FOX Sports, in cooperation with the Fox Innovation Lab and partners Ericsson, Intel and AT&T, will use 5G technology to stream 4K video over 5G for broadcast nationwide at this year’s 118th U.S. Open Championship on June 14-17 (FOX/FS1).
The 5G wireless technology will transmit 4K HDR images from two FOX Sports cameras positioned on the challenging par-3 seventh hole at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club through the FOX Sports production truck to viewers at home. The offering is part of the “Featured Holes” enhancement, available on USGA.com, DirecTV and the FOX Sports App. In the future, 5G could possibly be used to deliver real-time virtual reality views from the course to viewers.
Deployed for the first time at broad scale earlier this year by Intel and partners at the Winter Games in PyeongChang, 5G technology has the potential to provide disruptive abilities, to broadcasters and consumers alike. The new wireless technology will eventually enable multi-gigabit speeds with ultra-low latency. Far beyond another “G” in wireless generations of 3G and 4G, 5G represents a revolution in how sport and media are distributed and consumed. It provides entirely new ways for users to engage with an event.
“It’s part of our FOX Sports DNA to aggressively explore evolving technologies as part of our live sports production,” said Michael Davies, FOX Sports SVP Field & Technical Operations. “This is exactly the kind of effort we consistently put into the leading edge of today’s technology, in preparation for what will become the industry standards of the future.”
The groundbreaking trial will be the first broadcast enabled using 5G technology from a premier U.S. golf event. It allows FOX Sports to take advantage of a true 5G live test environment for 4K image and streaming U.S. Open video to multiple platforms. This will showcase a powerful use case for reducing live production costs, while enabling ultra-high-definition broadcasting to scale.
Ericsson is providing the 5G radios, baseband, simulated network core, and 4K video encoder and decoder.
“As we prepare for the launch of 5G networks, it is essential for us to test real-world business cases, such as for wireless streaming of 4K video at sporting events,” says Niklas Heuveldop, Head of Market Area North America, Ericsson. “In collaboration with our partners, Ericsson is proud to demonstrate this type of innovative entertainment solution, utilizing both our networks and media technologies. This is just one eye-opening example of the increased relevance high performance wireless networks will have for delivering a superior consumer experience.”
Intel is providing the Intel 5G® Mobile Trial Platform, a compact device that acts as a wireless communication device capable of transmitting 1.6Gbs/s, which will be placed in a cart at the seventh hole to deliver the 5G to IP translation.
“Building from our innovation at the Winter Games where we had 22 live 5G links, supporting 3,800 terabytes of network capacity, we are again enabling 5G in a real-world environment at another sporting event. Intel, along with partners AT&T, Ericsson and FOX Sports, is showcasing live 5G connectivity at the U.S. Open,” said Asha Keddy, VP and GM of Next Generation and Standards, Intel. “Our learnings from this collaboration will fuel a solid 5G user experience while the industry drives towards development of 5G devices and network build-outs.”
AT&T will use millimeter wave spectrum to deliver the 5G connection. AT&T also plans to be the first U.S. carrier to launch standards-based, mobile 5G services to customers in a dozen cities, including parts of Dallas, Atlanta and Waco, later this year.
“5G ultimately promises to transform the video experience and enabling this live 4K broadcast is a great early example,” said Melissa Arnoldi, President, AT&T Technology & Operations. “The high-speed and low-latency delivered by this trial allows the cameras to move without being restricted by cables and create a unique filming environment. We believe live sports will eventually be transformed by 5G – whether it’s virtual and augmented realities for those watching from afar or how connected sensors could help analyze golf swings, wind conditions, even the speed of greens for the golfer in future U.S. Opens.”
The Fox Innovation Lab is supporting the Intel and Ericsson 5G Innovators Initiative (5GI2) in its mission to drive the future of next-generation entertainment.
“The Fox Innovation Lab was started four years ago for exactly this type of initiative – to test emerging technologies and bring them to life in real-world applications by working across 21st Century Fox and in partnership with leading technology companies,” said Danny Kaye, executive vice president and managing director, Fox Innovation Lab. “We are excited about the potential of 5G to transform the way we capture and deliver premium content to audiences.”