Huawei Working on TV Broadcasts over LTE in the UK
Published on: 21st Jul 2014
Huawei says that it is collaborating with a number of companies to demonstrate TV broadcasts over LTE networks.
The company said that it is working with the UK mobile network, EE, the UK broadcaster, the BBC and Qualcomm on the trials.
Live BBC content will be streamed using eMBMS (Evolved Multimedia Broadcast and Multicast Service), the broadcast mode of LTE. Those attending a tradeshow in Glasgow will be able to watch the footage on their mobile devices via 4G broadcast. Huawei is providing the network equipment, running over the EE network, with Qualcomm supplying Snapdragon processors with broadcast middleware and an associated SDK (software development kit) for application development.
The goal is to demonstrate the benefits that multicast 4G broadcast can offer compared with unicast steaming.
To help ensure that the trial is done in as accurate an environment as possible, various steps are being taken. For example the network will be heavily loaded to represent a real-world scenario for popular live media. Smartphones on the stand will also be streaming the same live content over unicast to show the difference between unicast and the 4G broadcast on show.
Kevin Tao, President of Huawei Western European Region, said: "This showcase is an exciting moment for EE, the BBC, Qualcomm Technologies and Huawei. 4G is designed with the potential to be a far more efficient way of delivering live content for broadcasters which will make the act of watching live TV much smoother with no interruptions. As a business that focuses on innovation, our aim is to push technological boundaries together with our customers and partners - for broadcast that time is now."
How eMBMS works
eMBMS is a broadcast/multicast technology that is designed to that give mobile network operators a more efficient and cost-effective means of sending popular content to a large number of customers simultaneously over an existing 4G/LTE network. It is designed to does not require additional frequency spectrum, as it flexibly shares the same spectrum with content delivery to individual (unicast) users in the network as required. Unlike unicast, broadcast is designed to continue delivering the content with consistent quality as the number of users increases, without adding network capacity and spectrum bandwidth.
The live content for the trial is in MPEG-DASH format provided by the BBC, sent over an IP link to a Huawei server situated within the EE 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, supported by Qualcomm's 4G Broadcast solution comprising of optimized LTE Broadcast middleware and a Snapdragon 800 processor with an integrated Qualcomm Gobi modem, is then used to display and navigate the live streams on handsets. This can be connected to the iPlayer to support the integration of unicast on-demand content with live broadcast streams.