BBC R&D to demo 4G Broadcast for Commonwealth Games

BBC Research & Development, in collaboration with EE, Huawei and Qualcomm Technologies, is to demonstrate 4G Broadcast at its public Commonwealth Games Showcase in the Glasgow Science Centre.

The demonstration uses LTE eMBMS (a broadcast mode already defined in the current 4G specifications) to broadcast live action from The Games to 4G mobile handsets – a first in the UK – to bring streaming TV to mobiles without buffering.

Broadcasting popular content to mobile devices offers the possibility of delivering content in a consistent quality without the buffering and resultant freezing that can affect conventional streaming over mobile networks at times of congestion.

The demonstration is part of a trial being carried out by the partners to investigate how 4G Broadcast works in practice and evaluate the possible benefits of the technology for end users. It is part of a wider strand of work by BBC R&D looking at broadcasting to mobiles to investigate how the technology could work across all mobile networks.

The demonstration shows a complete end to end chain, with BBC R&D providing live content for the trial in MPEG-DASH format. This is sent over an IP link to a Huawei server situated within EE’s test labs. The content is then encapsulated within multicast and sent to base stations (eNodeBs), one of which is situated within the showcase at the Glasgow Science Centre where it is transmitted on 2.6 GHz spectrum. An application written by BBC R&D, enabled by Qualcomm Technologies’ LTE Broadcast solution, is then used to display and navigate the live streams on handsets. This can be connected to BBC iPlayer to enable the integration of unicast on-demand content with live broadcast streams.

The public showcase forms part of BBC R&D’s ongoing experiments to explore and help define the future of television, and will also include a range of other demonstrations including IP production and distribution and Ultra-HD. These demonstrations will be available from 10am-5pm in the Glasgow Science Centre’s Clyde Suite and will form part of the wider BBC at the Quay festivities.


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