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At Indy 500, Verizon races to offer premium video content on mobile devices

Matt Hamblen | May 23, 2014
During this Sunday's Indy 500, Verizon Wireless, Ericsson and other tech companies will be focused less on the drivers and more on a racetrack demonstration of new wireless technology called LTE Multicast that would used for transmitting video to smartphones and tablets.

With the multicast concept, Verizon can significantly reduce the load on its network and keep video performance high, Gold noted.

With LTE Multicast, a specific channel of wireless spectrum is assigned to carry content, increasing efficiency. "It's spectrally efficient, so everyone has a great wireless experience," said Verizon spokeswoman Debra Lewis.

Ericsson's technology used in the Indy 500 demonstration is called LTE Broadcast. The company claims to be the only network equipment vendor that offers a comprehensive approach, although Cisco, Alcatel-Lucent and others are contenders.

Ericsson uses a combination of three new standards: Evolved Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Service (eMBMS), used to put broadcast/multicast on mobile networks; High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC), a new compression standard that cuts in half the bandwidth required to transport video content when compared to MPEG-4; and MPEG Dynamic Adaptive Streaming over HTTP (MPEG DASH), which simplifies and standardizes the way video is delivered to consumer devices.

Ericsson described its technology as a way for wireless carriers "to charge premium rates for premium content ... without fear of congestion or failure to deliver."

Ericsson also claims its LTE Broadcast technology can be used to enable delivery of content to a "virtually unlimited number of users simultaneously."

In an earlier use of LTE Multicast in February for the SuperBowl, Verizon relied on technology from Alcatel-Lucent rather than Ericsson.

It isn't clear how much customization of smartphones and tablets will be needed for Verizon to expand its LTE Multicast capability into future uses. At Sunday's Indy 500, Verizon said special Samsung Galaxy Note 3 smartphones with Multicast-ready chipsets, middleware and multimedia services from Qualcomm, will be used to view the video.

Also, demonstration tablets from Sequans, equipped with Expway middleware, will be used. Application development and delivery across multiple other devices will come from MobiTV.


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