The BBC, Huawei, EE and Qualcomm Technologies are collaborating to explore the role that 4G can play in the future of broadcasting.
The trial technology, which will be demonstrated at the BBC R&D Future of Broadcasting Showcase in the Glasgow Science Centre from 24 July to 3 August, is designed to help deliver high-quality, uninterrupted live streaming to mobile devices - with no buffering.
Live BBC content from the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow will be streamed using eMBMS (Evolved Multimedia Broadcast and Multicast Service), the broadcast mode of 4G/LTE. Those attending the showcase in Glasgow will be able to watch the footage on their mobile devices via 4G broadcasts. Huawei is providing the network equipment, running over the EE network.
Qualcomm Technologies is supplying Qualcomm 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 broadcasts can offer compared with unicast steaming.
To help ensure the trial is done in a "real world" environment, various steps are being taken, including heavily loading the network like real commercial new media broadcasts. 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.
“Using eMBMS to deliver TV over 4G is an incredible demonstration of the capabilities of LTE,” said EE CTO Fotis Karonis. “The quality of the network that we’ve built with Huawei offers an amazing experience for consumers, and an amazing opportunity for broadcasters to more efficiently deliver their most popular content to multiple mobile users.”
Matthew Postgate, controller of BBC R&D, and BBC CTO designate, said: "The future isn't being created by one company or different companies working in isolation, this is a future that is going to be created by collaboration, and the BBC is committed to open innovation and open research."
The BBC will also use the showcase to demonstrate virtual reality and augmented video technologies, in addition to its previously announced ultra high definition broadcasting trial at the Commonwealth Games.