Fox Teams With Ericsson, Intel, AT&T to Deliver 4K Over 5G at Golf Championship

Fox Sports, in cooperation with the Fox Innovation Lab and Ericsson, Intel and AT&T, will use 5G technology to stream 4K video over 5G for potential broadcast nationwide at this year’s 118th U.S. Open Championship June 14 to 17.

The 5G wireless technology will transmit 4K HDR images from two Fox Sports cameras positioned on the seventh hole at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club through the Fox Sports production truck, making it available to Fox Sports and its viewers through DirecTV. In the future, 5G could possibly be used to deliver real-time virtual reality views from the course to viewers, according to a Fox press release.

Deployed for the first time at broad scale earlier this year by Intel and partners at the Winter Games in PyeongChang, the new 5G wireless technology enables multi-gigabit speeds with ultra-low latency, according to the release.

“It’s part of our Fox Sports DNA to aggressively explore evolving technologies as part of our live sports production,” Michael Davies, Fox Sports SVP of field and technical operations, said in a statement. “This is exactly the kind of effort we consistently put into the leading edge of today’s technology, in preparation for what will become the industry standards of the future.”

The Fox Innovation Lab is supporting the Intel and Ericsson 5G Innovators Initiative (5GI2) in its mission to drive the future of next-generation entertainment.

“The Fox Innovation Lab was started four years ago for exactly this type of initiative — to test emerging technologies and bring them to life in real-world applications by working across 21st Century Fox and in partnership with leading technology companies,” said Danny Kaye, EVP and managing director, Fox Innovation Lab, in a statement. “We are excited about the potential of 5G to transform the way we capture and deliver premium content to audiences.”

Ericsson is providing the 5G radios, baseband, simulated network core, and 4K video encoder and decoder.

“As we prepare for the launch of 5G networks, it is essential for us to test real-world business cases, such as for wireless streaming of 4K video at sporting events,” said Niklas Heuveldop, head of market area North America, Ericsson, in a statement. “In collaboration with our partners, Ericsson is proud to demonstrate this type of innovative entertainment solution, utilizing both our networks and media technologies. This is just one eye-opening example of the increased relevance high performance wireless networks will have for delivering a superior consumer experience.”

Intel is providing the Intel 5G Mobile Trial Platform. It will be at the seventh hole to deliver the 5G to IP translation.

“Building from our innovation at the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games where we had 22 live 5G links, supporting 3,800 terabytes of network capacity, we are again enabling 5G in a real-world environment at another exciting sporting event. Intel, along with partners AT&T, Ericsson and Fox Sports, is showcasing live 5G connectivity at the U.S. Open,” said Asha Keddy, VP and GM of next generation and standards, Intel, in a statement. “Our learnings from this collaboration will fuel a stronger 5G user experience in live sports while the industry drives towards development of 5G devices and network build-outs, creating new business opportunities that will result from the rich media experience delivered by 5G.”

AT&T will use millimeter wave spectrum to deliver the 5G connection. AT&T also plans to be the first U.S. carrier to launch standards-based, mobile 5G services to customers in a dozen cities, including parts of Dallas, Atlanta and Waco, later this year, according to the release.

“5G ultimately promises to transform the video experience and enabling this live 4K broadcast is a great early example,” Melissa Arnoldi, president, AT&T technology and operations, said in a statement. “The high-speed and low-latency delivered by this trial allows the cameras to move without being restricted by cables and create a unique filming environment.  We believe live sports will be transformed by 5G — whether it’s virtual and augmented realities for those watching from afar or how connected sensors could help analyze golf swings, wind conditions, even the speed of greens for the golfer in future U.S. Opens.”

Ericsson Media Solutions Launches MediaFirst UHD

Ericsson Media Solutions has launched its MediaFirst End-to-End Ultra High Definition (UHD) solution, the industry’s first software-based, multi-application media processing and encoding platform to deliver UHD content from camera to consumer, across the entire media delivery landscape, according to the company.

The solution combines Ericsson Media Solutions’ MediaFirst Video Processing, MediaFirst Content Processing and AVP System Encoders to deliver a holistic UHD solution, according to Ericsson.

The new platform is making its global debut at NAB Show 2018 (Booth #SU720).

Ownership of HDTVs has increased from around 75 percent in 2012 to almost 85 percent in 2017, while 4K UHD TVs are now present in over a fifth of all homes, according to Ericsson.

“The MediaFirst End-to-End UHD solution addresses this growing need, enabling consumers to enjoy a better and more immersive viewing experience, even on larger TV sets,” according to the company.

The new solution is designed to enable contribution workflows, leveraging algorithms for encoding UHD content to be delivered across contribution networks, further delivered to consumers for an immersive experience across rich client interfaces, according to the company. With the freedom to use High Dynamic Range (HDR) technology, as well as a cloud-agnostic choice of private, public or hybrid clouds, the solution “offers the ultimate flexibility for formats and deployment,” according to Ericsson.

“As ownership of 4K UHD and HDR ready TV sets increases, each generation of portable device is pushing the limits of screen resolutions,” said Boris Felts, head of products and solutions at Ericsson Media Solutions, in a statement. “There is a huge opportunity for operators to differentiate by delivering more immersive and high-quality viewing experiences. Our innovative and complete End-to-End UHD processing solution is the first on the market to unlock this potential. It enables operators to use elements of the Ericsson MediaFirst Video Processing platform to provide greater flexibility, superior low latency, and the ability to repurpose processing functions to efficiently deliver new and increasingly immersive UHD video experiences.”

Enabling TV service providers the capability to differentiate even further with this End to End Ultra High Definition solution, Ericsson Media Solutions can combine the Ericsson Video Storage and Processing Platform (VSPP) and MediaFirst TV Platform powering a unified solution for cloud DVR, on-demand and time- and place-shifted TV services, supporting all media and screens, up to Ultra HD resolution, according to the company.

Globally, Ericsson Media Solutions serves more than 900 operators, service providers, broadcasters, content providers and aggregators. To find out more about Ericsson Media Solutions’ MediaFirst End-to-End UHD solution, visit its dedicated NAB Show website through April 12.

Ericsson, Telefónica Partner for TV Everywhere

Ericsson has partnered with Telefónica to power the Spanish telecom’s TV Everywhere initiatives in Latin America.

As part of the three-year deal, Ericsson Media Solutions will deploy its video storage and processing platform technology to enable Telefonica to bow seven-day catch up and time-shift services for TV programing to subscribers in 13 countries in the region – including Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Peru.

TV Everywhere services have been long championed by pay-TV operators as an antidote to third-party over-the-top video competitors such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.

Angel Ruiz, CEO, Ericsson Media Solutions, said service providers today are faced with huge libraries of content and HD recordings that they need to efficiently deploy as part of complex time-shifted TV services.

“This deployment will enable Telefónica to transform its service delivery by virtualizing the storage and processing capabilities of its servers ensuring that catch-up and VOD services are delivered reliably … to subscribers all over Latin America,” Ruiz said.

The deal builds on the long-standing collaborative partnership between the companies, which has lasted for more than a decade, and has already seen Ericsson technology deployed by Telefónica in Peru. Telefónica has also deployed Ericsson Media Solutions services in Spain.

Earlier this year, Telefónica announced a subscription streaming agreement with Viacom in Latin America. The global deal represented a first for Viacom with a mobile carrier to carry all its international TV channels, as well as mobile streaming apps and VOD content.