MWC 2017: SK Telecom to unveil 360-degree live broadcast platform

SK Telecom will launch its 360-degree live broadcast platform at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2017 – as part of its strategy to generate more revenue from 5G mobile.

360 VR Live broadcast system enables users to produce and live-stream ultra-high-definition (UHD) 360-degree virtual reality (VR) video with low latency using a 360-degree camera.

SK Telecom plans to commercialize 360 VR Live initially in the enterprise market for broadcasting companies and social networking sites. The company will open its application programming interface (API) to build a new media ecosystem. With the API, individuals and small content developers will be able to create and offer 360 VR Live services.

“Immersive live VR broadcasting will become widespread in the 5G era. SK Telecom will focus on building a new media ecosystem by joining hands with diverse partners,” said Park Jin-hyo, head of Network Technology R&D Center of SK Telecom.

Tech behind 360 VR Live broadcast system

SK Telecom said the broadcast platform produces UHD VR content through its differentiated stitching technology.

For creating 360-degree visuals, it is important to seamlessly stitch multiple videos or images taken by the 360 camera. Based on multi-band blending algorithm, the platform stitches images in multi layers to produce a seamless 360 VR content without any distortion. In terms of frame rate, it supports 60 frames per second (FPS), which is translated into two times higher image quality than that of its competitors.

360 Live VR has reduced the bandwidth required for transmitting 360 video data. Live streaming of 360 VR video requires up to six times greater bandwidth than traditional broadcasting. With the platform, the size of the 360 VR video file is reduced by 35 percent, while not compromising the image quality due to dynamic tiling.

Applied with T Live Streaming, a real-time streaming technology developed by SK Telecom, 360 VR Live creates a better environment for live broadcasting of 360-degree VR video by reducing latency from over 20 seconds to less than five seconds.

SK Telecom said it developed T Live Streaming in May 2016 by customizing MPEG Media Transport (MMT), a standard developed by the Moving Picture Expert Group (MPEG), to the mobile network environment.

SK Telecom said 360 VR Live creates an immersive experience by providing realistic 3D audio: Based on binaural rendering technology, 3D audio recognizes, in real time, the user’s accurate location including the direction of his/her eyes and provides sounds consistent with the user’s location.