Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on NBC to Go 5G (Exclusive)

Lilly Singh and Terry Crews will host annual extravaganza, TheWrap has learned

The future (of parades) is now. This year, NBC and Verizon’s 360-degree livestream of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will incorporate 5G technology to add hologram and augmented-reality features to the livestream, TheWrap has learned exclusively. Lilly Singh and Terry Crews will host the high-tech annual Turkey Day extravaganza.

The “A Little Late With Lilly Singh” host and “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” star will post up in Central Park, while actors Christian Acosta and Nastassja Bolivar take place at Bryant Park. Ross Mathews will steer the 360 Roving Camera from inside the parade, we’re told.

In-person parade-attendees can visit Verizon’s 5G Portal in Bryant Park, where they can pick up a Samsung Note 10 +5G for a virtual tour of the performances in Herald Square. Using the devices, they’ll be able to control how they view and focus on the balloons, floats and performers.

For viewers watching from home, unique livestream features include holographic appearances by surprise celebrity guests, including “American Ninja Warrior” co-host Akbar Gbaja-Biamila. Virtual balloons will also pop up throughout the livestream, which will animate and transform based on fan feedback from Twitter polls, with fun facts appearing alongside physical parade floats and performers.

For those wondering what exactly 5G is (like we were, before writing this post), the technology is similar to 4G, the mobile network that allows us to make calls, send texts and use the internet on our smartphones. The main difference is that 5G transmits video and data at a much faster rate with higher resolution.

Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband network, and is now live in 15 cities in public spaces like indoor arenas, stadiums and parks.

“Together with NBC and Macy’s, we’re able to demonstrate how the power of Verizon 5G will help to re-imagine one of the biggest cultural moments of the year,” Verizon chief media officer John Nitti said. “We’ve been creating innovative viewing experiences since we launched the first-ever Macy’s Parade 360 livestream three years ago and now our 5G Portal will put viewers at the center of the action and allow them to be part of the Parade like never before.”

Yeah, what John said.

“Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is an institution that continues to bring families together across generations, and with new technologies like 5G, we’re able to introduce audiences of all ages to new ways to catch the action wherever they are,” Mark Marshall, president of advertising sales and partnerships at NBCUniversal said. “We’re thrilled to be partnering with Verizon for the 4th year in a row to give fans on 6th Avenue and at home a fresh perspective on a beloved annual tradition.”

Readers can watch the Verizon 360 Livestream  starting at 8:30 a.m. ET on on YouTube, as well as on Verizon Media, XBox, and NBC.com.

Margeaux Sippell

Margeaux Sippell

TV Reporter • margeaux.sippell@thewrap.com • @margeauxsippell



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