To allow broadcasters to wireless transmit 4K/UHD video, DTC Domo has launched the AEON-TX, an HEVC/H.265 wirelesslyc transmitter that also supports HDR.

4K/UHD goes live in the field

The recent launch of a number of wireless transmitters have provided a boost to live 4K/Ultra HD (UHD) production.  Shawn Liew writes more.

There are many emerging technologies and developments that have continued to set the pulse racing. These include: point-of-view (POV) cameras for live broadcast; unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) or drone use; virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR); 360-degree camera viewing; and IP delivery, among others.

However, it is the increasing adoption of 4K/UHD and high dynamic range (HDR) on a global scale that is “really compelling”, suggests JP Delport, broadcast sales director, DTC Domo.

To allow broadcasters to wirelessly transmit 4K/UHD video, DTC Domo has launched the AEON-TX, an HEVC/H.265 wireless transmitter that also supports HDR. Delport tells APB: “What makes AEON-TX hugely exciting for broadcasters is its ability to transmit the massive amount of raw data that comes out of the back of an HD or 4K/UHD camera, and maintain those high-quality images, but with ultra-low latency, both of which are essential for live broadcasts.

“This is enabled by the next-generation HEVC/H.265 SD, HD and 4K/UHD encoding technology we’ve used in the unit. It is extremely efficient, therefore enabling AEON-TX to effortlessly deliver wireless 4K/UHD over a DVT-T link and, more importantly, preserve a director’s intent.”

AEON-TX also provides future-proof connectivity, which means less kit has to be carted into the field, Delport highlights. It supports 12G-SDI, dual 6G-SDI, quad 3G-SDI and SFP+ expansion, and is also equipped with a readily visible LCD control panel and IP-based camera control.

“The AEON-TX offers levels of live production flexibility and usability that are simply not available elsewhere,” says Delport, who also emphasises how the wireless transmitter is equipped for IP-based control.

“We have been delivering multiple-node, inherently bidirectional IP mesh solutions for years,” he continues. “We fully embraced the possibilities of IP many years ago and as such, are leading our field in supporting its implementation.”

Miniaturisation is also another theme that DTC Domo is keen to continue, as IBC2017 saw the debut of the Broadcast Nano HD transmitter.

Production teams, Delport explains, are increasingly seeking innovative ways to provide compelling content from unique vantage points — increasingly, in the form of POV camera and transmitter systems.

“Such a system mounted on a referee, professional cyclist, skydiver, motor racing car, or a world-record eagle flight from the top of Burj Khalifa — all of which and more have been done with our Nano transmitters — deliver exciting new perspectives to viewers,” he adds.

“What’s important about that to broadcasters is that, again, it gives them a vast range of new production options, and the small size, agility and high performance of the Broadcast Nano TX is perfectly suited to those aims.”

Another company supporting 4K/UHD production is Mobile Viewpoint, who recently announced the “broadcast equivalent of a luxury sports car” — the WMT UltraLink 4K/UHD-enabled mobile transmitter.

Michel Bais, CEO, Mobile Viewpoint, describes: “The WMT UltraLink provides broadcasters with whatever they need to go live from any location, without the need for any physical connection.”

Capable of delivering 50/60fps 4K/UHD video quality from the field using 4G bonding technology, the WMT UltraLink is also equipped with 2x6G and 12G inputs, as well as support for both HEVC/H.265 and H.264 encoding.

“With a built-in 4G modem, the unit is also extremely mobile and can stream live 4K/UHD from a moving vehicle at up to 60Mbps. This is why we believe its quality is comparable to that of a luxury sports car,” Bais says.

He also believes that the WMT UltraLink can find particular favour in Asia, or more specifically, South Korea and China. In the former, “all public channels are in 4K/UHD”, Bais notes, an indication of the technological capabilities and forward-thinking nature of South Korea.

“China, on the other hand, does not have many legacy HD installations, but this could prove to be an advantage as it means it can make the move from SD to 4K/UHD right away, skipping HD in the process. Because of this lack of legacy infrastructure, Chinese broadcasters do not have to write off investments in HD,” Bais suggests.

On the contrary, he sees little interest in Europe for 4K/UHD, where most European broadcasters have only recently completed the transition to HD. “Moving to 4K/UHD would mean a multi-billion-dollar write-off, which is an impossible prospect for many when looking at the changing landscape of linear TV viewing and degrading advertisement revenues. Therefore, we do not see much interest in 4K/UHD instalments, except for sports channels such as Sky Sports, who utilises a subscription model,” Bais concludes.

In the contribution market, Mobile Viewpoint also sees a growing demand for remote production — both live and using proxy files editing. “For live, we see a requirement for multi-camera set-ups and remote control of the cameras,” Bais explains. “Production teams are looking for wireless solutions that allow them to encode multiple streams and bring both tally, intercom and return picture from the studio.”

The main use cases for these, he says, are smaller, Tier B sports events such as hockey, but also normal productions when there is a need to reduce cost. Bringing multiple camera feeds back to the studio, for instance, saves both on personnel and eliminates the need for OB vans on-site.

The proxy file editing concept, meanwhile, is well known to Sony, who integrated this as a feature in the company’s cameras, and in combination with Avid and Adobe support, it is possible to create edits based on low-resolution proxy files, Bais points out.

“Using a wired or wireless connection, it is possible to download the high-res file from the Sony camera or just from the XDCAM disk. We see many customers appreciating this solution and encouraging us to implement the same concept using our bonded WMT video transmitters,” he adds.

To support its coverage of the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea next February, as well as the Commonwealth Games in the Gold Coast, Australia next April, NEP UK has placed an order for IMT Vislink’s HCAM 4K/UHD, HEVC/H.265 camera transmitters, which are also equipped with IMT Vislink’s FocalPoint camera control system.

James Walton, president of IMT and head of all IMT and Vislink business operations outside of the Americas, says: “This commitment from NEP further solidifies our relationship, and continues to highlight the market confidence in the HCAM with pre-orders now exceeding US$2 million. I’m delighted with our progress and how our relationship with NEP continues to grow globally.”

Unveiled at the 2017 NAB Show, the HCAM supports applications such as electronic newsgathering (ENG) and sports broadcasts. According to IMT Vislink, the HCAM can be easily mounted onto broadcast cameras, ENG cameras and prosumer cameras through its “highly flexible” and configurable mounting options.

It offers features such as interchangeable and future-proof dual SFP modules that support quad 3/6/12G-SDI/HDMI/fibre optic/SMPTE 2022-6 HD-SDI over IP interfaces, as well as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth control via dedicated Android and iOS applications.

Besides the HCAM, IMT Vislink also offers a range of wireless camera transmission solutions, including the new MicroLite 2 HD ultra-compact COFDM wireless video transmitter.

Recommended by the company for broadcast applications where high-quality live streaming video is needed, the MicroLite 2 transmitter features HD/SD-SDI and HDMI inputs with COFDM transmission, and delivers up to 250mW of power.

John Payne IV, president of IMT USA, says: “With the MicroLite 2, broadcast professionals are able to transmit high-definition video within a small form factor while utilising its lightweight design for Steadicam operations, event coverage, confidence monitoring, Web content programming, rental houses and drone use.”

Other offerings from IMT Vislink include the IMTDragonFly transmitter, designed to capture real-time, high-quality video from UAV/unmanned ground vehicle (UGV)/body cams/concealments for display on fixed or mobile receive applications. The transmitter features HD/SD-SDI or optional HDMI inputs with COFDM transmission in a small, lightweight chassis. It is also capable of delivering up to 100mW of power in a package weighing less than 1.2 ounces (34g), thus providing long-range, reliable HD video transmission, says IMT Vislink.

Built into the Grass Valley LDX series HD camera, the INCAM-G wireless camera transmitter provides full HD broadcast encoding at 1080p, 1080i and 720p, as well as built-in wireless camera control. The INCAM-G also provides ultra-low delay down to 20ms H.264 and a full configuration available via Windows PC software.

And to provide even more efficiency in the field, IMT Vislink offers the DR3 IP diversity receiver, the “first” receiver to offer a built-in IP diversity switch. Designed to work with Nucomm’s high dynamic range block down converters (HDRBDC), this combination automatically compensates for cable loss. Said to be highly modular and scalable, the DR3 allows users to daisy chain up to eight receivers to share the same set of antennas.

 

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