Sony Demos Live Sports Broadcast Over Verizon 5G Network

Mike Wheatley

Sony has teamed up with Verizon and NBC Sports to successfully demonstrate the benefits of 5G in live sports broadcasts.


The proof of concept demonstration took place during the NFL match between the Houston Texans and the New England Patriots on December 1. An NBC cameraman used a Sony PXW-Z450 shoulder camcorder to capture footage of the game, which was then streamed via a prototype Sony transmitter box and an Xperia 5G mmWave device over Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband network to a production room located in the stadium.

According to Sony, the demonstration proves that 5G-connected cameras are a viable option for future live sport broadcasts that offer several benefits. The company said it allowed for high-quality video to be transmitted in near real time to producers, and highlights the potential for remote production teams to be located anywhere, regardless of where the sport event takes place. Moreover, the instant wireless connectivity afforded by 5G allows cameras to be untethered, which opens up the possibility of “more creative camera positions and angles”. It also reduces set-up times and the costs to integrate camera systems, Sony said.

Experts say 5G is expected to have numerous benefits when it comes to live sports broadcasts, and could lead to a paradigm shift in how people view, share and interact with such content.

The main reason is that 5G is far faster than existing 4G networks. On the high end, 5G can be up to 20-times faster than 4G, with data transfer speeds of up to 20 gigabits per second for mobile users. And even on the low end, 5G should be able to provide speeds of 100Mbps at a minimum, which is around five times faster than the average home connection.

Faster connectivity means improved stability when it comes to portable data streaming, especially when it comes to high-quality video and audio that requires huge amounts of data.

5G also provides lower latency, which would hopefully mean no more listening to your neighbor screaming in celebration of a goal, before you actually get to see it on your screen.

5G is also expected to enable more superior virtual reality and augmented reality experiences than are currently possible.

“We are extremely pleased to have completed a successful 5G collaboration with Verizon,” said Mikio Kita, Senior General Manager of Media Solution Business Division, Professional Products & Solutions Group, Sony Imaging Products & Solutions. “Sony is uniquely positioned to offer an end-to-end solution for professional content creation and mobile communication technology, and our joint achievement on this proof of concept of live sports production will pave the way for wider 5G applications.”

David Mazza, chief technology officer at NBC Sports Group, said he was excited to see Sony’s 5G products come to life, adding that the picture quality was “excellent”.

“We look forward to the day when we can deploy a wireless camera this easily as part of the 5G rollouts around the country,” he added.

Sony said it intends to keep working with Verizon to fine tune the system with a view to implementing it for future live broadcasts.