5G Broadcast is the 3GPP concept for media distribution using broadcast technology
5G Broadcast is a wide concept used to refer, in general, to the posibility of delivering media content using a point-to-multipoint approach (multicast or broadcast). However, and in particular, the term 5G Broadcast is currently identified with a recent evolution of eMBMS (evolved Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Service) specified in 3GPP which permits the transmission and reception of linear TV and radio services in a similar way as with any other conventional terrestrial broadcast standard. This is achieved by a series of features such as no need of SIM card or uplink capabilities to receive TV and radio programmes in a smartphone, among others.
The name of 5G Broadcast arises as a simplification of the official name 3GPP has given to the normative work to enable the delivery of terrestrial broadcast services, and this is: LTE-based 5G Terrestrial Broadcast.
The wide concept of 5G Broadcast involves different functionalities and also different standardization stages. 3GPP standards are not static and altough LTE is reaching an end, 5G will still evolve. Currently, "5G Broadcast" is not more than a modification of 4G/LTE and, in this sense, calling it 5G Broadcast is misleading. None of the new technologies available in 5G (5G-NR and 5GS) are yet available for 5G Broadcast. However, marketing interests seem to be more important than technological facts.
5G Broadcast is evolving right now and, therefore, such technology is not yet ready to be extensively commercialized. Even more, 5G (the "real" 5G) may come with a different approach to media distribution strictly based on the latest releases of 5G, integrating only some (probably not all) of the functionalities already present in LTE eMBMS and defining new features so far inexistent in 3GPP standards.
We will try to explain this step by step here.
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5G-Xcast is a 5GPPP Phase II project focused on Broadcast and Multicast Communication Enablers For the Fifth Generation of Wireless Systems. The project will first analyse the requirements for future media, including 4k/8k Ultra-High-Definition Television (UHDTV), HDR (High-Dynamic Range), HFR (High Frame Rates) and wide colour space, objectbased content, Virtual/Augmented/Mixed Reality (VR/AR/MR), 360° visual media and Next Generation Audio, covering both commercial and technical aspects. Then, the project will define the top-level specifications for the transport and application layers needed to address them, along with the system architectures. Common Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) will be developed to enable a seamless access to content and services at any time, any place and from any device. 5G-Xcast will take a resolutely practical approach with comprehensive specifications, proofs of concept prototypes and demonstrations. It will closely work with relevant 5G-PPP phase-2 projects and contribute to 3GPP and other standards developing bodies.
The 5G-Xcast system shall exploit delivery modes for unicast, multicast, broadcast as well as local caching. It will also devise strategies to facilitate the migration of media content and services from legacy systems. In developing media delivery solutions, the project will take account of the wider use ranges of 5G including services to vehicles, public safety and health, and Internet of Things (IoT) to ensure they dovetail together.