Sinclair, SK Telecom launch cloud broadcasting joint venture

(From left) Lucy Rutishauser, CFO of Sinclair; Kevin Gage, COO of Cast.era; Lee Jong-min, VP and Head of Tech Innovation Group of SK Telecom and Kim Jin-joong; and VP and Head of Value Growth Group of SK Telecom. (SK Telecom/Sinclair)(Sinclair SK Telecom)

SK Telecom and Sinclair Broadcast Group launched Cast.era, a U.S.-based joint venture focused on cloud infrastructure for broadcasting, ultra-low latency OTT broadcasting and targeted advertising.

Kevin Gage, formerly executive vice president of strategic development and chief technology officer of Sinclair’s ONE Media subsidiary, has been appointed Cast.era’s chief operating officer. Park Kyung-mo from SK Telecom has been appointed Cast.era’s chief technology officer.

Cast.era plans to provide both fixed and mobile network ATSC 3.0 broadcast solutions to Sinclair stations deploying the new standard beginning in 2020. SK Telecom and Sinclair are expecting synergies by combining SK Telecom’s telecommunication technologies and Sinclair’s broadcasting infrastructure.

The company will work on building a cloud infrastructure for ATSC 3.0 broadcasting using SK Telecom’s cloud technologies, including mobile edge computing, cloud structure management technology named ‘SKT All Container Orchestrator’ and virtual network solution named ‘Simply Overlay Network Architecture’ to Sinclair’s broadcasting systems. SK Telecom’s cloud infrastructure will permit virtualized and automated merging of both Internet and broadcast platforms using centralized services. Based on MEC technologies, Cast.era plans to introduce new media services applied with augmented reality.

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Cast.era will also focus on introducing ultra-low latency OTT broadcasting services based on SK Telecom’s mobile MPEG Media Transport (MMT) technologies that enable transmission of high-definition video in a mobile environment including travelling in vehicles.

SK Telecom and Sinclair agreed to work together for further advancement of broadcasting services based on 5G and ATSC 3.0. They plan to establish a 5G-ATSC 3.0 testbed in Jeju Technopark in Korea and apply 5G-ATSC 3.0 solutions to Sinclair’s television station (WJLA) located in Washington, D.C. The companies will also work together on standardization of technologies at international standardization bodies including ATSC, 3GPP and MPEG.

“We are confident that Cast.era will lead the ATSC 3.0 market in the U.S,” said Lee Jong-min, vice president and head of tech innovation group of SK Telecom, in a statement. “We expect to deliver a new experience to U.S. TV viewers through ATSC 3.0-based broadcasting services that combine the strengths of mobile and broadcasting networks.”  

“The combination of two of the world’s leading telecom companies with independent and complementary visions of convergence marks Cast.era as a formidable new player in maximizing the strengths of both, using the remarkable capabilities of the new broadcast standard,” said Del Parks, chief technology officer of Sinclair, in a statement. “With our partners in Cast.era, we look forward to remaining at the forefront of platform and service innovation.”