Huawei, EE, BBC and Qualcomm debut 4G broadcast trial that promises the end of buffering on smartphones

Huawei, EE, the BBC and Qualcomm have launched a 4G broadcast trial that could bring uninterrupted and buffer-free high-quality TV streaming to the mobile devices of the future.

The technology, which will be shown off at the BBC R&D Future of Broadcasting Showcase at the Glasgow Science Centre between 24 July and 3 August, uses eMBMS [Evolved Multimedia Broadcast and Multicast Service] to deliver broadcasts to mobile devices.

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At the show, live BBC content will be streamed using eMBMS, the broadcast mode of LTE, on EE’s network using network equipment provided by Huawei and it’s designed to deliver uninterrupted high quality streaming to mobile devices with no buffering.

Qualcomm, meanwhile, is committed to providing Snapdragon processors with broadcast middleware and an associated SDK responsible for application development.

“Using eMBMS to deliver TV over 4G is an incredible demonstration of the capabilities of LTE,” said EE CTO Fotis Karonis. “The quality of the network that we’ve built with Huawei offers an amazing experience for consumers, and an amazing opportunity for broadcasters to more efficiently deliver their most popular content to multiple mobile users.”

To ensure that the trial is as realistic as possible the network will be heavily loaded to replicate a real-world situation and there will be smartphones on the stand that are streaming the same live content over unicast to show the difference between that and the 4G broadcast.

eMBMS has been designed to give mobile operators a cheaper and more efficient means of sending content to a large number of consumers over an existing 4G network. It doesn’t require additional frequency spectrum as it shares the same spectrum as the network itself.