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4K Live: Just One More Reason to Go IP

Mari Silbey
2/4/2015
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The big lag in 4K TV adoption is largely down to a lack of Ultra High Definition (UHD) content. As the theory goes, if you shoot it (video, that is), they will stream it. But producing 4K/UHD video has its own set of challenges. Among them, it takes an awful lot of bandwidth and money to transport live 4K TV from a video camera to a viewer's display screen. (See Is 4K Ultra HD in Cable's Future?)

Sony Corp. (NYSE: SNE), however, has a solution. The consumer electronics company has developed a new Networked Media Interface for connecting live video feeds to an IP network, thereby enabling transport of UHD video with minimal compression and minimal disruption to existing production workflows. The technology was launched last September, but this week, Imagine Communications announced it has teamed up with Sony as one of several industry partners working to help drive adoption.

The Networked Media Interface turns video, audio, and metadata into packets so that the content can be connected directly to standard IP infrastructure. This has two major benefits. First, because a single 10G Ethernet connection can carry a UHD signal, content producers don't have to bundle multiple cables together in order to handle the bandwidth of a single video stream. Second, because IP routers are highly commoditized, there are huge cost advantages to IP conversion as compared to dealing with a traditional Serial Digital Interface (SDI) routing system.

In short, the Networked Media Interface is designed to manage heavy bandwidth demand more efficiently and make it cheaper to route 4K content on its way out to viewing audiences.

As for Imagine's role in the Sony initiative, the video infrastructure company is supporting the Networked Media Interface in conjunction with its existing products. These include the recently announced Magellan SDN Orchestrator, which manages connections between legacy protocols and IP.

Other companies supporting Sony's effort include Altera Corporation, Cisco Systems, Evertz, Juniper Networks, Macnica Americas, Matrox Electronics Systems, Rohde & Schwarz DVS, Vizrt, and Xilinx.

— Mari Silbey, special to Light Reading

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