Next-Gen Video Broadcasting System Live Tested over 5G

Global Invacom announces that Rai Radiotelevisione italiana (“Rai”), the Italian national public broadcasting company, has successfully live-tested mobile TV broadcast over 5G.

The Rai transmission system is a prototype implementation of the evolution of LTE-Broadcast, specifically 3GPP Release 14*, combined with Global Invacom’s Bx-WiFi technology, to stream high quality HD video to a large number of mobile devices via a Wi-Fi network.

The prototype was developed by the Technische Universität Braunschweig** for Rai CRITS***, to demonstrate how state-of-the-art mobile technologies could be used for the distribution of public service media content and services to mobile devices on conventional terrestrial broadcast network infrastructure, meeting specific broadcast requirements, such as free-to-air delivery, wide-area coverage and cost-efficient distribution to mobile devices, without overloading the mobile cellular network.

Integrating with Global Invacom’s Bx-WiFi technology enables the simultaneous streaming of uninterrupted audio or video content from multiple sources, such as satellite feed, ‘live’ video, digital radio or the Rai 3GPP prototype receiver to thousands of current-generation smartphone and tablet devices all connected to the same hotspot, for example at a sporting event or music festival. The technology uses Forward Error Correction to maintain video quality despite potential Wi-Fi packet loss, and multicast technology to minimise bandwidth usage when a large number of users are simultaneously streaming.

In simple terms, this means users should be able to watch the broadcast without experiencing buffering or loss of signal. Unlike classic video streaming, this solution does not rely on the internet and uses little WiFi bandwidth, allowing other users to access the internet as per usual.

The Rai 3GPP prototype was live-tested during the Feast of St John celebrations in Turin. Live content of the festivities was captured and transmitted through the experimental 5G broadcast technology from the TV transmitter of Torino Eremo towards the city of Turin. The received signal was then fed through the Bx-WiFi system via which multiple different mobile devices simultaneously viewed the content. Feedback was collected following the trial in order to further improve and enhance the Bx-WiFi technology.

* The 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) is a standards organization which develops protocols for mobile telephony. Release 14 adds multimedia broadcast amongst other things.
** Technical University of Braunschweig in Germany
*** CRITS: Centro Ricerche, Innovazione Tecnologica e Sperimentazione, the Rai Research Centre.