What 5G Means for Video in Asia

What 5G Means for Video in Asia

A Game-Changer for Mobile Video in Asia
The growth of mobile users in Asia-Pacific, especially India and China, has been staggering. Along with it has been the rise of digital video consumption, with 53% of internet users in the region watching TV on their mobile phones [1]. As a result, over-the-top (OTT) video streaming, along with internet protocol television (IPTV) and video-on-demand (VOD), are all on the rise.

With an increased dependence on mobile for business and entertainment comes a pressing demand for more bandwidth and greater accessibility. Mobile devices are now an indispensable tool for consumers’ needs, including providing high-quality video content that can match traditional linear TV, anywhere, anytime.

To meet such needs, the world is preparing for a 5G revolution that is set to launch by 2020. In Asia, countries such as South Korea, Japan, and China are taking the lead, with South Korea broadcasting the 2019 New Year’s Day video in 5G [2].

5G has been touted as the harbinger of new mobile applications, such as Internet-of-Things (IoT), autonomous vehicles, and machine-to-machine (M2M) communication. But what does it mean for video, and specifically, for broadcasters and media owners?

Seamless, Ubiquitous Connectivity Via Hybrid Networks
Unlike today, where many remote areas in Asia experience content download issues due to the limitations of 3G/4G technologies, 5G promises to bring faster and cheaper mobile connectivity at lower latencies and higher bandwidth. Viewers, in turn, will be able to enjoy video content wherever they might be.

The universal coverage that 5G will provide lies in its ability to connect with other communication infrastructure. Communications satellites, for example, will be able to integrate with 5G networks in order to take over when terrestrial infrastructure is inadequate. This mobile-satellite marriage will mean that mobile network operators (MNOs) and satellite operators will together be able to expand their footprint and provide end-to-end services for broadcasters and media owners.

SES is currently working to make this a reality, and is part of the European Commission’s SaT5G consortium that demonstrated mobile-satellite integration last year at EuCNC2018 [3]. The demonstration worked as a proof-of-concept to show how satellite communication can be seamlessly integrated with 5G. It also showcased efficient edge delivery of multimedia content, for which SES provided end-to-end connectivity from a remote region to a teleport in Betzdorf, Luxembourg.

Higher Speeds, Low Latency
With 1.46 billion smartphone users in Asia-Pacific, the speed and bandwidth requirements for the region are set to grow exponentially [4]. Already, 32% of Asia-Pacific consumers pay for online content, as opposed to the worldwide average of 26% [5].

Such heavy consumption is stretching present-day mobile network infrastructure and 3G/4G capabilities to their limits. Asia-Pacific is now ready to roll out 5G because it promises to deliver maximum speeds of over 1 Gigabits per second (Gbps), up from current maximum speeds of 150 Megabits per second (Mbps) possible with 4G [6].

When combined with next-generation High Throughput Satellites (HTS) such as SES-12, 5G networks will offer unprecedented bandwidth that will make High Definition (HD) and Ultra-HD video a norm. Viewers will be able to watch live video streams at High Frame Rates (HFR) of 100 frames per second instead of the current 50 frames per second, a technology only satellite can deliver at present [7].

Virtual Reality
In addition to faster and better-quality video, the advent of 5G will usher in the age of new technologies such a Virtual Reality (VR). Although VR media such as 3D movies are available today, each video currently demands too much bandwidth that cannot realistically be supported by today’s infrastructure.

When more bandwidth becomes available, viewers will be able to view content panoramically and in 3D. SES is already preparing for this with VR360, which is a work-in-progress that will enable broadcasters to easily distribute VR360 TV [8].

5G and Broadcast
5G will soon become a reality. For broadcasters, this means gearing up for new consumer expectations of video content, such as Ultra HD video and VR360 on multiple channels. Also, broadcasters should anticipate the video distribution needs brought on by universal connectivity and prepare for efficient delivery methods, along with curated local and international content.

To find out more about how to prepare for 5G, contact us today.

[1] Capturing Asia’s TV Market with IPTV

[2] SK Telecom Uses 5G for First 2019 TV Broadcast, Plans Live Phone and Drone Videos

[3] SES Showcases Satellite and 5G Integration as Part of SaT5G Consortium Live Demo

[4] Overcoming Terrestrial Network Challenges to Deliver a Differentiated Video Experience

[5] Meeting Evolving Consumer Expectations with Unmatched Video Experiences

[6] Is 5G As Fast As They’re Saying?

[7] Ultra HD

[8] Virtual Reality Via satellite