As mobile IP-access is becoming the dominant technology for providing wireless services, the demand for more spectrum for this type of access is increasing rapidly. Since IP-access can be used for all types of services, instead of a plethora of dedicated, single-service systems, there is a significant potential to make spectrum use more efficient.

This project analyses the feasibility and potential benefit of replacing the current terrestrial UHF TV broadcasting system with a mobile, cellular data network. In the cellular network, TV content would be provided as one of the services, here referred to as CellTV. The investigation targets typical Swedish rural and urban environments. The projects considers different models for TV viewing patterns and cellular technologies as expected in the year 2020.

Results of the quantitative analysis indicate that CellTV distribution can be beneficial if the TV consumption trend goes towards more specialized programming, more local contents, and more on-demand requests. Mobile cellular systems, with their flexible unicast capabilities, will be an ideal platform to provide these services. However, the results also demonstrate that CellTV is not a spectrum-efficient replacement for terrestrial TV broadcasting with current viewing patterns (i.e. a moderate number of channels with each a high numbers of viewers). In this case, it is doubtful whether the expected spectrum savings can motivate the necessary investments in upgrading cellular sites and developing advanced TV receiver required for the success of CellTV distribution.

The outcome of the project is summarized in the following journal paper:

L. Shi, E. Obregon, K. W. Sung, J. Zander, and J. Bostrom, “CellTV – On the Benefit of TV Distribution over Cellular Networks: A Case Study,” IEEE Transactions on Broadcasting, to appear, 2014.

KTH contact: Ki Won Sung
Funding: PTS

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