SK Telecom touts live TV broadcast over commercial 5G network

SK Telecom used the New Year’s Eve holiday to highlight its 5G network and “T Live Caster,” a live broadcasting solution that it developed over a four-year period.

SK Telecom aired Korea’s largest New Year’s event at Bosingak, a pavilion in Jongno-gu, Seoul, for about 11 minutes live on the entertainment channel XtvN on Jan. 1, 2019. The video was taken by smartphone cameras installed with the T Live Caster app and connected to 5G mobile routers and transmitted through 5G base stations and XtvN’s transmission system to cable and IPTV viewers of XtvN. 

SK's press release about the event didn't identify the suppliers of the devices or the infrastructure. 

According to SK Telecom, T Live Caster enables live broadcasting of video taken by smartphones on various channels such as TV and personal broadcasting via 5G and LTE networks. The technology is currently being used in the media industry to livestream various events and sports games, as well as in the video surveillance market to improve public safety and response times.

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The New Year’s video was transmitted at a latency of less than one second, which is similar to what you’d get with the existing wired broadcasting system. SK said it plans to continue to enhance the quality of T Live Caster to UHD and interconnect the solution to personal broadcasting platforms within the year.

Plans also call for tapping into the drone broadcasting market. Last June, SK Telecom struck a partnership with drone manufacturer DJI to jointly develop a drone video surveillance solution.

Interestingly, the New York City Police Department (NYPD) was going to use drones during its New Year’s Eve celebration in Times Square, but inclement weather changed those plans, according to the Washington Post. The NYPD announced its Unmanned Aircraft System program last month, with licensed NYPD officers of the Technical Assistance Response Unit operating them. That announcement did not mention 5G, but NYPD’s drones, or quadcopters, are also supplied by DJI.

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It was almost one year ago when former Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam conducted a 5G video call with KT’s chairman using two prototype 5G tablets provided by Samsung. That call, staged to coincide with February’s Super Bowl, used Verizon’s precommercial 5G technology that was formed out of the 5G Technology Forum. Both KT and SK Telecom were involved with Verizon in the 5G Trial Specification Alliance as well.