The first UK trial of live broadcasting over 4G, Ultra HD and 3D audio will be seen as part of a BBC R&D showcase in Glasgow next week, timed to coincide with the Commonwealth Games, which is being staged in the city.
Demonstrations, which will be open to the public, can be seen at the Glasgow Science Centre’s Clyde Suite from 10am – 5pm throughout the Games (July 24 – August3) and will form part of the wider BBC at the Quay festivities.
“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,” said Matthew Postgate, Controller of BBC R&D.
In a UK first, BBC R&D will collaborate with EE, Huawei and Qualcomm on a trial to broadcast live footage from the Games over the EE 4G mobile network. 4G broadcasting is designed to offer an alternative to conventional streaming that can buffer and freeze at times of peak traffic because the content needs to be sent individually to each user.
Visitors will be able to view a live 4G broadcast of the feed from demo handsets through a special Commonwealth Games application.
The demonstration shows a complete end to end chain, with BBC R&D providing live content for the trial in the MPEG-DASH format. This is sent over an IP link to a Huawei server situated within EE’s 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, enabled by Qualcomm Technologies’ LTE Broadcast solution, is then used to display and navigate the live streams on handsets. This can be connected to BBC iPlayer to enable the integration of unicast on-demand content with live broadcast streams.
“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.”
As previously reported in Broadband TV News, visitors to the Showcase will also be able to see a special BBC R&D production of the Commonwealth Games in Ultra HD.
A joint demonstration from BBC R&D and Cisco will explore how Ultra-HD footage from the Games could be experienced with adaptable displays and contextual applications that provide a truly immersive and enhanced viewing experience.
Also being given an outing is an augmented video version of the BBC iPlayer that can draw graphical overlays on top of video streams. As with subtitles, these graphics can be activated or deactivated by the viewer. In sport these could a include putting names above player’s heads, adding text to show how fast a person is running or highlighting a ball to assist viewers with poor eyesight. At the Showcase, visitors will be able to see the prototype in action, where the graphics will be used to provide insights into gymnastics events.
BBC R&D also has a display of White Spaces technology that in Glasgow will be used to provide live and on-demand IP streaming of multimedia content to user devices in a home environment.