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Imagine watching sports in 8K, with almost no delay from the on-ground action. With 5G around the corner, it is going to be a reality very soon.

The 5G game is on How Indias sports viewing experience will be revolutionised
Monday, March 15, 2021 - 22:27

One of the most exciting ways in which 5G mobile technology is changing the world is the possibility of streaming live events in high-definition quality. With the Olympics coming up in Japan later this year and the FIFA World Cup in Qatar in 2022, 8K imaging is poised to enter the mainstream fray. We hope we'll have 5G in India before the World Cup starts so we can enjoy it in all its glory. In fact, in January 2021, Airtel demonstrated LIVE 5G service over a commercial network in Hyderabad - the first telco in the country to do so. The testing was done over the company's existing spectrum (1800 MHz band) through NSA (Non Stand Alone) technology. Successfully operating 5G and 4G simultaneously within the same dynamic spectrum block made a few things clear. First, Airtel 5G can deliver 10x speeds, 10x improvement in latency, and 100x concurrency compared to current technologies. Secondly, it highlighted the company's technological capabilities and its network's 5G readiness across domains, from Radio to Core to Transport.

But coming back to sports, be it watching a game from home or at the stadium, what sports fans really want is to be as close to the action as possible – they want a life-like experience. 5G is making this possible by delivering 8K to our screens. Not only is 8K quality streaming so good that it can be mistaken for the real thing, but one can also choose their own camera angles or display multiple angles simultaneously while watching the game. This would be possible because 5G can deliver vast amounts of data.

Simply put, with its ultra-high speed and data transmission capacity, 5G is a game-changer for sports viewing. But how exactly will it impact the sports viewing experience? Let's have a look.

Thrill of the stadium in your room, thanks to VR

Enabled by 5G, VR brings a whole new experience for the sports fan. The National Basketball Association in the US wants international fans, many of who may have never stepped foot on the court, to be able to watch the game from anywhere in the world, using VR. This could be even better than flying and attending a game in person. One can only imagine what this could mean for India, for a sport like cricket. You will be able to see Virat Kohli knocking the ball out of the stadium from your living room, right next to you. That’s how real it can get.

5G also offers support for multiple streams. This enables the viewer to pause a goal or a wicket and watch it from any one of the multiple angles available. So, you will be your own third umpire. 5G-enabled cameras on the field also eliminate the need to use cables to transmit information, and hence the camera crew can capture a wider area of the field. You will be able to see super-wide shots of the field during games, giving you a better idea of what’s happening in the entire field.

5G also brings with it low latency and high concurrency. Low latency ensures that the delay between your screen and the actual game is next to nothing. High concurrency means more people can get the same superlative experience at a particular location. This means that even if you are in a crowded metro station or a mall, you can get the same experience as being at a place with not too many people around.

AR magic at the stadium and more

We know what you are thinking – why go to the stadium at all when you can have a great experience at home, right?

Nope, because even your stadium experience is about to change with 5G.

5G isn’t just about lightning-fast speeds; it is also about all the new technologies promised with it. FIFA created AR selfie filters so that fans can take photos side-by-side with their favourite stars. The Sacramento Kings, a basketball team in the US, built an AR-designed stadium and streamed games in VR. This made the stadium experiences even more fun than it was before. You will be able to do the same at the cricket or football games in India. 5G also gets us faster and more reliable streaming and in-stadium connectivity. Even with tens of thousands of people at the stadium, your network won't be affected.

India is on the brink of enabling 5G services, and Airtel is already preparing for this future. Armed and ready to deploy 5G to its customers, the company is only waiting for government approvals and the opening up of the 5G spectrum in India. Once rolled out, there's no doubt that 5G will raise the bar, and the possibilities are endless.

This article was created in association with Airtel.