4K/UHD and 8K venture into larger digital displays

Chou Chen-Kun, vice-president of Analog Way APAC Operations, shares more with APB on how large video walls are able to not only support 4K/Ultra HD (UHD) resolution, but also process and deliver content in 8K.

In recent years, the broadcast industry has seen the emergence of several technologies such as IP, 4K/Ultra HD (UHD) and high dynamic range (HDR). Hence, which technologies do you expect to have a sustained impact in 2018, particularly in Asia-Pacific?
Chou Chen-Kun: All technologies mentioned will continue to grow in their respective influences in 2018. 4K/UHD recognition is ramping up, and especially 4K@50/60Hz, which will gradually gain momentum.

IP has its own lovers. However, the key in ensuring its performance in production and transmission within affordable costs, when compared to baseband videos, still needs to be explored.

HDR is widely adopted among display manufacturers, be it LED, OLED, or others. We expect to see convergence among various specifications of HDR in near future.
In Asia-Pacific, the industry is following these trends closely; the same with Analog Way and its Asia-Pacific office.

How these technologies impact Analog Way’s approach towards product development for the broadcast sector?
Chou: As one of the leading companies in professional audio/video industry around the world, Analog Way has been monitoring all emerging technologies. We adopt technologies at early stages.

For instance, our multi-format converter — VIO4K — is equipped with the capability to convert DP1.2, HDMI 2.0 and 12G-SDI among one another. It is one of the first in the industry. However, we are also very careful and selective at prematured stage of any emerging technology. We believe it is our responsibility to avoid any risk as our customers would like us to.

Can you share with us on a project that Analog Way has recently completed? What are some of Analog Way’s solutions that were adopted, and the challenges Analog Way has overcome to successfully deliver the project?
Chou: Analog Way’s solutions have been deployed by Sansi North America (SNA) Displays for the installation of LED screens at Times Square in New York. SNA selected Analog Way to provide a full 8K/60Hz resolution processing solution for the massive wrap-around display, which showcases NFL (National Football League) Experience, a joint venture of the NFL and Cirque du Soleil.

It is currently the highest-resolution LED screen in the history of Times Square, with the debut of the newest large-format LED video spectacular at 701 7th Avenue (also known as 20 Times Square). The building features SNA’s wrap-around S|Video display canvas, one of the largest continuous exterior displays in the world, featuring more than 17,000sqf of LED display technology. With 8K/60Hz processing, the screen is designed to accommodate the next generation of video and broadcast media content.

For this project, SNA chose Analog Way to design an 8K/60Hz scaling solution using Analog Way’s LiveCore product line. We provided four Ascender 48-4K-PL processors to support the delivery of 16 feeds to the display, all with precise sub-frame level sync lock. Having precise sync lock on all 16 outputs ensures zero tearing of the image across the huge pixel spaces. This offers SNA, and the screen’s tenant, flexibility and security since they are not tied to a single-source device or format.

A key aspect of the Times Square project is the support for 8K display resolution. So what are your views on the development of 8K, given that most media productions are still in either HD or 4K/UHD?
Chou: 4K/UHD is gaining momentum, and one of the main driving forces is big LED displays, indoor and outdoor. We believe it will become the same driving force to 8K. For instance, if advertisers were to advertise on a huge video wall, they would want to showcase their content with highest resolution possible. And if we look back, HD has been through the same path by the popularity of 40-inch to 60-inch LCD TV.

Another important factor is small-pitch LED. We have seen many reports that revealed the growing revenue of small-pitch LED around the world. Thus, for those two reasons — bigger in size and smaller in pitch — there will be more high-resolution media content to come. In addition, we have seen some production studios in England and Asia producing 4K/60Hz, or even 8K/60Hz videos, and it would not be surprising to see more and more such content.

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