EE And BBC Team Up For 4G Broadcast Of FA Cup Final

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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EE hopes to introduce 4G broadcast to its network by 2016

EE and the BBC staged a live 4G broadcast of the 2015 FA Cup Final on Saturday as the two companies continue to see have LTE technology can be used to improve mobile streaming of major televised events.

Traditional streams, or unicast transmissions, send content to an individual user, using more capacity.

LTE broadcast sends the same live content to multiple users in the same location through eMBMS (evolved Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Service) – the broadcast mode of LTE which is included in the current specifications for 4G.

LTE Broadcast

Wembley EE 4EE says wider use of LTE broadcast will use less spectrum and ensure the quality of the stream can be maintained even in crowded areas. Major TV events cause the highest peaks in traffic on the EE network and the operator is pushing for wider adoption of LTE Broadcast.

For the FA Cup Final, a custom application allowed users to select from multiple camera angles and instant replays provided by the BBC, along with live Opta stats. The Beeb provided two stadium camera feeds and the broadcast feed, which were then sent from the BBC’s outside broadcast truck in real time, before they were encoded in MPEG-DASH format.

The BBC and EE also worked together to deliver some of the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow using eMBMS in earlier trial. EE plans to build the technology into its network next year and will work with device manufacturers, content owners and broadcasters to increase adoption.

“In the future, 4G Broadcast will make live television available to mobile audiences in a way we have never seen before, and the cross-industry collaboration in this project has enabled a big step forward in making that possible,” said EE CEO Olaf Swantee.

EE is the official sponsor of Wembley Stadium and has said it will use the home of the Football Association (FA) and the England National Football Team as a testbed for future network developments. The FA said the latest trial highlighted the benefit of the partnership.

“This latest innovation highlights that through Wembley’s partnership with EE we are at the forefront of technological advancements in global sports and music entertainment venues,” said Rob Ray, group director of IT and digital at Wembley Stadium. “It demonstrates the value of the partnership and our commitment to our event owners, and to their fans and the experience they will enjoy at the stadium for years to come.”

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