5G industry news

Unlocking the Potential of 5G for Content Production

  • 2 minute read
  • Published by Lucy Woods on 12 Apr 2019
  • Last modified 17 Apr 2019
You cannot have failed to hear about the latest generation of mobile technologies labelled 5G. It has the potential to have a significant impact on all areas of our lives with promises of high-speed, high quality, always-on connectivity.

In previous posts we have examined the potential for 5G to distribute content and its use in the delivery of innovative experiences such as augmented reality (AR).

5G also has the potential to change how we produce content.  Currently we rely on a number of technologies to get pictures and sound from cameras and microphones into our broadcast centres for contribution onto our programmes. These include fixed link fibre connections, satellites and even motorbike couriers delivering hard drives.  For several years we have also been using a technology known as ‘bonded cellular’ which takes a number of 3G or 4G connections and groups them together to provide enough bandwidth to send a live video feed over mobile networks.

These bonded cellular units have revolutionised workflows in newsgathering by allowing journalists and crews go live from anywhere with suitable coverage using a simple backpack or camera mounted device to encode and relay video without the need for large vehicles and lots of cables.

As with all technologies there is room for improvement. These units require multiple connections which in turn require numerous sim cards and of course if you are outside the coverage area of one provider you need sim cards for an alternative network.  They also use proprietary technologies which rely on you having a receiver that is from the same manufacturer as the transmitter. Another issue is that they heavily compress video which can cause issues in onward production and distribution chains and while these technologies can provide a single video link there is a demand for a technology that could allow several cameras to be connected and timed together to reduce the amount of effort required on location to set up a multi camera outside broadcast (OB).

There is also no differentiation between the networks that these devices connect to and public networks, so at large events the connections become unreliable as they fight for connectivity with large crowds or other users such as the emergency services.

Read article in full on the BBC R&D website.

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