The current development of the 5G standard was the topic of the panel “Towards 5G Broadcast in Europe” last week at the Media Days Munich. Antonio Arcidiacono, Director for Technology and Innovation of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), emphasized the currently unique opportunity to implement a uniform broadcasting standard for the first time. “We have a great opportunity to establish a worldwide standard and bridge the gap between unicast and broadcast services for mobile devices based on the same transmission technology,” said Arcidiacono.
Taskforce 5G Media Action Group
In order to implement the new mobile communications standard throughout Europe, a task force has been formed within the EBU: 5G MAG, the Media Action Group for 5G. Arcidiacono called on companies from the media, telecommunications and automotive industries to get involved with 5G MAG: “This is a global project that we are launching here in Europe. And it’s not just about information or entertainment, it’s about a new level of infrastructure that we can reach.”
Research is underway
However, further research is needed to harness the full potential of 5G network technology for the production and distribution of media content. According to Dr. Khishigbayar Dushchuluun, Head of Radio Systems at the Munich Institute for Broadcasting Technology (IRT), the next development stage is currently being completed with Release 16.
The first tests with the new 5G standard are also underway in France. For example, Jacques Donat-Bouillud, Vice President Broadcast and Distribution at FranceTV, reported on tests in Paris that will enable mobile TV programme reception on smartphones via 5G in the French metropolis. “We are satisfied with the results so far, as we have achieved very good coverage”, he explained.
Italy’s public RAI has also gained its first experience in Turin. “We are currently working on extending the tests to other cities,” reports Vittoria Mignone, Senior Researcher at RAI.
5G Broadcast works – and then?
The second part of the panel focused on the advantages of 5G Broadcast. In particular, 5G offers enormous efficiency gains regarding the power-intensive data transmissions of the future. For example, entertainment content, georeferenced recommendations or travel-specific services could be played when driving autonomously via head-up displays. 5G also offers new possibilities in the personalization of media content, for example with non-linear offerings (on-demand). “However, it is important that we discuss this today, even if the projects are not implemented for another ten years,” demanded Dr. Roland Beutler, Distribution Strategy Manager at Südwestrundfunk. There was agreement among the experts that significant progress will have been made in development until next year and that it will be possible to use the 5G standard in everyday life soon.