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5G Streaming Media Promises Huge New Capabilities for Enriched Hybrid Services

July 14, 2022

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In the July issue of The SMPTE Motion Imaging Journal, Christophe Burdinat, Thomas Stockhammer, Mickael Raulet and Thibaud Biatek examine exciting new opportunities in their article, “Network Operator-Provided 5G Streaming Media and Future Broadcast Services.”  Beyond the spectral efficiency and throughput improvements brought by 5G for mobile broadband, it also offers a range of new features and capabilities for media distribution. This new 5G Streaming Media Architecture (5GSMA) supports a wide range of collaboration scenarios between third-party content providers and mobile network operators.

Whereas 3G and 4G were managed by the mobile network operator, this 5G Streaming Media Architecture offers a significantly more flexible framework. While the first version of the architecture focuses on media delivery over unicast, the integration of 5G multicast/broadcast is targeted for release this month. It is one of the new architecture’s key new features, expected to provide a major upgrade for 5G-based media distribution. Its access-independent service layer is ideal for the 5G streaming ecosystem where the majority of video content is provided by over-the-top (OTT) service providers. This service layer drives the distribution of high-quality media content via DASH, or Dynamic Adaptive Streaming over HTTP. The service layer also specifies additional procedures for discovery, announcement, reporting and loss recovery.

The 5G Streaming Media Architecture is built on a modular design which allows for many different collaboration scenarios and business arrangements between the service provider and operator. For instance, the operator may expose its caching infrastructure to a third-party content distribution network to allow it to benefit from the delivery optimization provided by the operator. Or the operator may apply Digital Rights Management to a live video stream provided by a third party, and then redistribute it over 5G.

The architecture can also leverage existing 5G capabilities for Quality of Service management. For instance, operators can offer specific services associated with a data plan subscription, charging differently for service consumption according to that plan. 5GSMA also facilitates the creation of dedicated network slices satisfying service level requirements like bandwidth, latency, reliability, and mobility for the distribution of a given service provider. It can additionally provide network assistance in the form of bit rate recommendation or throughput estimation to avoid interruption and rebuffering.

The soon-to-be released version of the 5GSMA will integrate two complementary capabilities: LTE-based 5G broadcast on a dedicated spectrum, and the coexistence of 5G multicast/broadcast and unicast within the same carrier. The ability to deliver this kind of hybrid services is important to allow fast service acquisition at a start-up, including auxiliary components like alternative languages and ad insertion or substitution targeted to users or geographical areas. LTE-based 5G broadcast will also enable mixed-mode targets in radio access technology, for instance in group communications when a large number of public safety first responders are concentrated in a few cells, or with vehicle-to-network use for local traffic information.

The integration of multicast and broadcast in 5GSMA also offers two main collaboration models for OTT delivery. In one option, the usage of multicast/broadcast is made transparently to the service provider and application. In another, the service provider selects the best network according to its needs. The existing 5G Streaming Media Architecture and its set of standards is very recent, and new versions are still being written covering a wide range of distribution scenarios for 5G. So cross-industry collaboration between operators, broadcasters, and manufacturers will be key in advancing the standard.

To dig deeper into the details of 5G streaming media and the possibilities of enriched hybrid services, read the complete article in the July issue of The SMPTE Motion Imaging Journal.


Tag(s): Featured , News , Steaming , 5G

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