Sony today announced at IBC that it has developed real-time IP production technology to deliver better efficiency and lower system costs in live productions, particularly for sports broadcasts. This new technology is the result of Sony’s ongoing efforts to develop comprehensive professional solutions using IP video technology.
‘Real-time IP production technology’ integrates IP network technology and HD-SDI, the standard for HD video transmission. It enables video, audio, reference signals and control data between devices to be transmitted using a single network cable. Multiple high-resolution video and audio – including HD and 4K – can be synchronously transmitted to multiple points, and the source video can be switched smoothly with no switching noise, resulting in a dramatic improvement in the efficiency of video transmission between the field and the broadcast station.
Conventionally, numerous cables are required to transmit HD video from video locations such as outside broadcast sites or within a studio complex. Furthermore, the volume of information transferred by 4K high-resolution video production is four times that of HD, meaning that four times the amount of cables are necessary, so when both the input and output directions are taken into account, eight times as much cabling is required in comparison to a single cable using real-time IP production technology.
Sony’s real-time IP production technology will enable 4K video to be transmitted using a single network cable. This will greatly simplify 4K live production systems, with one-eighth or less cabling required, significantly reducing installation costs, space, and cable mass.*
This technology can even simultaneously transmit different video formats using a single network cable. It is also possible to easily extend connection devices by adding IP switches.
All equipment is connected to the network, so remote operations, device monitoring and maintenance can be performed via the network. This makes production and device maintenance much more efficient.
As well as developing the IP interface module, SDI-IP converter, and network manager software, Sony also plans to launch broadcast equipment incorporating this IP technology, starting in 2014.
● ‘IP interface module’
Sony’s IP interface module is capable of converting video, audio, reference signals and control data to packets and transmitting them in real-time over the network. This module is compact, lightweight, and can be embedded within a variety of devices. Video can then be transmitted from these devices via the network cable.
● ‘SDI-IP converter’
This external converter works with legacy devices that only feature an SDI interface. By converting SDI to IP, the external converter adds IP interface functionality to conventional broadcasting equipment and can be used for network connections with existing SDI products during the period of transition.
● ‘Network manager’
This software manages communications between devices, and helps stabilise IP video transmissions to ensure broadcast quality. This software uses Sony’s own unique algorithm for optimal network resource management. Sony also uses Quality of Service (QoS) technology** to ensure the required communication speed is always stably provided through means such as prioritising transmitted video data or reserving the required network bandwidth.
■ ‘Real-time IP production technology’ can be applied to a variety of applications
Application example of IP-based AV Routing System
This system connects the ‘SDI-IP converter’ to existing SDI devices such as the camera and monitor, or the ‘IP interface module’ embedded within a variety of devices and then connects to the network via a general purpose IP switch, achieving an ‘IP-based audio-visual routing system’ to replace the current SDI router. (Refer to figure below)
High-resolution video and audio, including HD and 4K, can be synchronously transmitted to multiple points via the network cable, and the source video can be switched smoothly with no switching noise.
IP-based AV Routing System
* A technological reference exhibit based on this system will be displayed at IBC2013.
Application example of Remote production system
Various devices in isolated locations can be connected via the network and developed as a ‘remote production system’ capable of transmitting interactive video, audio, reference signals and control data, and performing remote operations. (Refer to figure below). Significant reductions in production costs can be achieved because less equipment is required on-site and fewer personnel need to be dispatched.
Sony will continue to provide various IP-based AV systems that utilise its ‘real-time IP production technology’, developing products that incorporate the IP interface module, SDI-IP converter, and network manager software, while building an environment in which this technology can be widely used.
* The number of cables varies depending on the system configuration.
** QoS is a technology that guarantees a constant communication speed by transmitting data on the network in accordance with the priority that corresponds to the data type, or by reserving a particular network band for data transmission.