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Live news and sports broadcasts set to benefit as India’s 5G roll-out gets underway

The impending roll-out of fifth-generation (5G) broadband cellular networks across India promises to bring many benefits to the wider population, not least when it comes to the production and distribution of live news and sports video content.

Newsgathering teams in India have for some time struggled as reporters, assembling to cover breaking stories overload public networks. Equally, at large sports events, crews often have to compete with spectators for scarce mobile bandwidth. It is in these circumstances, and for both private and public networks, that IP bonding solutions, including those pioneered by LiveU, provide otherwise unobtainable resiliency.

IP bonding will remain critical as we move to 5G
5G promises to provide huge opportunities for live news and sports broadcasting across India and, in particular, for remote at-home production (REMI), which will benefit from the higher quality and super low latency of 5G networks.

While advanced deployments of 5G networks provide major benefits over existing connectivity and exciting opportunities for the industry, bandwidth will vary from one 5G network and site to another. On any 5G network, including the most advanced, interfering objects and buildings, amongst other things, can cause a sudden connection loss or significant bandwidth reduction.

Similarly, other issues, such as distance from cell antenna, preference to downlink in resource allocations, and partial coverage including in buildings, urban areas and out-of-city-center areas, all make IP bonding essential because of its multi-link capabilities, rather than relying on a single network connection. To maximize the potential of 5G, IP bonding will remain essential.

LiveU leading from the front to help broadcasters prepare for 5G
LiveU has been extensively engaged in the ongoing development and deployment of 5G solutions around the world in recent years. Based on our experiences, from both public and private 5G partnerships, we have gained a unique insight into the role IP bonding will play in India, and we plan to ensure our customers can reap the benefits of 5G. Already top LiveU customers in India, including ANI and India Today, are investing in our native 5G solutions, such as the LU800.

Taking remote production to a new level of quality
The pandemic accelerated the shift to remote production across India with broadcasters and production companies realizing the financial, safety, and sustainability benefits of sending smaller crews and less equipment on-site.

High-quality streams and super low latency enabled by 5G networks will make remote production even more viable. 5G will facilitate more high-end productions with superior quality, synchronized 4K, and multi-camera productions.

The greater potential uplink throughput of 5G will provide the additional bandwidth that can be allocated to other important capabilities to deliver high-end remote productions. It is not only about transporting premium-quality video and audio, it is also about the extra IP data that can be used for communication with remote teams, video return, and robotic camera control, amongst other capabilities. This will further reduce the need to send OB/SNG trucks and large crews on-site to cover news or live sports events.

Our demand for high-quality (live) video content continues to grow. In a 5G world, multi-camera remote productions using 5G native field units, such as LiveU’s LU800, can be delivered with a reduced network load, while enhancing the viewer experience and reducing costs. Using our LU800 multi-cam solution delivering up to 70 Mbps over 5G/4G, reliably with low latency, will enable news and sports broadcasters to hit unquestionable broadcast-grade video for multiple HD feeds or 4K for even the most complex content. Recently launched, our compact LU300S field unit also provides 4K 10-bit HDR broadcast-grade video over 5G.

Are you ready for 5G?
Already, 5G is beginning to provide real benefits across the world for news and live sports broadcasts. However, it is important to keep in mind that 5G will not immediately be available to all parts of the country from the outset. In the early days of 5G networks in India, there will be a transitional phase, where the networks will continue to rely partly upon legacy 3G and 4G technologies.

Improvements to the 5G networks will be incremental and the full potential of 5G will be fully realized over time. As the infrastructure develops, we will see a multitude of exciting possibilities that 5G will enable, including, for example, live news and sports broadcasts, enriched with augmented reality.

The experience that LiveU has gained across its 5G partnerships leads us to believe that 5G, in combination with IP bonding, offers a very exciting future for all involved in the production and distribution of news and live sports broadcasts. We aim to continue to lead from the front to ensure our customers in India are ready to embrace the 5G future.

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