Imagine Communications links in to Sony’s Networked Media Interface initiative

Imagine Communications and Sony have announced an industry collaboration to enable the critical transitions to Ultra High Definition/4k, and from legacy SDI to IP-based network infrastructures. “Together with Sony, we are pleased to initiate an industry-wide adoption of the Sony’s Networked Media Interface, which resolves the issue of managing the distribution of UHD/4k signals in the network infrastructure,” said Steve Reynolds, CTO of Imagine Communications.

“This embrace of Sony’s new innovation is not a result of any single vendor’s unique efforts, but instead is a collaboration of the vendor community to ensure that our media and entertainment customers can transition to the next great leap in video quality enhancements and IP innovation.”

Today’s studio cameras use one HD-SDI cable to carry a single uncompressed baseband signal that may require up to 3 Gb/s. Since UHD provides substantial improvements compared to HD, the increased bandwidth for UHD/4k would normally require four HD-SDI cables, and replicating this massive cabling increase throughout the network infrastructure presents nearly impossible logistical challenges. To resolve this challenge, Imagine Communications supports Sony’s Networked Media Interface, a new AV over IP interface for IP-based networking that provides low latency transport of UHD/4k video, audio, reference, metadata and control data.

“We are delighted to work closely with Imagine Communications to ensure its end-to-end, market leading portfolio can be a catalyst for fostering and standardising future architectures that are based on IP, open standards and interoperability,” said Tetsuya Iwamoto, General Manager with Sony. “Sony is committed to being a key driver of this important evolution in our industry.”

At its heart, Sony’s Networked Media Interface is claimed to provide a virtually lossless UHD/4k compressed stream over IP signal. Although such a signal in some cases may require up to 12 Gb/s, Sony’s technology provides minimal compression of the signal to enable it to be carried in packet form over common 10 GBEs fibre or twisted pair cabling.

“The logistical issues associated with the massive bandwidth increase required for UHD/4k are almost forcing the industry to migrate to an IP-centric network environment,” Reynolds added. “Fortunately, we have enablers that help us in this transition such as Sony’s Networked Media Interface. Add to that the new capabilities like ubiquitous 10 GBEs and 40 GBE IP switching provided by the reliable IT vendor community and other innovations like Imagine Communications’ recently announced Magellan SDN Orchestrator, and the industry now has complete solutions to enable their gradual transition to UHD/4k.”

The Magellan SDN Orchestrator utilises dynamic signal-flow connections, managing signal mappings, addressing, and translations between legacy protocols and IP. This hybrid approach to SDN allows the entire bit flow to be software-defined, providing for managed workflows that support the concurrent coexistence of IP streams, files, and baseband signals.

Media companies can now use familiar workflow processes and controls while also managing on-ramps and off-ramps for baseband over IP via a software control layer, significantly improving the way video is managed throughout broadcast facilities.

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