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The first 5G live TV broadcast by SK Telecom

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The 1st of January, 2019 saw the first live TV broadcast of the annual Bosingak bell-ringing New Year’s event over a 5G commercial network. SK Telecom, a South Korean wireless carrier, took advantage of the festive opportunity and offered a live, 11-minute broadcast of the country’s largest celebration in Seoul. High-definition footage on an entertainment channel XtvN showed the New Year’s countdown ceremony, the bell-ringing event and interviews.


“With today’s successful live TV broadcasting over commercial 5G network, SK Telecom ushers in a new era of 5G-based media services,” said Choi Nak-hoon, Senior Vice President and Head of 5GX IoT/Data Group of SK Telecom. “In this new era, individual creators will be able to provide high-quality live broadcast anytime, anywhere, via 5G smartphones.”


SK Telecom commercialised its 5G network in December 2018, accompanied by a ‘T Live Caster’ app. The solution was developed over a period of four years, and designed for live broadcasting of videos taken by smartphones via the 5G and LTE networks. The video of the Bosingak festive event was transmitted through 5G base stations and XtvN’s transmission system to reach cable and IPTV viewers. In spite of the supposedly extremely congested data environment, the video was transferred at a latency of less than one second, which is comparable to that of the existing wired broadcasting system.


Moreover, the carrier revealed plans to upgrade the ‘T Live Caster’ app to 4K UHD quality and expand the network’s streaming to reach personal broadcasting platforms by the end of 2019. SK Telecom has also entered into a partnership with the drone manufacturer DJI, cementing a joint initiative to stream drone-captured video footage over its 5G network. This agreement will enable both phone and drone users to instantly broadcast their video content.


President and CEO of SK Telecom, Park Jung-ho, said, “5G opens doors to infinite possibilities beyond our imaginations. As the ICT leader that has spearheaded the advancement of mobile communications from CDMA to LTE, SK Telecom will once again create a new future with the best 5G network.”

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