Video feed streamed simultaneously on large number of LTE smartphone or tablet and viewed lag-free on these devices will soon be the norm.
Smart Communications, Inc. demonstrated the capability of LTE technology in video multicast as it conducted the first successful video multicast over LTE connection in the Philippines.
Smart’s successful LTE multicast trial will soon pave the way for enjoyment of lag-free live video feed on LTE-capable smartphones and tablets.
The LTE multicast trial is the first in Southeast Asia and the world’s first over 2.1 GHz frequency, according to Huawei Technologies, which provided network equipment for the trial.
LTE is currently the commercially available 4G wireless broadband coverage for mobile networks, allowing data download speeds of up to 100 mbps in an LTE-capable handset.
The LTE multicast technology employed by Smart in the trial is called the evolved Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Services (eMBMS). It is an the emerging technology that taps the functionality and speed of LTE to deliver rich multimedia content, such as live video, to a large number of consumers efficiently.
The content is transmitted wirelessly by LTE-capable cell stations to mobile devices.
Aside from live content, the eMBMS is also suitable for delivering pre-loaded content like news, music, software, ads and other data to a mass audience.
For its pilot LTE multicast, Smart streamed pre-loaded videos on three channels from its base station in Quezon City to another base station in Makati.
The crisp and clear videos were aired seamlessly on three LTE-capable handsets provided by Huawei, as well as a TV set equipped with a device that converts data received by an LTE SIM.
The successful trial puts Smart’s network at par with industry leaders Verizon in the United States and Telstra in Australia, which have both kicked off trials on their LTE networks.
The eMBMS technology stands out for its one-to-many transmission or multicast feature and presents a viable alternative to one-to-one transmission, or unicast, which entails sending similar content to each user.
For example, during a live streaming of a major event, unicast sends the same video content to each user individually, which affects the network load. In contrast, eMBMS delivers the video content only once to an equal number of users over the high-speed LTE connection.
With the latest compression methods, eMBMS also substantially reduces the bandwidth required to delivering multimedia content. This simplifies the process and reduces the cost of transmitting data.
Since it launched the use of LTE in the Philippines in August 2012, Smart has grown its LTE coverage to over 1,200 sites, across around 180 cities and municipalities. Smart LTE also covers all 17 cities and municipalities that make up Metro Manila.
Aside from LTE, Smart also offers HSPA+ and WiMax as part of its suite of 4G technologies. In total, Smart has about 10,000 4G-capable base stations, which covers 85 percent of the country’s population, or around 78.4 million Filipinos.