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KPN, Ericsson, test broadcast video over LTE

Tue, 05/06/2014 - 1:36pm
Brian Santo

KPN became the first network operator in the Netherlands to conduct live tests with LTE Broadcast. The test over the weekend was done in collaboration with Ericsson, Qualcomm Technologies, Samsung and IBM.

The trial took place on May 3 in the Amsterdam Arena stadium during the soccer game of Ajax against NEC.

Earlier this year at CES, Ericsson and Verizon demonstrated the same technology.

There is growing speculation that the over-the-air TV industry might migrate to wireless carriage on LTE networks. The technological feasibility of carrying video over LTE is not in question; there is a question about whether TV broadcasting over LTE is feasible business proposition.

Whether TV broadcasters switch entirely to LTE or use LTE only for broadcasting events, broadcast TV on LTE seems inevitable.  Video traffic already dominates mobile networks and is expected to grow by around 60 percent annually until the end of 2018, according to statistics cited by Ericsson.

The result is increasing pressure on operators to enable their customers to enjoy the TV Anywhere experience, while at the same time managing network costs and efficiency, Ericsson explained.

KPN relied largely on Ericsson's LTE Broadcast solution for the test; Ericsson LTE Broadcast is built around three new standards: eMBMS, HEVC and MPEG DASH.

The Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Services (MBMS) point-to-multipoint standard was developed for the 3G generation of wireless, but gained little if any commercial traction. The evolved version (eMBMS) of the standards was devised for the 4G (LTE) generation of wireless networks.

eMBMS can support multicast and unicast – simultaneously, when appropriate. Backers say technology has the capability to support a virtually unlimited number of users. It is considered both spectrum-efficient and cost-efficient, especially in dense urban applications – notable examples have been sports venues.

Joost Steltenpool, Director Access, KPN, said, "Our experience with our country-wide 4G network demonstrates there is a clear customer demand for video content during events. Therefore our aim was to find a solution for delivering high quality video content to large groups of people. The key for such a solution is greater network efficiency and guaranteed service quality. Ericsson’s LTE Broadcast solution has been shown to deliver such a solution to our customers in the Amsterdam Arena. KPN is enthusiastic about the success of the pilot and is currently exploring next steps.”

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