UHD Spain tests end-to-end transmission of UHD-HDR and 5G

Monday, October 23rd, 2023 
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UHD Spain performs a pioneering proof-of-concept with UHD-HDR and 5G in Europe

  • The association carries out a test transmission of an end-to-end UHD concert with 5G technology, from image capture to broadcasting.
  • “The aim was to test the entire UHD content capture, production and distribution chain, including production in the cloud and the new 5G Broadcast transmission format,” said Pere Vila, president of UHD Spain.

UHD Spain, the association that promotes Ultra High Definition in Spain, carried out a pioneering test on Thursday 19 October, of UHD-HDR broadcasting and next-generation audio (NGA), using 5G contributions, cloud mixing, multi-media broadcasting including 5G Broadcast, and the use of the public Internet network for signal transport. This is a milestone that paves the way for the future of these technologies and is the culmination of a year’s work in which the association has been committed to 5G.

UHD Spain UHD-HDR and 5G proof-of-concept - reception on a TV

For this purpose, the transmission of a live concert by the singer Israel Fernández, held at the Real Observatorio Astronómico de Madrid with the collaboration of Radio 3, was chosen.

The objective of the test consisted of setting up a UHD workflow with HDR-HLG from the camera to the user’s device, using 5G communications, edge and cloud processing, and all available broadcast media: DTT (DVB-T2), satellite (DVB-S2), Internet (OTT, HbbTV) and the new 5G Broadcast system, simultaneously. The concert could be viewed on TVs, PCs, tablets and mobile devices through the official UHD Spain website.

“This is one of the first cases of a multi-camera contribution of Ultra High Definition content over a 5G network,” says Cellnex’s Xavier Redón, vice president of UHD Spain. “Spain is a country where there is a very big UHD innovation and from Cellnex we are proud to operate the network through which RTVE will become the first broadcaster in the world to broadcast a regular UHD broadcast on DTT.”

The workflow included the proof of concept of remote production, by including mixing and production processing in the cloud and remote controlled cameras (PTZ).

“This proof shows us one more way for live production,” explains Emili Planas, Grup Mediapro and member of the association’s board of directors. “In the not too distant future, the production model we have tested will become standard for covering live events at the highest UHD-HDR quality, using the facilities of 5G and delocalised operations through connected resources.”

The demonstration also included systems for monitoring and supervision of the transmitted signal in terms of radio frequency, protocols and video/audio quality.

This proof of concept is completely innovative and has been a major technological challenge, combining the latest technologies in communication, processing and broadcasting. All this has allowed us to test the benefits, advantages and limitations that can be found by combining the available technologies, so the members of UHD Spain have been able to experiment with different use cases that can be applied in the near future.

During the last edition of the ‘5G Forum 23’ in Seville, Pere Vila, president of UHD Spain, anticipated that this test would be carried out as 5G technology has been a central theme for the association this year.

According to Vila, one of the objectives was “in addition to testing connectivity and production in the Cloud, to check the possibilities of 5G Broadcast and that the signal received by users does not consume data”. An advance that, in addition to its economic impact, is also functional: “Thousands of phones can be connected simultaneously without saturating the network”.

A key role in the development of this broadcast has been played by the member companies of the association, led by SAPEC, which has acted as coordinator and manager of the project and specialist in encoding. In addition, RTVE, Cellnex, Grup Mediapro, Canon and TVU Networks have actively participated in all phases. UHD Spain members Ateme, CCMA, Dolby, Gsertel, Fraunhofer IIS, Rohde & Schwarz, Televés, Vestel, Video-MOS, among others, have also collaborated. The broadcast was made possible thanks to the networks of Axion, Cellnex, Hispasat and Telecom CLM. Other companies such as Acromove, Qualcomm, Spiner and Transparent Edge have also collaborated in this test.

The trial has also been made possible thanks to the support of the Secretary of State for Telecommunications of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation, who has approved the use of the spectrum for the trial.

“The experience of being able to see how a 5G network can be used to make contribution of UHD-HDR signals with enriched audio, upload them to the cloud to make a remote production, process them to be distributed by 5G Broadcast has been amazing, satisfying and during the process has allowed us to learn a lot about these technologies and their combined use. A test like this would not have been possible without the spirit of selfless collaboration and the enormous experience accumulated by the members of UHD Spain,” says Miguel Ángel Cristóbal, coordinator of this project and member of the UHD Spain team.

After the positive experience of broadcasting the World Cup in Qatar in Ultra High Definition, the next step was the combination of UHD and 5G technology, which has been a success thanks to the support of the companies involved in the project with the broad participation of the association’s members.

Links: UHD Spain