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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.

Demonstrating 4k Encoding

To demonstrate 4K encoding, we decided to use the JVC GY-HMQ30 along with our HCoder Quad (with 4-channel H.264 encoder with mux), and a D-Streamer IP/Dig Quad. As a first step, we elected to test the decoding output on a 4-HD input quad LCD monitor. A 4K monitor or display plus a media processor or blender like the Sony MPE 200, AnalogWay Ascender, or Vista Systems Spyder would have presented a non-segmented picture, but none were available at the time of testing.

Our first goal was to encode the 4 HD streams converting the HMQ-30 output 4K via the 4 individual HDMI connectors each carrying a 1080p payload.

We used our HCoder Quad h.264 Encoder with a built-in multiplexer. This is crucial; when implemented in the real world, the 4 sets of packets will travel together. Finally, we used our D-Streamer Quad as the decoder since it can ingest the arriving multiplexed stream and send to 4 different HDMI or HD-SDI outputs after decoding the 4 streams.

The 3 figures below show the setup.

We connected the Quad Encoder to the camera and looked out the output via our 4-output decoder feeding the Quad 1080p monitor.

We took the 4 HDMI 1080p60 (1 per quadrant) from the JVC camera and fed the Quad Encoders 4 inputs. The Quad encoded each input/quadrant to 6.5Mbps H.264 UDP. The four 6.5Mbps streams were then multiplexed (muxed) into a single 30Mbps (null packets included to help with delivery).

Out of the Quad Encoder the muxed IP (quad 1080 videos) went to the decoder Quad Via IP and Internet. The decoder Quad demultiplexed the streams into individual HD-SDI channels that were all in sync. These 4 Channels were displayed on a quad 1080p display. So each quadrant was labeled. We wanted to see any movement from quadrant to quadrant.

We were able to use the camera in live mode and see a panoramic view. But the test was most noticeable from content that was shot earlier in the week from Huntington State Beach. We were able to see the boats going from quadrant to quadrant, and then finally a plane flew in the shot. The plane was carrying a banner. So the plane flew in the bottom of quadrant 4 then flew up through quadrant 2 and out quadrant 1. The focus was being changed from good to bad to show that the content was not canned or staged.