5G networks have the characteristics of high speed, large capacity, low latency and low energy consumption, which will lead to great changes in all industries of the society, especially the video industry.
As a mature 5G application scenario, video will embrace more promising prospects in the future. With 5G networks, high-quality video content such as UHD, 4K, 8K, and 120-frame videos will become popular for consumers, and VR, AR, interactive video, and AI-based video content will be their next hot videos. Paid video content will also change in intelligent distribution mode such as advertising, and the use of big data and AI can make video content target the right audience, which will improve video revenues.
5G Video Features
More Video Applications
As 5G is widely adopted, there will be more video applications such as 4K/8K videos, VR immersive experience, AR, ultra-low latency live broadcast, high-speed mobile video communication, mobile communication in a crowded environment, as well as multimedia and IoV. In the 5G era, UHD video and ultra-high speed will greatly meet people’s daily video viewing needs.
More Content Generated at Network Edge
More video content will be generated at the network edge, completely changing the traditional 4G architecture where content is generated and distributed from the center to the edge. Live TV, live press conference, live broadcast and other user-generated content (UGC) are all typical scenarios in which the content is produced at the edge.
Fast Collection of Multi-Channel Video News Materials
5G networks enable faster collection of multi-channel video news materials for scenarios such as live streaming from smartphones and interactive video connection.
Gradually Enriched Multi-Form Content
Mature 5G networks will allow various terminal users to easily experience UHD services and gradually enrich UHD content in various forms, thereby enabling users to pose higher requirements on HD video services.
5G networks provide more development opportunities for the video industry. Continuous technical explorations have been made in the fields of high-quality video experience (4K, 8K, and VR), diverse video services (long videos such as movies and TV series, social videos, and live webcast), content security (storage, transmission, and copyright), video user profile and operation, and CDN (MEC-CDN, P2P-CDN, VCDN, and MESH-CDN). Cutting-edge technologies such as cloud VR, virtual set-top box (vSTB), MEC CDN, and automatic multicast tunneling (AMT) are also constantly being explored and innovated.
There is still a long way to go from video technology to video service. Beside the video technology itself, the service platform also needs to be built. Video attaches great importance to a complete end-to-end procedure. During the live broadcast of a sporting event, videos captured by on-site cameras are transmitted through the network, stored and transcoded in the cloud, then transferred to the platform layer for content delivery and media resource management, and finally played at the terminals. The CDN-related work involves network resource scheduling, node management, route planning, route node tuning, and even million-level concurrent balancing and P2P content distribution and transmission. Only when a complete chain is formed from capture to terminal playback, the video content can be broadcast smoothly with high quality.
4K UHD content has high market value due to its scarcity. Its production cost is twice that of HD content, and its production cycle is 1.5–2 times that of HD programs. This brings huge challenges to the copyright protection of 4K content, which requires an end-to-end DRM protection solution.
The consumption scenario of 4K UHD content involves content provider (CP), service provider (SP), and content consumption (CC), which belongs to a complex many-to-many scenario. Therefore, 4K copyright content requires an end-to-end digital copyright protection system that takes into consideration the interests of all parties. To meet the requirements of future network copyright protection, the new-generation DRM requires unified content encryption implemented at the front end and unified content encryption pre-deployment supported at the terminal side.
At present, the average 4K content bitrate of internet videos is about 18 Mbps, which basically follows the lowest standard of 4K content production. Actually, the bitrate for standard 4K content production is 36 Mbps. After 4K content prevails, internet video traffic will be 4–6 times that of existing traffic. As 8K content enters the market, the traffic of VR content (3 times as much as common videos) will increase considerably with service exploration. Due to the huge cost of stacking hardware to meet service needs and the non-linear growth of construction increment and growth rate, a new CDN device is needed that provides high throughput, low power consumption and large storage. Now the high-performance device with a throughput of 90G has entered the market, and the concurrent throughput of a single commercial CDN device is expected to exceed 200G in 2020.
Smart CDN Delivery
Smart distribution and scheduling are implemented based on big data (video quality and hot content distribution). Big data can be fully used to mine edge nodes to implement log access, apply the best indicators of AI algorithm, and realize accurate scheduling of CDN transmission based on quality dimensions such as service success rate and back-to-source rate.
5G Video Innovations
According to IDC’s China Quarterly Augmented and Virtual Reality Headset Tracker released in the first quarter of 2019, strong growth was expected to continue in China in 2018 as the shipments for VR headsets climbed to 1.168 million units. IDC forecasts shipments for VR headsets to reach 10.501 million units and shipments for AR headsets to reach 8.214 million units in China in 2023.
The existing VR will coexist for a long time with 5G VR. Existing VR users, especially professional ones, need local rendering and control, which poses higher requirements on VR devices but delivers an ordinary user experience. However, in the 5G Cloud VR mode, the data is transmitted to the cloud through a 5G network, and then the processed data is sent to a VR headset. In this process, the VR headset becomes a terminal that receives and sends signals and displays content. It only needs little edge computing capability to drive the operation of the entire system. With less power consumed as a result of lower requirement for chip performance, the VR headset will have a better battery life. Moreover, the 5G network has a more powerful geo-location ability, which also improves VR user experience to a certain extent.
5G Live TV
UHD videos and VR live broadcast of sporting events impose higher requirements on network bandwidth and latency. MEC can move video sources and relevant IT apps down to the vicinity of the stadium to create a network environment with high performance and low latency. Using MEC and low-latency encoding technologies, the end-to-end latency of live broadcast can be reduced to less than one second, which greatly improves the spectators’ experience of watching the event.
By using AI and other application capabilities deployed on the MEC cloud platform, videos can be analyzed and processed to offer value-added services such as scene capture and action recognition. In a traditional large sporting event, on-site spectators cannot see the details of the game due to the restrictions of viewing distance and seat position. However, with the 5G Live TV solution, spectators can use their smartphones to make the cameras lock on a certain player or a specific angle, zoom in or out views on the screen to see the details, and can also rotate views 360 degrees to enjoy a personalized game-watching experience.
The application and popularity of 5G technologies will promote rapid development of the short video industry. 5G technologies will bring a new visual, full HD, and ultra smooth viewing experience. Videos will have more saturated, bright and natural colors. Moreover, with the help of multi-screen display, multi-scene, multi-space adaptive rich media technology as well as cool technologies such as AI intelligent editing and full-terminal edge computing, short video is becoming the next-generation immersive media ecosystem.
5G technologies will upgrade short video experience and expand its application scenarios. Download HD and upload bandwidth guarantee all greatly improve the quality of short videos. Besides the basic content, 5G will also penetrate into application scenarios such as video social networking service (SNS) and distance education.
The most extensive applications of AI in short videos are personalized recommendation and targeted advertising, which makes full use of data and value brought by users. With the continuous development, AI has also made achievements in assisting users in content production and smart operation. Smart covers and subtitles, real-time beautifying and reshaping, and even face exchange and action generation all appear in the creation of short videos.
The number of short video users in China reached 249 million in 2019. In the 5G era, the biggest traffic problem in video SNS will be solved. SNS is the most fundamental value in the video era. It is expected to build a user-centered SNS to promote in-depth social interaction and the boom in short video SNS. In the e-commerce field, short video has also shown its product selling capability, highlighting its future business value.
Interactive video refers to a technique used to blend interaction and linear video. As the broadband access speed increases and the multimedia broadcast technologies mature, more and more interactive videos emerge. At the beginning, most of these short videos are advertising videos sponsored by advertisers, using a variety of amazing interactive ways to attract people to click and watch their products and make them more exposed. Now there are all kinds of companies specializing in the design and production of interactive videos. Individuals can also easily create interactive videos on YouTube.
There are three types of interactive videos: customizable, conversational, and exploratory. The exploratory interactive video is relatively new and generally provides few tips or even no tips, allowing users to explore interactive points and ways in the video. This type of videos usually adopts real-life scenes to make viewers feel more immersive. Before a user operates, the video is played in a cyclic manner until the user finds the interactive point.
In China, there are more than 700 million online video users, and the number of consumers who are willing to pay for video services is still growing. As 5G networks are widely deployed, viewers will pose higher requirements on online videos. In the future, more and more breakthroughs and innovations will be achieved for online videos, which involve improving video quality, providing a clearer, faster and more diversified audio-visual enjoyment, and bringing a new experience to users in the fields of 4K, 8K, VR, holography and short video.