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Sony Demonstrates a Live 4K Video Over IP Production System

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Live production is the largest missing piece of the SDI-to-IP jigsaw, but Sony has pieced together an end-to-end IP system for transmitting live 4K video, which it's demonstrating at IBC.

“The future is that any product will have a network connection allowing the audio, video, and metadata to be sent straight into a standard IP router and back to a studio facility for remote operation,” said Olivier Bovis, head of AV media at Sony Professional Europe.

The demonstration consists of a 4K 50p live stream from the Luxembourg headquarters of service provider Broadcasting Center Europe, routed over 700km of fiber to the RAI with a two-frame delay. The signal is taken out of an F55 camera into a SDI-IP converter board and piped to Level 3's content delivery network. Signal quality is managed by a software layer called IP Live System Manager.

“IP gives a fundamental infrastructure cost benefit,” Bovis said. “An IP router is a tenth the cost of SDI, and the cost of cabling is next to nothing in comparison. IP also offers incredibly flexibility in production.”

While the conversion board will be needed to transition legacy equipment to IP, Sony is developing a Networked Media Interface for its products and those of third parties under license.

Sony products outfitted with the interface are due around the second quarter of 2015. Ten companies have signed to support the effort to create compatible chipsets and modules including Cisco, Evertz, Juniper Networks, Imagine, Vizrt, Matrox, Altera Corporation, Macnica Americas, and Xilinx.

As part of this interface Sony is developing its own compression technology to support 4K 60p transmission over 10GBps Ethernet. The creation of a SMPTE Registered Disclosure Document for this codec technology is currently in process.

The first commercial applications are therefore not likely before the end of 2015.

“In terms of large scale SDI equivalent routing systems for 4K live there is nothing yet that allows you to connect the studio with a single BNC cable,” Bovis explained. “Secondly, you need an agreement on standards by everybody.”

Sony has adopted SMPTE ST 2022-6 and ST 2022-7, a technology which transports uncompressed HD-SDI over an IP network, and it is contributing to the standardization of Precision Time protocol SMPTE 2059.

Sony's solution supports direct connection of numerous types of production devices onto the IP network via an existing Layer-3 IP switch infrastructure. Furthermore, it enables simultaneous transmission to multiple points and real time noise-free source switching, handling SD, HD and 4K video resolutions together. 

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