NAB 2019 in Review: Sony Makes Numerous Product, Solution Announcements

At NAB Show 2019, Sony (Booth C11001) showcased new solutions developed and designed collaboratively alongside media customers to creatively and cost-effectively bring their vision to life. From broadcast and sports to faith and content creation, Sony is championing the latest technology with the tools and support that empowers professionals. The most recent example is Sony’s newly announced HDC-5500 4K/HD HDR live camera system.

IP Live Production Solutions With Live Elements Orchestrator and New SDI-IP Converter Boards
Sony is introducing Live Element Orchestrator, its first system orchestration solution to increase the performance and utilization of resources, as well as to reduce the system downtime, further improving productivity in content production. Sony is also launching two new SDI-IP converter boards, the NXLK-IP50Y and NXLK-IP51Y, offering support for SMPTE ST 2110 standards with HDR compatibility and the latter, also supporting 12G-SDI. This announcement highlights Sony’s continued commitment to actively invest in IP-based solutions and enables greater efficiency, flexibility, and interoperability to empower broadcasters to live their vision.

“The biggest challenge that broadcasters are facing today is the pressure to create high-quality content while keeping production costs to a minimum,” explained Anthony Kable, Content Creation Group Manager, Sony Australia. “Our Live Element Orchestrator unlocks the full potential of our IP solutions by giving broadcasters and content creators the ability to manage and control devices across multiple locations – minimizing downtime and maximizing output. With this new solution, we are not only demonstrating our active investment in next-generation IP-enabled solutions but are also creating new ways for customers to take advantage of IP-based infrastructure.”

Available in June 2019, the Live Element Orchestrator provides overall system management of an IP-based production system. By supporting major industry protocols, the Live Element Orchestrator is compatible with both Sony and third-party solutions. Enabling resources to be shared across multiple locations, configurations to be set-up centrally and operations across all equipment to be monitored, the solution optimises system performance. Sony developed its Live Element Orchestrator in collaboration with Skyline Communications (Belgium), adopting the company’s DataMiner, an end-to-end management and orchestration solution, as core technology. DataMiner has been adopted by numerous media companies and organisations globally, and this collaboration will offer further value and operability to broadcasters who are investing in IP-based live production.

To support the industry’s transition to IP, Sony continues to support open standards and interoperability. At Sony’s booth (C11001) during the NAB show period, visitors can see the complete system of IP Live production supporting SMPTE ST 2110 standard both in HD and 4K.

Further, Sony’s XVS series of professional switchers with 100G IP interface boards, its camera control units including HDCU-4300 with HKCU-4001 and the new HDCU-5500, HDCU-3500, HDCU-3170, HDCU-3100, as well as its two new SDI-IP converter boards, the NXLK-IP50Y and NXLK-IP51Y, all support the SMTPE ST 2110 standard.

While the NXLK-IP50Y provides 8x 1.5/3G-SDI ports (bi-direction) and 2x SFP28 ports for redundant network connection, the NXLK-IP51Y provides 2x 1.5/3G-SDI ports, 2x 12G-SDI ports (both bi-direction). Future upgrades for both converters will offer optional up/down conversion and/or HDR/SDR conversion. The NXLK-IP50Y is available this July and NLK-IP51Y by the end of 2019.

Sony also works with AMWA to support NMOS IS-04 and NMOS IS-05. Therefore, Sony’s IP Live System Manager will now support both NMOS IS-04 and NMOS IS-05 with version 2.2, which will be released in May. This allows third-party devices that are NMOS-ready to be controlled through the IP Live System Manager. Sony’s new camera control units will also support NMOS IS-04 and NMOS IS-05.

At NAB, Sony will be demonstrating operational IP-enabled remote production of real-time video game tournaments taking place in the eSports’ Arena located at the Luxor Hotel, along with a 4K demonstration managed by Sony’s Live Element Orchestrator at the booth. The remote production signals will be transmitted in SMPTE ST 2110 via 10GbE WAVE provided by Century Link.

This demonstration presents visitors with an opportunity to experience efficient production using one control system for several productions with minimum downtime. When switching between the two production sites, the Live Element Orchestrator can change the configuration of each respective production resource, while seamlessly switching IP networks and system formats.

Sony has seen rapid global adoption of its IP Live Production System and has already proven itself to more than 50 OB trucks/studio systems around the world.

The following companies have recently discovered the benefits of IP:


  • Portuguese commercial broadcaster SIC (Sociedade Independente de Comunicação) has built Portugal’s first IP Live production facility in Lisbon which is one of the earliest large-scale IP Live deployments in Europe – delivered by Sony and its partner Telefónica. The facility leverages the SMPTE ST 2110 suite of standards and the whole system includes programme production, audio, intercom and other functions, plus the integration of Sony’s Media Backbone Hive news system at SIC’s Lisbon and Porto production centres.


  • In December 2018, FUJI TELEVISION NETWORK, INC (FUJI TV) broadcasted live the female relay race tournament in Fuji city, Shizuoka, at the foot of Mt. Fuji. In limited space and with minimum set-up of IP equipment, FUJI TV achieved remote production. The system transmitted AV as well as incoming and control signals with a single IP cable to the OB van located, which was located in the City Hall – acting as the live broadcasting base. Low latency and interactive transmission allowed seamless operation with other sources provided by different relay points as well as smooth communication between the director at the base and the cameraman on-site. The flexibility of the system set-up and the stable transmission enabled efficient program production.
  • Hokkaido Cultural Broadcasting Co., Ltd. (UHB) has built a new IP network routing system which manages to feed ingest sources to file-based system, based on Networked Media Interface, Sony’s IP Live transmission technology. UHB accomplished a flexible and expandable routing system and achieved the capability of future migration from HD to 4K. UHB chose Sony for its ability to build multiple IP Live systems and its past contribution towards system development and maintenance to UHB’s current SDI based routing system. UHB also implemented Sony’s Media Backbone Hive news solution for an integrated and efficient News production workflow, while keeping current SDI based network routing operation.


  • Guizhou province TV has built 4K IP OB Truck featuring 14 camera chains as standard and 20 chains as maximum. The system is capable of 4K/HDR production by IP-based infrastructure supporting SMPTE ST 2110 standard. Simple system configuration and powerful control by IP technology are the key values for Guizhou province TV to select Sony. The OB Truck will hit the road in May.
  • GUANGDONG RADIO AND TELEVISION is implementing an IP-based studio system in its master studio room for largescale live studio production. GUANGDONG RADIO AND TELEVISION valued Sony’s IP Live Production System for Its flexibility to expand channels, its support for industry standard SMPTE ST 2110, cost effective commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) system and ensured interoperability. The new studio system will begin operation in June 2019.
  • CHINA CENTRAL TELEVISION (CCTV), China’s national broadcasting station will have a new 4K IP OB Truck in September 2019 with 22 camera chains in IP, SMPTE ST 2110 and 6 chains for expansion of High Frame Rate cameras delivered by Sony. The OB Truck will be used to live broadcast nation-wide programs such as news and various other events. CCTV appreciates benefits of IP including future proofed open standard, simplicity in system as well as powerful system management.

Entry-level HD Palm-sized Camcorder With Fast Hybrid Auto Focus
To cater to the demands of today’s diverse shooting requirements, the palm-sized and lightweight HD camcorder is equipped with the advanced BIONZ X image processing engine, producing more lifelike images and allows for addition of new features that takes advantage of its fast processing. Its large 14.2 megapixel 1.0-type stacked Exmor RS CMOS sensor delivers impressive background bokeh defocus effects and superior sensitivity for capturing high-quality images with less noise, both dark or bright conditions. Clear and steady pictures are achieved even in dark scene with minimum illumination at 1.7lux (1/30 seconds), allowing content creatives to focus on what they do best.

Leveraging on Sony’s expertise in image quality and heritage in camera development, the HXR-MC88 features the Fast Hybrid Auto Focus (AF) System, ensuring that fast-moving subjects are captured with amazing sharpness.

“Video content is evolving quickly into a strong communication tool to connect with audiences in various settings including in-house trainings, seminars, classes and even the promotion on social media,” highlighted Kable. “The introduction of HXR-MC88 provides organizations with a simple and intuitive solution that creates engaging content in a breeze, emphasizing our commitment to provide our customers with solutions for every budget and requirements.”

The HXR-MC88 comes with 12x optical zoom, which can be doubled to 24x with Clear Image Zoom while maintaining full resolution using Super Resolution Technology. In addition, the 14.2 megapixels CMOS sensor and Sony’s Digital Extender can double this range up to 48x, to satisfy the demand for wide-angle to telephoto shooting in various scenes. The XLR audio input terminal and microphone holder add to its operability on top of sound quality and reliability in connection. With the built-in 4 Step ND Filters, the HXR-MC88 can adjust quickly to capture quality content in a multitude of environments, producing sharp, clear images without losing details anytime, anywhere.

Ideal as a sub-camera in HD program productions, the HXR-MC88 records in AVCHD, a popular format among content creatives, enhancing editing freedom during postproduction. Further, users can remotely control the camcorder using the RM-30BP remote commander as well as stream live events through a simple and affordable production ecosystem, when paired with the MCX-500 multi-camera live producer.

This latest camcorder will be available worldwide from July 2019 onwards.

Live 4K HDR Production and Workflow with New Camera System
HDC-5500 is a new multi-format live camera capable of direct 4K signal output in 12G-SDI, carrying the world’s first 2/3-inch 4K global shutter three CMOS sensors that ensure superb image quality in HD, 4K and HDR live production. Optional software achieving high frame rate up to 4K 2x and HD 8x will be available.

HDCU-5500 is a half rack size new camera control unit (CCU) to be used with HDC-5500. This CCU provides both 12G-SDI 4K output interface and IP interfaces, SMPTE ST 2110 and NMOS IS-04/05 via hardware options. The HDC-5500 and HDCU-5500 are connected through a single fiber cable without a base band processor unit. This pair also offers Ultra High Bitrate (UHB) transmission that transmits 2 channels of 4K signals at a time.

The HDC-5500 outputs 4K signal directly from its 12G-SDI output. Installing the HKC-WL50 wireless side panel, the HDC-5500 can either operate as a wireless camera, or used with a camera stabilizer.

Using newly developed signal processing technology between the camera and CCU, the UHB transmission allows two camera signals to transmit simultaneously using a single fiber cable, increasing the operational flexibility of the camera system. The 4K TRUNK feature efficiently conveys two sources from HDC-5500 to CCU; one source from the “host” HDC-5500 itself, and a second camera connected to the HDC-5500’s 12G-SDI input. In addition, 4K PROMPTER is also transmitted from the HDCU-5500 to camera head as well.

The HDC-5500 utilizes an interchangeable side panel which can ensure backward compatibility with current HD camera control units such as the HDCU-2500/3100 series.

“The HDC-5500 provides industry-leading flexibility for live production,” said Kable. “We’ve listened carefully to the requirements of this rapidly evolving market and provided new capability for today’s SDI systems, and tomorrow’s IP-based and HDR requirements. We’ve elegantly addressed production needs such as 4K, HDR, HFR, IP, and wireless. We are providing our customers with a flexible and cost-effective path to upgrade their current systems to a very special toolset. We continue to enhance our HDC series so that our customers can reach even higher levels of creativity and efficiency.”

Sony will introduce a portable licensing option for HDC-5500 and the HDC-P50 POV cameras. Unlike permanent licenses, portable licenses are not tied to a specific device. Available as a yearly subscription, they can be transferred dynamically between HDC-5500 and HDC-P50 cameras. Cost saving is realized for customers such as OB and rental companies, since software can be downloaded and installed on-site, rather than shipping camera components.

Sony also introduces the HDCU-3500, a half rack size CCU that can be used with HDC-3500, HDC-3100, and also compatible with HDC-2000 series cameras. It features a 12G-SDI 4K output interface and IP interfaces, SMPTE ST 2110 and NMOS IS-04/05 through hardware option.

The new HDCU-3500 and HDCU-5500 CCU will have an optional on-board recording capability that utilizes a built-in memory feature. This innovative recording option will provide new options and flexibility for live production workflow.

The HDC-5500, HDCU-5500, and HDCU-3500 are planned to be available in May onwards.

First IP 4K Pan-Tilt-Zoom Camera BRC-X400 With NDI Capability
Extending operational and creative possibilities, the BRC-X400 supports IP and is equipped with NDI®|HX capability with optional license, a first in Sony’s PTZ camera line-up. The NDI|HX option presents unprecedented flexibility in IP-based live production systems, when combined with other NDI-compatible hardware or software, anywhere on the network. Connection via a single IP cable can ensure an efficient live production set-up including power supply, image output as well as camera controls. In addition, Real Time Streaming Protocol (RTSP) and Real Time Messaging Protocol (RTMP) are also supported.

“Sony has nearly two decades of experience in IP development within the broadcast industry and we remain dedicated in leading IP-based premium live production, having completed the system by SMPTE ST 2110 standard both in HD and 4K,” said Kable. “The BRC series continues to lay the foundation for practical, cost-effective 4K robotic PTZ applications. Responding to customer’s requests, the latest BRC-X400 will support NDI|HX for the first time, with the aim to expand the IP footprint in cost-efficient productions. We look forward to working closely with NewTek in value-adding our offerings to customers.”

“This collaboration with Sony symbolizes a significant step for the industry,” said Dr. Andrew Cross, president and CTO for NewTek. “Sony is a clear leader in the global transition to IP-based technologies with a long history of building revolutionary broadcast systems. The world has moved to IP video and we are proud to be working with Sony to help make their latest PTZ camera BRC-X400 connect with the millions of NDI systems around the world. We believe that Sony can empower users to build more agile, flexible and affordable systems that provide live productions with more freedom with its simpler connectivity and hassle-free operation.”

The BRC-X400 realizes high picture quality effortlessly, thanks to the highly sensitive Exmor R CMOS image sensor. The newly developed sensor achieves natural color reproduction and delivers 4K30p with minimum noise. The built-in high-resolution 4K lens accommodates wide-angle shots up to 70 degrees, and is equipped with 30x powerful zoom capability in 4K with Sony’s unique Clear Image Zoom feature. Further enhancing its offering, users can utilize the 80x zoom capability in Full High Definition (FHD) with Tele Convert Mode. In addition, horizontal resolution 1700 TV line (Center) in 4K and 1000 or higher TV line in FHD (Center) captures details of the image.

Allowing seamless switching during live events and reality shows, the BRC-X400 comes with broadcast-friendly features such as tally lamps and genlock supports. The PTZ camera is equipped with a newly available function – Scene File. This allows users to apply the same operating menu from one camera to others for fast and easy set-up.

Future-proofed for expansion or upgrades to ensure peace of mind, the latest addition to the BRC series can be integrated into existing broadcast system workflows easily with its vast range of camera control protocols support. This includes 700 Protocol for Sony’s broadcast cameras, CGI as well as VISCA / VISCA over IP. In addition, BRC-X400 can be used with Sony’s cutting-edge products such as Sony’s first AI-based video analytic solution, REA-C1000. A simple, cost-effective chroma key solution in 4K high picture quality can be achieved using its chroma key-less CG overlay feature to extract the presenter and overlay them onto any background without the need for a dedicated backscreen or specialist training.

BRC-X400 will be available by the end of 2019 and comes in both black and white colors.

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