Fox Sports details 5G livestreaming trial with AT&T, Ericsson at U.S. Open

Fox Sports and Fox Innovation Lab, alongside AT&T, Ericsson and Intel, are offering up some details on their 5G livestreaming trial from the U.S. Open in June.

To demonstrate how use mmWave 5G cellular technology can be used to stream 4K video for nationwide broadcasts—in this case a golf tournament—AT&T provided the required spectrum; Ericsson provided the 5G network equipment and 4K video encoder and decoder; and Intel supplied its Mobile Trial Platform, working as the 5G modem.

“The collaboration with Fox Sports, AT&T and Ericsson to ‘unplug the wires’ at the U.S. Open Golf Tournament and broadcast the golf action on DirecTV is just an example of what can be achieved with mmWave spectrum for extreme capacity and throughput,” said Asha Keddy, vice president and general manager of Next Generation and Standards at Intel, in a statement.

For the trial, the companies placed 4K cameras around the green and tee box on the 7th hole of the 2018 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills in New York. The objective was to show that 5G could be used to send large 4K video files with no detectible delays (latency) and no degradation to video quality transmitting at very high speeds (throughput).

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The companies said 5G uplink speeds during the trial exceeded the necessary throughput rates. Typically, delivery of encoded 4K video feeds requires data rates of 60 to 80 Mbps. The 5G trial network at the U.S. Open demonstrated sustained uplink speeds of over 300 Mbps throughout the entire event.

In addition, the 5G delivery latency levels during the event were under 10 milliseconds.

The trial used Ericsson’s New Radio network configuration with massive multiple input multiple output (MIMO) antennas and Lean Design. That configuration helped extend the coverage, reduced the noise from other transmissions, required less power consumption and produced higher throughput.

On top of meeting or exceeding performance levels of current fiber-based broadcast network technologies, the 5G trial showed ways that broadcasters can save money during remote live event coverage. The study said that savings could be gained by reducing the size of on-site operations including technical staff, cabling, fiber install and deinstall, antennae placements, and set-up costs. The companies said that the length of time needed for set-up and tear-down would also be reduced. In all, analysis of the U.S. Open case study showed that a 5G cellular system can produce an anticipated minimum savings of 34% over current methods.