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SK Telecom, Sinclair Advance 5G-based UHD Broadcasting

CAST.ERA SK Telecom Sinclair Broadcast Group
(Image credit: CAST.ERA)

 SEOUL—The South Korean mobile carrier SK Telecom is working to develop cloud-based 5G-based convergence broadcasting services that use AI to upres HD content to 4K, UHD content, according to reporting in the Aju Business Daily. The work is being done as part of SKT's CAST.ERA joint venture with the Sinclair Broadcasting Group.

As part of that effort “artificial intelligence technology will be used to restore old low-resolution TV series and movies to high-resolution content,” Aju Business Daily reported. 

Aju reported that “South Korean broadcasters are focusing on establishing a terrestrial ultra-high-definition (UHD) broadcasting network by 2023” and that SKT issued a statement on September 16, 2021 that “it will commercialize next-generation integrated broadcasting services based on 5G Mobile Edge Computing (MEC), artificial intelligence (AI) technology and cloud virtualization technology.”

The project has been in the works for some time. In April 2021 TV Tech reported that CAST.ERA planned to introduce a technology package by year’s end that converges 5G and ATSC 3.0 to broadcast Ultra-HD (UHD) video with little to no latency to NextGen TVs and mobile devices and support personalized ad delivery for each viewer during commercial breaks via OTT.

“We plan to introduce the cloud-based, AI-driven next-generation TV broadcasting solutions into the U.S. market this year,” said CAST.ERA COO Kevin Gage in April. “These solutions will help accelerate U.S. broadcasters’ deployment of next-generation TV broadcasting services into the market.”

The new technologies were trialed at Jeju Technopark in a 5G-ATSC 3.0 testbed and were conducted in collaboration with South Korea’s Ministry of Science and ICT, Korea Communications Commission (KCC), Korea Radio Promotion Association (RAPA), Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI), Jeju Special Self-Governing Province, Korean broadcasters, and select partner companies, the companies said at the time.

In April, CAST.ERA also said that it will provide the broadcast solutions to the United States and Korea, working with Sinclair and other U.S. broadcasters and Korea’s Kai Media, ATBiS, DigiCAP and Hasigancom.

The Aju Business Daily is now reporting that as part of the “commercialization of the next-generation broadcasting services involving KBS, a state broadcaster, SKT will upgrade the resolution of broadcast videos from full high-definition (FHD) to UHD using an AI-based high-definition upscaler solution and create high-quality videos in real-time. An upscaler solution uses AI technology to enhance the quality of the video. Using 5G's ultra-low-latency technology the next-gen broadcasting service will also help over-the-top service operators reduce the delay of about nine seconds when customers watch real-time TV channels through smartphone OTT apps.”