Smooth and clear: The tech evolution behind Chunwan 2019 streaming
By Gong Zhe

Chunwan - the Chinese name for the Spring Festival Gala - is one of the most important TV programs in China.

Every year, when CCTV stages a new show, they employ the latest technology to make it even more appealing to the increasingly tech savvy audience.

As the country's population moves from TV to smartphones, CCTV adopted online streaming to make sure everyone in the country could watch the show on their favorite devices.

In 2018, CCTV broadcast the gala in 4K for the very first time. A 4K video contains more than eight million pixels per frame, which means it shows four times as much detail as the well-known 1080p format.

This year, the TV station moved one step further and utilized 5G to transfer 4K video between the four venues.

The 2019 chunwan is performed in four different cities, namely Beijing, Shenzhen, Changchun and Jinggangshan. Each venue is located hundreds of kilometers away from the others, making it hard to transfer video between them in real time.

The 5th generation of data technology helped solve the problem. CCTV cooperated with mobile carriers and equipment companies like Huawei to implement the country's first 4K video streaming service on 5G.

According to data from Beijing Business Daily, more than half the families in China have 4K TV sets, meaning more people can enjoy chunwan in 4K while people are still watching the Super Bowl in 1080p.

Other new video technologies like 10-bit color depth and high dynamic range (HDR) were also introduced to chunwan last year with the aim of displaying colors more accurately.

Though most smartphones cannot display 4K video, mobile users can still benefit from these new technologies.

CCTV streamed the 2019 chunwan online with a 50fps channel, which contains twice as many frames per second as a standard PAL format video. For an example of this, check the slam dunk gif at the top of the page.