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5G Broadcasting and the Future of Television

March 15, 2023

5G Broadcasting and the Future of Television

(Reference Text in SMPTE Journal: ATSC3.0, DVB-I, and TV3.0 Services Via 5G Broadcast-System Design and Reference Tools)

Big things are happening in the world of mobile television. Linear television - programing consumed at a set time and set channel that’s usually broadcast via cable, satellite, or “over-the-air” - looked like it was being cast aside in favor of streaming services. Recently, however, linear television has made a comeback. Cable packages, digital streaming services like Sling TV, and even non-linear streaming platforms like Hulu, all have brought linear television back into the conversation. Now broadcasters and standards organizations are seeking to expand the linear television audience, and 5G might be the answer.

Ever since mobile phones and handheld devices became popular, people have been finding ways to stream content to them. While streaming non-linear content has become fairly easy, linear content is a bit more challenging, especially when it comes to live events streaming in HD or 4K. Keep in mind, streaming linear content on mobile devices is not only possible, but is already happening. There are a ton of live TV apps for both iPhone and Android devices, and standards for mobile broadcasting have been around for 15 years, though they’ve undergone some major changes since then.

These evolutions in linear television broadcasting are thanks to the 3rd Generation Partnership Project, or 3GPP. This partnership is made up of seven telecommunications standard development organizations, and they have been working on mobile broadcasting improvements for years. Most recently, 3GPP have unveiled Release 17, which provides the infrastructure needed to make 5G broadcasting a commercially viable option for consumers.

However, as amazing as this new standard is, it will be awhile before 5G broadcasting will be widely available. First, most of the handheld devices currently on the market aren’t compatible with this technology. Future devices will be able to handle it while older devices will likely need a firmware update to support the standard. Still, these are major strides in 5G broadcasting and promise a bright future for mobile linear television.

With 5G broadcasting, mobile devices will be able to stream HD and 4K live events and linear television programing in a seamless fashion. This will forever improve the quality of mobile TV platforms and could even provide the infrastructure needed to stream linear television without the need for a mobile subscription. While these strides are still far off, they are now in our line of sight, meaning they’ll be available sooner rather than later. As technology improves, audiences demand higher-quality service. 5G broadcasting can bring it to them in a flexible, reliable way.

Tag(s): Featured , News

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