The Truck is driving across Japan as part of Docomo’s 5G awareness campaign and has a live 5G base station at the top. The truck we went into didn’t use a live connection, perhaps because the trade show location doesn’t have 5G coverage yet. To reproduce the normal experience, Docomo used pre-recorded videos from previous sessions.
We’ve been assured that the video quality is the same, which seems consistent with other 5G video-streaming demos we’ve seen around the world.
Inside, The video setup consists of four Sony short-throw projectors for a completely immersive experience with the image covering three walls. At that size, it is evident that any pixelization is going to be much more noticeable than on a TV, which the whole point of the demo (see split screen below).
The recording of the 4K live stream from Taiwan to Tokyo looks impeccable and is a great demo for consumers. The Japan market is particularly attentive to image sharpness, and it’s not surprising that the country was first to adopt 1080p, 4K, and now 8K which has started to broadcast with NHK.
Technologically speaking, this kind of performance isn’t surprising from 5G. If anything, we should start seeing 8K video streaming demos very soon. Carriers worldwide are ramping up efforts to promote the technology ahead of their commercial launches. In the USA, 5G will launch in 2019, but in Japan, it will happen in 2020 because everything is tied to the upcoming Olympics.
Peak bandwidth is often the easiest 5G feature for consumers to understand, but in reality, 5G will dramatically increase the average speed and decrease the latency. Lower latency is probably one of the biggest contributors to “perceived performance” because each data request can be slowed down considerably by the connection time, and not the actual data-download duration.