EBU says LTE not a viable alternative to DTT distribution

Thursday, July 31st, 2014
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The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) publishes study on the delivery of broadcast content over LTE networks

A new EBU Technical Report 027 examines the possibility of delivering broadcast content and services over LTE networks. This report presents the outcome of the first-ever jointly conducted study by broadcasters and the mobile industry focusing on the capability of a mobile broadband technology to enable the use cases that are important to broadcasters, for example watching linear TV on a tablet either at home or on the move.

This initial study provides the essential technical information about the capabilities and performance of the LTE eMBMS system with a focus on broadcasters’ requirements, in particular, the possibility to deliver services free-to-air which is very important to EBU Members.

From a technical point of view, the examined use cases could in principle be enabled by LTE eMBMS, noting that further development is required. However, the report recognises that non-technical aspects such as operational scenarios, regulatory conditions, business models, and costs, need to be better understood before any conclusion on the viability of a large scale delivery of broadcast content over LTE can be drawn. These elements have not been studied in depth but will be addressed in the follow-up work of the EBU project group CTN-Mobile.

LTE could be a useful complement to the broadcast distribution platforms. However, it is not realistic to expect that LTE will become a viable alternative to broadcast distribution, including terrestrial TV networks (DTT), in the foreseeable future.

Specific spectrum allocations were not relevant for this study as eMBMS can be implemented in any frequency band used for LTE.

The EBU expects that the findings of this study will be of interest not only to broadcasters and the mobile industry but also to a wider audience, including regulators and policy makers.