Broadcasting and Media: Technical Viewpoints

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Broadcasting and Media: Technical Viewpoints

The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) is the world’s leading alliance of public service media. With 119 member organisations from 56 countries, EBU brings together 489 TV channels, 720 radio stations, 560 local windows, 1124 online simulcast channels and stations and 240 exclusive linear services, with a potential audience of 1.05 billion people. 

Technical viewpoints from Antonio Arcidiacono, Director of Technology and Innovation, EBU: Broadcaster requirements for 4G and 5G (July 2019). 

EBU-Tech runs a 5G Working Group on Content Production, contributes to standardisation in 3GPP and ETSI Broadcast and a joint ETSI/EBU/CENELEC Technical Committee, which coordinates the drafting of standards in the broadcasting sector and related fields. 

5G value proposition

  • A 5G infrastructure alongside broadcast networks serves end-customers with the best technology available, optimising network use and minimising overall investments (cellular and broadcasting).
  • Orchestration with broadcasting infrastructures will guarantee large capacity and coverage in a shorter time frame while absorbing peaks of traffic for content addressing a large number of users, e.g. live sports and news events. 
  • 5G exclusive cellular coverage for sub-urban and rural areas could be economically difficult to sustain while a mix of technologies facilitates and accelerates this process by bringing 5G services to the entire population at a reduced cost. 

5 Key innovations

  1. 5G collaborative infrastructures providing services over a wide area using a cooperative network with 3 5G layers: cellular, high tower terrestrial and satellite. 

  2. Enhanced user experience: creation of a delivery system able to effectively meet the evolving user requirements for access to media services. From highly personalised and interactive to highly popular live events. In a technically feasible and cost-effective way, optimising investments and the use of radio frequency spectrum. 

  3. Intelligent receivers that can optimise the reception of services provided, including two-way unicast services.

  4. Free technology: the cost and power consumption is optimized by combining cellular ‘base stations’ with high tower broadcasting transmitters covered by a satellite overlay, guaranteeing almost 100% coverage of territories . An optimised number of base stations will mean better economies and less energy consumption. 

  5. Reduced digital divide: a system providing total inclusion will have the potential to lessen the polarisation of European society by removing differences in opportunities across urban, suburban and rural areas. 

Critical Requirements for distribution

  • Large network coverage, high reliability, resilience and scale.

  • Suitable business models.

  • Compliant with specific broadcast regulation.

  • Sustainable.

  • Low cost: affordable for both broadcasters and end-users.

  • Unconstrained access to audiences and audience data.

Content production broadcasters are looking for:

  • Operational flexibility.

  • Reduced complexity.

  • New capabilities.

  • Lower costs.

Distribution channel

Goal: delivery of entire range of content and services.

  • To all interested users.

  • At right time.

  • At right place. 

  • On the right device.

  • With the desired quality.

  • For the right price.

Balancing act between: 

  • Optimising the user experience.

  • Resource management.

  • Business objectives.

  • Regulatory requirements and constraints.

Additional regulatory requirements for public broadcasters:

  • Universal availability, on all relevant platforms, everywhere and on different user devices.

  • Free to view/listen, with no recurring charges for access to services.

  • The ability to reach the population in emergency situations.

  • Regulated business models.

Combining 5G cellular and broadcast networks - Vision

  • Leveraging the power of 5G and combining strengths in a smart way.

  • Cellular mobile networks with terrestrial broadcast transmitters and satellite transmitters.

  • Matching the operational mode to the requirements of the services provided and number of users who want the same content at the same time.

Using the laws of physics where they work best

  • Make use of the power of broadcasting to serve an infinite number of users combined with the speed and capacity of 5G Internet to provide interactive and personalised services to individual users.

  • Intelligence in the user’s receiver will select the best option for service, quality and availability. 

  • Using cooperative networks, ‘orchestrated’ in this way will also be energy-efficient in a coming world where this will be much needed.

Serving the vehicular market: entertainment services and much more

  • Applications will extend beyond providing high-quality media services for information, entertainment and education.

  • The proposed solution will allow multiple services for manually driven and future self-driven (autonomous).

  • Cars will need continuous and highly reliable access to services not only to occupy the car passengers’ new leisure time but also to provide other services such as guaranteed and timely delivery of critical data to a large number of vehicles such as traffic-related information and navigation support, including also alerts and alarms.

  • The proposed solution addresses today’s limitations on media and data delivery and interactivity that are affected by where and how you move and live, lifting the ceiling, so citizens can freely choose how to move and where to work and live their lives.

European Broadcasting Union
Requirements Tracking
Broadcasting and Media

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