There are many use cases in a content production environments that may incorporate 5G in the workflow over time. The EBU, in collaboration with its Members and the industry, set out to explore what these opportunities are, and its findings have now been published as EBU Tech Report 056 – 5G for Professional Media Production and Contribution.
Early 5G deployments in public mobile networks offer only limited potential for professional content production, mainly in single-camera news or radio contribution.
But complex productions such as large live events require large uplink bandwidth, low latency, tight synchronisation and, often, high mobility. These use cases may be better served by non-public 5G networks that are more capable, robust, and tailored to a specific set of requirements. However, the commercial and regulatory conditions for non-public networks, including access to radio spectrum, are yet to be addressed.
To quote from the report: "5G represents an opportunity and challenges for the content creation industry. 5G offers much in terms of bandwidth, reduced latency, timing and quality of service. It is expected that standardised 5G-based solutions would bring down the costs and increase the flexibility of production. To this end, a number of challenges need to be addressed and these can be broken down into four key areas: standardisation, technology availability, regulation, and business models.
"The success of 5G technology in the media production sector will depend on its ability to fit into existing workflows and satisfy the technical, operational, and commercial requirements in content production, as well as the availability of the equipment."
The EBU, in collaboration with industry partners, has defined the technical and operational requirements that 5G would have to meet in the professional the production environment. These requirements have been submitted to 3GPP – the standards body that develops specifications for the mobile technology – and the normative work is ongoing.
The EBU's latest report on the topic concludes that it will take time for the required 5G features to find their way into the market and available equipment.
The production industry needs to engage with a range of stakeholders, including standards and regulatory bodies, as well as the mobile industry, to make sure that their requirements are adequately taken into consideration. Without this engagement, the mobile industry will not automatically deliver a system that suits the needs of the media industry.
The EBU work continues in the project group on '5G in Content Production'. The group is open to both EBU Members and external participants.