5G Broadcast is based on the 3GPP Further evolved Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Service broadcast standard (FeMBMS). It enables the distribution of linear media content via large radio cells with a radius of up to 60 kilometres. A single data stream is broadcast using a high-tower high-power transmitter. All mobile devices within the coverage area of this transmitter can receive the programmes distributed via this data stream. Since the signal is distributed only once to all receiving devices there is no excessive network utilization based on the number of receiving devices per cell and, therefore the quality of the programmes will not be reduced due to many devices.

The transmission standard FeMBMS was developed by 3GPP. 3GPP is an umbrella term for a number of standard development organisations which prepare protocols for mobile telecommunications. 3GPP standards are structured as Releases. FeMBMS was first introduced with Release 14 (Q2/2017) including special features for broadcasters (Enhanced TV (EnTV)). FeMBMS was then further improvements with Release 16 (Q3/2020) were published as “LTE-based terrestrial 5G broadcasting”, also referred to as “5G Broadcast”.

5G Broadcast transmitter and receiver
With 5G Broadcast, a transmitter serves an unlimited number of users. An internet connection is not necessary.

Key broadcaster requirements

3GPP also defines broadcaster requirements to enable the distribution of linear and non-linear media services via 5G Broadcast. These include:

  • Universal access: Geographical availability (e.g. national, regional, local) in accordance with the regulatory requirements.
  • Free-to-air (FTA) access: Users can consume content without having to subscribe to the service provider or network operator.
  • Defined Quality of Service (QoS): The Quality of Service is to be defined by the broadcasting stations themselves through service level agreements, e.g. availability of network transmissions, robustness, uptime, latency and reliability.
  • No gatekeeping: Provision of PSM content for the public without excessively restricting the services offered, e.g. by blocking or filtering content, limiting access to services or the network infrastructure.
  • Scalability: The defined Quality of Service must be independent of audience size for all users.
  • Accessibility: Assistance ensured for people with disabilities (e.g. subtitles, audio descriptions and signing).
  • Emergency situations: Ability to reach audiences in the event of a catastrophe or crisis and in exceptional circumstances.
  • Costs: Nationwide content distribution and universal access should be affordable for PSM (including royalties for content) and consumers alike.

Key functions of 5G Broadcast

An aim of 5G Broadcast is to give broadcasters the opportunity to provide linear television for mobile devices as well as for conventional televisions using a single chipset. The standard also allows the dynamic use of residual capacity (if available) for the transmission of non-linear content. However, the dynamic use of residual capacities would require some changes on the regulatory side and further developments.

With 5G Broadcast it is possible to use the same media formats for media distribution (e.g. HLS, DASH) as for content delivery via the internet (OTT). This enables an easy way for seamless switching between distribution channels (e.g. 5G Broadcast and 5G Broadband) depending on Quality of Service and Quality of Experience parameters and results in the best media experience for the customers at all times. Furthermore, the linear content distributed with 5G Broadcast can easily be personalized by additional content distributed via internet and merged on user mobile devices.

Internet connection not required for operation

Another important key feature of FeMBMS is the reception of content without need of an internet connection. This Free-To-Air feature is important for public broadcasters which want to reach their customers without any restriction. However, adapted chipsets are required in mobile devices which enable the broadcast reception from HTHPs (high-tower high-power) with SDO (standalone downlink only) technology.

News about 5G Broadcast

ORS-CEO Michael Wagenhofer

"Next Generation TV" as an opportunity: Innovative customer services through 5G Broadcast

New transmission technologies such as 5G Broadcast enable TV platforms to provide innovative customer services. At the Austrian Media Days, ORS CEO Michael Wagenhofer highlighted the potential for the changing TV market.

ORS fuels positive development of 5G Broadcast

The continuing development of the 5G Broadcast Ecosystem is moving forward: to promote new use cases for 5G broadcasting, ORS has now released new features for its open source 5G broadcast receiver "OBECA".
5G Broadcast receiver

ORS publishes first release of open source 5G Broadcast receiver

The development of "OBECA", the world's smallest open source 5G Broadcast receiver, constitutes a significant research contribution by the ORS to the further development of the new transmission standard. The first software release of the open source recei
5G Broadcast receiver

ORS develops 5G Broadcast Receiver for TV, Radio and Streaming

5G Broadcast is the future of television. However, as there are not yet any end devices for the new transmission standard, the ORS has developed the world's smallest open source 5G Broadcast receiver as part of the "OBECA" project.
EBU Forecast with Michael Wagenhofer (ORS)

5G Broadcast: Initial findings from the ORS trial in Vienna

For several months, the ORS has been conducting a trial of the new 5G Broadcast transmission standard in Vienna. Michael Wagenhofer (CEO of ORS) presented the initial findings and conclusions at "EBU Forecast 2020".
live presentation of 5G Broadcast

ORS introduces new 5G Broadcast transmission standard

The ongoing test operation of 5G Broadcast was presented at the Austrian Media Days. ORS managing director Michael Wagenhofer discussed with a top-class panel the benefits of the new transmission standard.
Webconference at 5G World

CEO panel: Possibilities and visions of media distribution with 5G

Expert discussion at the 5G World 2020: a CEO panel consisting of Michael Wagenhofer (ORS), Karim Taga (Arthur D. Little), David Lynn (ViacomCBS) and Ronan Dunne (Verizon) discussed the possibilities of media distribution with 5G.
Start of mobile 5G broadcast measurements by ORS in Vienna

5G Broadcast Testbed Vienna: Mobile measurements have been started

In mid-July, the first mobile measurements of the 5G Broadcast trial have started in Vienna with a novel measurement vehicle developed by the ORS. The goal of the trial is to investigate possible transmission capacities under various everyday situations.

5G broadcast trial starts end of March 2020

Michael Wagenhofer (ORS CEO) gives an outlook in the EBU tech-i magazine on the 5G Broadcast trial operation in Vienna starting at the end of March 2020.

VIDEO & e-Booklet: The future of broadcasting in the age of 5G

5G is the future – this is the broad consensus. But what role does broadcasting play when a separate global uniform standard is available with 5G Broadcast?