EVS tests 4K over 3G in Japan

Adrian Pennington writes: EVS is testing the ability of its XT3 servers to carry 4K live signals with Kyodo TV in Japan. The outside broadcaster is using networked EVS systems to manage a full 4K production including instant playout and slow motion of J League soccer matches.

In October Kyodo TV equipped its new KR-advance outside broadcast van with four XT3s as well as Multicam LSM remote controllers and an EVS Xnet2 media sharing network for controlling all four XT3 servers.

“The key innovation in the XT3 is the introduction of a 3G link, essentially giving OBs the ability to record 1080p for ingest and playout as a single link freeing up yet more server capacity,” explains Nicolas Bourdon, EVS head of marketing. “It’s good preparation for the transition to 4K which will require a combination of two 3G links for input and output.”

It’s widely believed that for 4K to gain a foothold it has to work with 3G-SDI because of the existing investment in 3G infrastructure by studios and OBs.

Tests being conducted by manufacturers with outside broadcasters during 2013 will determine how the significant increase in data can be transferred around a live environment over 3G networks. Compression technology needs to advance, with JPEG2000 a current best bet for lossless compression. There also needs to be agreement on transmission standards before companies charge off down different routes.

According to Graham Sharp, SVP Corporate Development at Grass Valley, the original requirement that drove 3G was 3D because 1080p could be used to derive a good stereo HD picture, “but right now there are a lot of discussions about whether 4K would fit into that signal”.

Grass Valley recently revamped its entire product line-up from switchers to cameras to accommodate 3G, a move which Sharp describes as an interim step.

We are taking our existing portfolio to the latest technology [3G] which should buy us 2-3 years, by which time Ultra-HD will become practical,” he explains. “In that time, fast packet switching and IT infrastructure will have advanced to make our equipment completely format agnostic.”

However, there are dissenters. Digital Video Systems (DVS), Hanover-based makers of the VENICE production server, don’t see how this is possible.

“We don’t believe 4K can work over 3G because you need eight times the data throughput over that of 1080p,” says Oliver Gappa, sales and marketing director. “The interface will need to change before 4K become a practical reality for 4K live production. We are developing systems with manufacturers in Japan and we will be the first company to make a 4K capable broadcast server, probably for IBC2013.”

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