Sony demonstrates first ever 4K-ready, IP-networked live production switcher at NAB 2015

In the 14 of April 2015, at NAB 2015, the Sony technology demonstration showcased an advanced 4K live over IP solution for live broadcasting. This solution is centred around the world’s first 4K ready, IP networked live production switcher. The exhibit will also present mock-ups of a baseband processor and a live server currently-in-development that will be necessary for achieving complete live-production solutions.

As 4K broadcasting becomes a reality, the broadcast industry is faced with the challenge of building adequate infrastructure for 4K productions. Conventional SDI (Serial Digital Interface) implementations can be prohibitive, as the necessary cabling and routing hardware is more than quadruple the requirements for HD—meaning the resulting setups are considerably more costly, heavy and space-consuming.

Sony has responded to this issue by developing an IP Live Production System. Its key technology Networked Media Interface allows all devices to be connected, and all signal types transmitted, via a single Ethernet cable.

To achieve interoperability and compatibility, Sony discloses technical information under license and provides developmental support with leading companies in the industry, who support IP Live Production Systems. As of April 2015, 30 manufacturers support IP Live Production System.

”When it comes to IP based live production, Sony has been leading the way for the last 18 months,” says Vivian Saldanha, Business Head, Content Creation Sales and Market Development, Sony Professional Solutions MEA. “The different devices that we are demonstrating for the first time here are the fruits of working to develop end-to-end IP solutions that are built in collaboration with supporting manufacturers in the industry but also deliver on producers’ expectations for today and tomorrow. In the same way IP is today pivotal in all other areas of broadcast production, we are committed to making this technology the new standard for live production across the world.”

World First 4K ready, IP Networked Live Production Switcher
The new 4K live switcher, which is still under development, allows users to select which type of terminal—IP or SDI—to place into each of the unit’s I/O slots. This flexibility will allow broadcasters to configure their equipment for IP only, SDI only, or IP and SDI hybrid. It will also allow broadcasters to continue using their existing SDI assets while gradually migrating to IP.

Sony is also investigating the incorporation of a variety of additional functions into the switcher to further facilitate live production—including I/O-signal format converters and a clip storage feature that can store large number of stills and video clips in the on-board memory.

Technology demonstration at NAB 2015: Various devices connect over IP network
A single 40 GbE fiber-optic Ethernet cable transmits multiple 4K and HD video streams from camera area at Sony booth. Video streams transmitted by cameras are converted from SDI to IP by an NXL-FR318, Signal Processing Unit—equipped with an NXLK-IP40T, SDI-IP Converter Board. 4K live switcher does IP and SDI hybrid switching. The system includes a hitless failover feature that ensures signal interruption is avoided in the event of IP switch failure.

PWS-100NM1 IP Live System Manager Station operates these devices. Sony’s unique algorithm and QoS provide secure stable 4K transmissions by selecting optimal network bandwidths. The demonstration shows advanced workflow for 4K over IP live with the ability to incorporate compatible devices from supporting manufacturers.

Furthermore, Sony and Evertz collaborative demonstration will showcase in each other’s NAB booths, Evertz #N1502 and Sony #C11001. These demonstrations will include Sony IP Live Production System, using Sony Networked Media Interface, and the Evertz Software Defined Video Network (SDVN) solution.

The NXL-FR318 Signal Processing Unit, the NXLK-IP40T SDI-IP Converter Board and PWS-100NM1 IP Live System Manager Station will be available in autumn, 2015. The 4K ready, IP networked switcher is expected to reach the market toward the end of 2015.


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