote broadcasting

The reliability of a 5G broadcast on TV or streaming ensures more cost-effective broadcasts to remote areas. Establishing new 5G networks may be a cheaper and more efficient alternative than maintaining existing broadcast infrastructure – such as television or radio masts.

7. Enabling personalized broadcasting

Personalization of content is often viewed as the future of broadcasting. 5G broadcasts on TV and streaming enables new ways to consume media over mobile networks, where viewers will be able to select from a wide variety of video and audio feeds, as well as on-screen graphics and other elements.

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