Hybrid platform would help “cellularize” free over-the-air broadcast transmission.

BALTIMORE & BENGALURU, INDIA—ONE Media 3.0, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sinclair Broadcast Group, has announced an agreement with Saankhya Labs, an Indian-based developer of wireless systems and cognitive Software Defined Radio (SDR) solutions, to develop networking technology to combine 5G cellular networks with the ATSC 3.0 (aka “Next Gen TV”) broadcast standard.

Mark Aitken

Mark Aitken

The 5G Next Generation Broadcast Offload Platform, which ONE Media 3.0 President Mark Aitken discussed with TV Technology at CES, will enable 4G and 5G wireless operators to offload streamed and live content dynamically on to an over-the-air "one-to-many" broadcast digital terrestrial network such as ATSC 3.0. Under the agreement, Saankhya Labs is developing an end-to-end cooperative network platform including radio nodes and mobile end user devices.

“This platform sits at the center of 5G convergence,” the companies said in their announcement, adding that the hybrid network would constitute numerous “firsts” for the broadcast industry by:

  • "Cellularizing" broadcast architecture to enable indoor reception of DTT with mobile and portable devices
  • Dramatically improving DTT spectrum utilization, providing more bits/higher robustness through spectrum reuse
  • Introducing artificial intelligence (AI)-based analytic engines to provision and directly offload traffic from congested 4G/5G networks
  • Providing content delivery networks (CDN) with significant improvement in the streaming experience by moving OTT traffic to the broadcast platform
  • Enabling hyper-localization of broadcast content (video/audio services, datacasting, advertising, emergency alerts)

Demonstrations of the 5G-related components of this new cooperative network have been exhibited at CES2019, Mobile World Congress Barcelona 2019 and NAB Show 2019. The first phase of product and system development will establish real-world proof-of-concept (PoC) deployments in India and the United States.

"Broadcasters have a critical seat at the 5G table. This work and product development will provide a 'level set' against expectations for broadcast services that are embraced by the 3GPP 5G standard," said Aitken. "These first deployments will elevate understanding of the cooperative role NextGen (ATSC 3.0) broadcast can play to make 5G networks highly efficient Broadcast/Broadband convergent networks. The 'Direct to Mobile' focus of this activity will leverage the one-to-many efficiencies of broadcast in a new topology that can provide high-reliability and large bandwidth solutions and make them available to the competitive marketplace."

"Saankhya is excited to expand its partnership with ONE Media and Sinclair to build an end-to-end solution that transforms the delivery and consumption of both linear and non-linear video,” said Parag Naik, CEO of Saankhya Labs. “Broadcast video networks are essentially 'constant quality' networks compared to the current 'best effort' unicast mobile networks, especially for video delivery. Our Direct-to-Mobile solution provides a new tool combining broadcast and OTT content over a new video distribution platform. We are convinced that OTT content players and mobile network operators will take full advantage of this unique video delivery solution." 

For a comprehensive source of TV Technology’s ATSC 3.0 coverage, see our ATSC3 silo.