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Verizon to stream Super Bowl over LTE Multicast -- for a lucky few

Stephen Lawson | Feb. 3, 2014
Verizon Wireless will fulfill a vision it revealed a year ago by streaming the 2014 Super Bowl live via an LTE broadcast, though it will only reach an invited audience at a Verizon event in New York.

Verizon is committed to the technology and plans to have it enabled throughout the national Verizon LTE network in the third quarter, Lewis said. But because it's a new way of using cellular networks, LTE broadcasting requires building an ecosystem of devices, network capabilities, applications and content partnerships, she said.

Specifically, LTE broadcasting requires software at cell sites, plus chipsets and middleware on devices for picking up the broadcasts, and apps to present the streams, Lewis said. Verizon is also talking with various partners about content that might be delivered by this method.

One piece that's already there, in many cases, is hardware. One device being used in the Bryant Park demonstration is a commercially available Samsung Galaxy Note III tablet based on Qualcomm's Snapdragon 800 chipset and equipped with LTE Multicast middleware supplied by Qualcomm. The Snapdragon 800 has been shipping since last year. Another device was a tablet reference design based on a chipset from LTE chip specialist Sequans Communications, which is also shipping LTE broadcast-capable chipsets commercially.

Verizon rival AT&T also plans to use LTE broadcasting. It will use spectrum acquired from Qualcomm that once was used for Qualcomm's discontinued FLO TV mobile broadcasting service. Last September, AT&T Chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson said the company's LTE broadcast infrastructure would be "mature in scale" within three years.

 

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