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4K IP Delivery: Encoding and Streaming 4K

In this article, we'll document a viable 4k encoding workflow assembled for in-house testing, and look at some of the inherent challenges, as well as current products and enabling technologies used to make it work.

4K content over high-speed internet. In this article, we’ll look at what we learned along the way about the challenges of 4k encoding, as well as some of the current products and enabling technologies you can to make it work.

Not that long ago, most of the streaming and video industries considered 1080p was impossible, and now it’s almost mainstream. In a previous life, I was involved in the first 1080p streaming demo at NAB 2007. It’s a long way from demo-able to doable at widely available bandwidths, but even if we all aren’t streaming everything in 1080p these days, most of us have watched and delivered 1080p streams somewhere other than a trade show floor.

4k: More than 4x HD

Now, with the upcoming advancements in Digital Cinema, UltraHD (UHD), and 4K, new challenges have arisen. 4K isn’t created by just multiplying a 1080p30 x 4. It can offer 1080p60fps x 4, which is 8 times as much information as the normal 1080p.

With the generous help of JVC we were able to test 4K using the limited-release GY-HMQ30 camera (below). This camera is still under market testing at this writing and has not been released in the USA.

The HMQ30 has an 8-megapixel 1.25 sensor that outputs 4K at 60fps and 24fps. This camera also offers 4 HDMIs out and quad-split output, which means the 4k stream can be split into 1080p quadrants and recorded onto 4 SD cards via the 4 SD slots in the camera body (below).