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January 10, 2013

Verizon May Bring LTE Users The Super Bowl in 2014

The Super Bowl may well be the biggest occasion on any football fan's calendar, as well as on any advertiser's calendar. But it may well take on a whole new significance for Verizon LTE subscribers starting in 2014, if a plan mentioned during Verizon CEO and chairman Lowell McAdam's (News - Alert) CES keynote comes to pass.

McAdam's keynote at CES 2013 covered a laundry list of telecommunications topics, including healthcare topics like improving data supplies to first responders. But it's hard to talk telecommunications without talking about entertainment, so the keynote quickly trended in that direction. To that end, McAdam brought out the NFL's commissioner, Roger Goodell, to talk about upgrading stadiums and bringing out more interactive viewing features for those watching at home. Good in its own right, but the conversation quickly stepped up a notch when McAdam started talking about the Super Bowl.

McAdam's talk about the Super Bowl brought with it an ambitious idea that will no doubt be welcome for Verizon LTE (News - Alert) subscribers. Specifically, he mentioned the idea of Verizon offering live broadcast TV over 4G LTE, which in turn may mean the Super Bowl could air over the network. McAdam's talk looked to get that started in 2014--it'd take some time to set up such an event--and that may mean a great new experience for football fans on Verizon (News - Alert).

This isn't the first time that Verizon and the Super Bowl have crossed paths; Verizon worked in the streaming of the 2011 Super Bowl with its NFL football app. Streaming, however, is somewhat less stable than live broadcast, so if Verizon can get live broadcast in play, it's going to mean a much better experience overall for Super Bowl fans. Additionally, this is a project that's been in play for some time on a more general level, as several firms--Qualcomm (News - Alert), Ericsson and Samsung among them--all showed off some branch of what's called Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Service (eMBMS) designed to carry out broadcasting over LTE.

Using a service like eMBMS, according to Ericsson, allows operators to get back some of their network capacity by better using the spectrum they already have. This is a good chunk of why Verizon's looking to do something similar itself, providing a set of services geared to easily transition between the various screens in a user's life.

The idea of mobile entertainment is high on a lot of mobile users' lists. Video has been a bit tough to engineer in the past, as it's a bandwidth-intensive operation that takes a lot of time and resources to get out to the user base. But there's no denying that people want video to go with them when they go places; considering the sheer amount of video available for public consumption online, it's clear that there's a market for video. That's where the difficult problem of providing the video that people want within the limits of the network come into play, and where systems like eMBMS can truly shine.

Whether Verizon can meet its rather ambitious goal of a live broadcast of the Super Bowl over LTE in 2014 or not, only time will tell. But if Verizon can pull this one off, it may well be on the forefront of a new kind of technology that will supply users with what they want, video on the go, without breaking the back of the network to provide it.

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO Miami 2013, Jan 29- Feb. 1 in Miami, Florida.  Stay in touch with everything happening at ITEXPO (News - Alert). Follow us on Twitter.

Edited by Brooke Neuman

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