Sinclair plans wireless offload network for OTT and live video traffic

Sinclair Broadcast subsidiary ONE Media has a new deal with Saankhya Labs to speed up the development of a wireless network for offloading OTT and live video traffic.

Saankhya Labs’ platform will use radio nodes (co-located with existing cell towers) and end user devices to allow wireless operators to dynamically shift video traffic onto "one-to-many" broadcast Digital Terrestrial Transmission (DTT) networks. The network will use 5G and ATSC 3.0 technologies.

The companies said the network will improve DTT spectrum use and provide higher bitrates; introduce AI-based analytic engines for provisioning and offloading congested wireless networks; offer an improved content delivery network; and enable “hyper-local” broadcast content including datacasting, advertising and emergency alerts.

The companies also said the network will use "cellularizing" broadcast architecture to enable indoor reception of DTT with mobile and portable devices.

RELATED: Deeper Dive—Saankhya Labs is ‘cellularizing’ broadcast to make mobile TV possible

"These first deployments will elevate understanding of the cooperative role NextGen (ATSC 3.0) broadcast can play to make 5G networks highly efficient Broadcast/Broadband convergent networks. The 'Direct to Mobile' focus of this activity will leverage the one-to-many efficiencies of broadcast in a new topology that can provide high-reliability and large bandwidth solutions and make them available to the competitive marketplace,” said Mark Aitken, president of ONE Media, in a statement.

Parag Naik, co-founder and CEO of Saankhya Labs, spoke with FierceVideo earlier this year to explain “cellularization.” Traditionally, broadcast architectures stick to a high power high tower scheme using a single stick with an effective isotropic radiated power of greater than 1 million watts. But for mobile phones with negative gain antennae, this type of network architecture would result in spotty coverage.

Saankhya Labs is advocating a low power low tower, broadcast radio head (BRH) architecture wherein the transmitters radiate 20W to 100W and are co-located with 4G base stations. An architecture like this requires a lot of BRH (approximately one for every five to six 4G base stations), and that deployment begins to resemble a cellular architecture.