BT Sport, EE deliver UK’s first 5G live production broadcast | Mobile | News | Rapid TV News
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Making history on the turf at Wembley Stadium, without a football, UK telco EE has unveiled the country’s first live broadcast with remote production over 5G.
BT EE 5G 21Nov2018
The broadcast was carried over 5G from the historic stadium in North London and then produced remotely by the BT Sport production crew at BT Sport’s base in Stratford, East London. It used EE’s 5G test network in the stadium, with 3.4 GHz spectrum from a 5G antenna in the stadium, connected to a 10 Gbps backhaul link.

In the UK the BT-owned telco is currently trialling live 5G in Canary Wharf and other parts of East London. New devices and functionality — such as 5G smartphones to be introduced alongside 5G home routers for 5G broadband — are being tested in laboratories. With the capability now demonstrated, BT Sport will use 5G to increase the coverage available to viewers with more matches and faster highlights.

The 5G network is being built on top of EE’s 4G infrastructure meaning that customers’ 5G experience will be dictated by the quality of both 4G and 5G, as well as the underlying fixed network.

Yet, said BT Sport director of mobile Matt Stagg in the test broadcast for Wembley, 4G was never truly designed for broadcast even if it did work. “4G was really designed for download and for use by everybody. 5G will allow network slicing and allow us to segment different parts of the network for different vertical industries. Broadcast is a perfect use case for this. In news gathering you could, have a cameraman on the back of a bike [and film then send over 5]. There’s no need for trucks etc. Filming on location [over 4G] you can’t always get media back and mass file transfer. 4G has its limits – you can’t always guarantee contribution safely. You then start at looking only at those places that you can do things. We can now be focussed on telling the story now on how to get pieces to a broadcast centre.”

Added BT Sport chief operating officer Jamie Hindhaugh: “In terms of remote production [comms] is about the creativity it enables. With 4G the first question to ask is whether we can drive a truck to the stadium. With 5G it means what can we do whatever we want wherever we want to go...We need consistency within our team. We have wireless cameras so that we are not tethered. It’s a completely different ways of doing things. It’s all about dry efficiency. [In a wireless production test] we actually used fewer cameras but lit looked like we had more though [operating wirelessly].

“We can offer directors and producers more pictures than they usually have. And it also allows producers and director s to work on more than one game a day. It enables us to do more. 5G will next season enable BT Sport to deploy the most advanced remote production of any broadcaster. It will allow us to cover more live matches from more leagues and competitions, and to bring fans highlights action closer to the final whistle than has ever been done before in the UK.”

The final of the FA-recognised EE Wembley Cup 2018 will be the world’s first live sporting event to be broadcast over 5G using remote production. The event, featuring YouTube’s biggest footballers alongside international football legends, will be broadcast over