Tech Spotlight

Verizon LTE Multicast Mimics Broadcast Model

Verizon's new offering in development, LTE Multicast, will use broadcasting's one-to-many model to deliver video to mobile devices. Although the service is still a long way off, broadcasters see it as a threat and are responding in part by pushing forward with the development of a next-generation broadcasting system through the Advanced Television Systems Committee.
TVNewsCheck,

Verizon has begun to demo a new approach to delivering video over its vast LTE wireless broadband network that will allow it to mimic and compete with broadcasting.

The technique, which the company calls LTE Multicast, permits Verizon go beyond one-to-one delivery to broadcasting-like, one-to-many delivery.

Story continues after the ad

For its most recent demonstration of the technology, Verizon transmitted multiple camera angles of race coverage from the Indianapolis 500 to some crew members in the pit at the track. The wireless carrier used an undisclosed number of cell sites near the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the demo.

The crews, which were given Samsung Galaxy Note 3 smartphones and Sequans tablets enhanced with special LTE Multicast chipsets to receive the Verizon broadcast, used the devices to view specific camera angles of the race and give their drivers a tactical advantage.

The Indy trial of LTE Multicast follows its rollout at a special technology showing in New York City’s Bryant Park as part of the festivities surrounding Super Bowl XLVIII on Feb. 2.

“This is a very spectrally efficient way to deliver large quantities of data, primarily video, to a particular area,” says Verizon spokesperson Debi Lewis.

Brand Connections

Verizon envisions rolling out LTE Multicast nationally and competing head to head with broadcasting and other purveyors of live, linear TV.

Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam laid out the strategy during his keynote at the 2013 International CES. “With LTE Broadcast, we’ll be able to stream to everybody over the same channel at the same time," he said. "This will give content owners new ways to reach their audiences, whether it be for sports, for concerts or even college classes.

"Our goal is to break down the barriers between home and mobile once and for all and come up with new video services that can move seamlessly across any platform and any device.”

But first come the baby steps.

Verizon, which has signed on with IndyCar for a multi-year sponsorship, plans demos of LTE Multicast at at least four more IndyCar races this season, says Lewis.

The demos will likely be followed by a limited rollout, perhaps in a few markets, to wring out any problems, says Philip Solis, research director at ABI Research. “You keep expanding who you are offering it to to solve the glitches without having a national failure."

Lewis sees LTE Multicast being used to reach large numbers of customers gathered in one place such as a stadium, raceway or even college campus, without diminishing the data and telephony functionality in the area.

“But there are lots of other potential business cases to be made for LTE Multicast when you think of content providers,” she says. One example could be transmitting lectures from a super-star professor at one campus to thousands of students at other colleges, she says.

To implement LTE Multicast for the speedway demo, Verizon partnered with several companies including MobiTV, Expway, Qualcomm, Samsung, Sequans and Ericsson.

Ericsson, which calls its part of the multicast ecosystem “LTE Broadcast,” says the technology is better than previous approaches because it leverages OFDMA (orthogonal frequency-division multiple access) and wider bandwidth available via LTE.

“The technology starts to provide network-capacity advantages over unicast in a cell with as few as one to four concurrent users, depending on the deployment characteristics,” Ericsson says in a white paper describing the technology.

Rick Herman, chief strategy officer at MobiTV, says LTE Multicast is clearly based on the broadcasting model. “What you are trying to do is rely on traditional broadcasting methods to deliver QoS [quality of service], but doing it in a newfangled way with new gear,” he says.

Deploying LTE Multicast on the transmission side is simple and straightforward, says Lewis. All that is required is software at the cell site, she says.

The receive side of the LTE Multicast equation is more troublesome. Existing devices cannot receive the service, says Lewis. Chipsets devoted to LTE Multicast reception will be needed in a next generation of smartphones and tablets to make the new service a reality.

That will be no small task. The LTE network covers nearly 98% of the U.S. population and, at the end of the first quarter of 2014, there were 92.5 million LTE subscribers with incompatible devices, says Marina Lu, an analyst specializing in the wireless market at ABI Research.

Jay Adrick, a consultant and former vice president of Harris Broadcast (now GatesAir), says offering a full-blown LTE Multicast service nationwide will present several challenges for Verizon.

“To deploy a nationwide, multichannel network with sufficient channels to interest the general public is a different story,” says Adrick. "Certainly you are going to have additional transport requirements to get content to the base stations.”

Adrick also contends that if the LTE network is offered nationwide, there will come a point where any unicast spectrum savings realized through the one-to-many broadcast model will be exceeded by the spectrum needed to broadcast content.

Tags

Comments (2) -

Roger Thornhill Nickname posted over 2 years ago
Yeah, just like broadcast TV but without any of the public interest obligations.
Johnny Fever posted over 2 years ago
Exactly, how does this serve the public convenience, safety and interest? Is it free? I didn't think so. Hey Verizon, AT&T and you other bandwidth squatters - "how's it working for you" on all that bandwidth that you already own and aren't using, but want more? Sows.
Marketshare Blog Playout Blog

Twitter

TVNewsCheck

Ratings

Overnights, adults 18-49 for September 27, 2016
  • 1.
    3.0/11
  • 2.
    1.8/6
  • 3.
    1.2/4
  • 4.
    0.9/3
  • 5.
    0.6/2
  • 6.
    0.2/1
Source: Nielsen

Reviews

  • Rob Owen

    Easily fall’s best broadcast network comedy pilot, NBC’s The Good Place offers a clever high-concept premise that’s complemented with intelligent, sometimes absurdist humor. Created by Michael Schur, co-creator of NBC’s Parks and Recreation, The Good Place is a highly serialized series that’s essentially set in heaven and stars Kristen Bell and Ted Danson. NBC made five episodes of The Good Place available for review, and the show not only holds up, but also it improves, deepening characters that initially feel one-note and frequently leaving viewers guessing with cliffhanger endings to many of the episodes. The combination of snappy dialogue and winning but flawed characters makes The Good Place a great bet for fans of smart TV comedy.

  • Maureen Ryan

    Pitch has swagger, for good reason. It gets the big things right; the Fox drama about the first female baseball player in the Major Leagues is one of the year’s most assured and exciting debuts. But part of what impresses about the pilot is also the way it confidently strings together so many small but telling details. Ginny (Kylie Bunbury) is the first woman to be called up from the minors to the big leagues, and no show since Friday Night Lights has done a better job of portraying the internal and external pressures that weigh heavily on young athletes asked to do much more than merely succeed on the field. Pitch will likely do a good job of getting viewers to root for it. The hope is that the show won’t be an impressive, short-lived curiosity, but rather a long-term phenomenon.

  • Kevin Fallon

    In a fall TV season that’s already making a splash for championing diverse, distinctive voices in an array of projects that they created, wrote, and starred in, Better Things on FX stands out. The show is created by, written by, and starsPamela Adlon. She plays Sam Fox, the single mother of three daughters modeled after her own reality-show-ready experience raising three girls in Los Angeles following a divorce. Sam is also, like Adlon, a working actress — on shows both raunchy, a la Californication, and animated for children, like her role on Recess. It’s a refreshingly blunt take on single motherhood without sacrificing the warmth of parental love, portraying the dance between selfishness and selflessness that’s at the heart of being a parent — especially one weathering the hormonal fireworks of a household of four women at different ages.

  • David Wiegand

    The fall TV season doesn’t count as much as it used to — we already know that. But no matter how many retreads the broadcast networks throw at viewers in the next few months, this fall will be memorable because of the premiere of Atlanta on Tuesday, Sept. 6, on FX. The half-hour comedy created by and starring Donald Glover (Community), simply and brilliantly recalibrates our expectations of what a TV comedy is and how black lives are portrayed on the medium.

  • Louisa Ada Seltzer

    The second reboot of the 1980s John Candy movie Uncle Buck, bumped by ABC from midseason, has the same tired jokes you'll find on any second-rate sitcom. Too bad, because Mike Epps is appealing and ABC would be wise to keep him around for future shows, but there’s just not enough to this show to suggest it will last past summer. It also airs against NBC’s America’s Got Talent, summer’s No. 1 program on broadcast, which may make it even harder to find an audience.

  • Neil Genzlinger

    Bryan Cranston brings his Tony Award-winning interpretation of President Lyndon B. Johnson to television in an adaptation of the Robert Schenkkan play All the Way, and it’s still quite a sight to behold, just as it was on Broadway in 2014. Nothing beats witnessing this kind of larger-than-life portrayal onstage, of course. But the television version, presented by HBO, offers plenty of rewards, allowing Cranston to work the close-ups and liberating him from the confines of a theater set. Cranston’s performance is a gem — in his hands, this accidental president comes across as an amazing bundle of contradictions, someone who seems at once too vulgar for the job and just right for it.

This advertisement will close automatically in  second(s). You will see this ad no more than once a day. Skip ad