World’s First 5G Movie Theatre With Livestreaming Capabilities in the Works
Norwegian cellular carrier Telia is partnering up with Odeon to create what could be the world’s first 5G movie theatre. Instead of using a traditional movie projector, the theatre will reportedly stream all its content using a 5G network. The idea behind the demonstration is to prove that a 5G wireless could be a viable alternative to local storage. It'll be interesting to see how the network holds when there are potentially hundreds of users accessing it at the same time. From what we know about 5G so far, the throughput, in theory, should be able to sustain all that traffic with relative ease.
Maintaining a steady frame rate at 4K while livestreaming is no easy task, but Telia's networks seem to be up for it. The networks could efficiently manage speeds of up to 2.2Gbps which is objectively faster than a lot of wired connections available in the market. Verizon and AT&T are already offering up to 1Gbps home and up to 1.5Gbps mobile 5G solution, and some modems have seen peak speeds of up to 5Gbps. Prima facie, the speeds may seem tad overkill for video streaming, but they open up possibilities for livestreaming AR, VR, and 3D content.
Will 5G theatres render traditional cinema obsolete? Probably not
There are several advantages to a 5G-enabled movie theatre. In some tests conducted by Odeon, the peak response time never went above 7-8 millisecond which could open up possibilities of real-time interaction with live concerts and other events. There is no doubt that a 5G-only theatre will eliminate the need for theatre infrastructure such as films, projectors etc., but the resulting video quality remains to be seen. Telia originally announced the initiative last December. However, both companies took until this year to use 5G in displaying films. An Odeon spokesperson told ZDNet:
We have redundancy via normal lines, so we're not dependent on the 5G network now. But it's been shown that 5G is giving us download rates we normally wouldn't get. We transfer the movies to local servers, so playback happens locally, even though we've tested live streaming, which also works excellently
Even though 5G is one of the hottest tech buzzword floating around the technosphere right now, the technology is far from complete. It may take several months, if not years for it to get deployed fully across all markets.