Verizon Wireless Shows Off LTE Broadcast Video

by Istvan Fekete on February 3, 2014

Aimed at amazing Verizon mobile subscribers, the carrier is teasing/testing its cellular video service, which is dubbed as multicast, and broadcast the Super Bowl over its network on Sunday.

The only catch is the trial is limited to a single room inside Verizon’s Power House, a temporary installation located in Manhattan’s Bryant Par. Although this is an extremely small-scale test, it gives users a glimpse into the kind of service Verizon wants to roll out by the end of this year, making it an additional (potential) revenue stream.

CNET reporter Roger Cheng had the chance to test the service, and their first impressions were good: pretty good video quality. In the Multicast LTE-room, they had a handful of Samsung Galaxy Note 3 units tethered to a flat-screen television, getting feeds from the NFL Network.

Multicast LTE, as its name implies, is a service that rides over the LTE network, pushing out the same video feed to multiple devices, rather than a single phone or tablet. Because its a single, one-way broadcast feed, it is far more efficient than the current method of delivering video, which is sent to a single person based on their request. Because people aren’t constantly pinging the network for different streams of video, Verizon could see some of the congested lifted on its network. Because it is a single feed, there is higher picture quality, lower latency, and no buffering when the video is loaded up.

As Parissa Pandkhou, director of mobile video delivery for the red carrier, highlighted, she expects the work on the network upgrades to conclude by the end of the third quarter, but she was cautious enough not to mention any rollout deadline.

Besides the vague rollout deadline, Multicast LTE also faces several technical hurdles. The main issue could be that not every phone is compatible with the service, most notably the iPhone. Pandkhou said that multicast uses a standards-based technology that would allow all vendors to incorporate software compatible with the service, and the carrier is in talks with every smartphone manufacturer, including the iPhone maker.

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Written by: Istvan Fekete. Follow by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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