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Japan offers cost-efficient broadcast solutions

To facilitate the adoption of new 4K/UHD workflows by the broadcast industry, Media Links launched a product to fill the gap in the industry’s transition from SDI- to IP-based workflows? What is it and does it really fill the gap? And to help broadcasters to stay relevant in the increasingly digital world, Hitachi’s Digital Microwave Link has enabled Mediacorp of Singapore to transmit both HD and SD content as it switched to digital broadcasting at the beginning of 2019. Another cost-efficient product noted by Andrew Yeo being demonstrated at InterBEE 2018 (November 14 -16) at Makuhari Messe, Tokyo, was Shotoku’s SmartPed, a fully robotic studio pedestal capable of satisfying the commercial and creative demands of any live TV studio production. 

John Dale III: “By incorporating TICO light compression technology, the MDP3040 is able to fill the gap in the industry’s transition from SDI- to IP-based workflows.”

One of the major challenges for broadcasters when transporting 4K/UHD video signals is the bandwidth required. To facilitate the adoption of new 4K/UHD workflows by the broadcast industry, Media Links has incorporated TICO compression capability into its MDP3040 dual-channel 4K/UHD edge broadcast encoder/decoder.

Pointing out the MDP3040 at its Inter BEE booth was John Dale III himself, chairman, CEO & president of Media Links. He said: “We understand the video business well; we’ve been into video over IP since 2002.

“By integrating TICO compression into our MDP Series, we are enabling media companies to transport pristine-quality video using the same existing bandwidth for uncompressed HD video with no noticeable effect on latency or distortion of content.”

Standardised by SMPTE as RDD35 and at ISO as JPEG XS, TICO is an advanced, visually lossless compression technology designed to be the standard for efficiently handling UHD content in live production workflows.

TICO is a disruptive technology enabling compatibility and interoperability between manufacturers and broadcasters. It is the brainchild of intoPIX, a technology provider of video compression solutions.

Dale added: “By incorporating TICO light compression technology, the MDP3040 is able to fill the gap in the industry’s transition from SDI- to IP-based workflows.” 

Complementing the 4K transmission solution is the MD003 CWDM video transport platform with its new 4K/UHD card, also incorporating TICO compression technology. Up to eight channels of 4K/UHD video signals can be transmitted over one optical fibre. This multi-channel, multi-service transport system is suitable for reliable and scalable signal transport over dedicated dark fibre infrastructure.

Media Links’ third 4K/UHD solution at Inter BEE was the 4K/UHD encoder/decoder card set for the company’s flagship MD8000 Media-over-IP system.

This versatile card set accepts 4K/UHD video as four separate and timed QUAD 3G-SDI video inputs, compresses them utilising JPEG2000 standards, bundles them into IP packets (SMPTE 2022), and transmits or receives them as a single service over either 1G or 10G interfaces.

According to Media Links, this new 4K card set has already played an essential role in the IP video transport network for global and high-profile sporting events including the World Cup and the Olympic Games.

Koji Yuzawa: “The Hitachi Digital Microwave Link enables digital transmission of both HD and SD content.”

As digital is paving the way for the future of TV, Hitachi continues to adopt cutting-edge and innovative technologies into its products, enabling TV operators to stay at the forefront of digital broadcasting industry.

Amid the buzz over Hitachi’s Super Hi-Vision 8K camera and the SK-UHD4000, Koji Yuzawa, senior manager, Solution Group, Sales Division, Hitachi Kokusai Electric, took time off to point out that Singapore’s media company, Mediacorp, has adopted Hitachi’s analogue-digital microwave links as the republic geared up to switch to digital broadcasting in January 2019.

Since its inception in 1954, Hitachi pioneered many innovative and affordable products — and through technological advances, it became the very first manufacturer to successfully release a dual, compatible analogue-digital Microwave Link system. 

In helping to work out Mediacorp’s technology roadmap, Lim Hwa Meng, assistant vice-president, Operations, Enterprises & Technologies, Mediacorp Pte Ltd, commented in a posting: “The microwave link system is an essential wireless solution in any television network stations, and it is critical that it is covered in the roadmap.

“With digital microwave link, the reliability of transmission link is much higher and offers a more robust transmission medium. The ability to accept refractor signals is also regarded as one of its strong key features.”

Yuzawa assured: “The Hitachi Digital Microwave Link enables digital transmission of both HD and SD content. This is an essential benefit for broadcasters to stay relevant in the increasingly digital world.”

Hitachi has also been working with NHK Science and Technology Research Laboratories for almost a decade to jointly produce its fourth-generation Super Hi-Vision (8K) camera system.

The SHV production camera, being developed concurrently with 4K imaging technology, will pave the way to capture all planned events in Japan and abroad — thus pointing towards the adoption of 8K UHD-2 or SHV to become the norm for high-end productions.

The SK-UHD8060 uses a single CMOS Super 35mm sensor (7,680 x 4,320) that can simultaneously output 8K, 4K/UHD, 1080p, 1080i and 720p; and an 8K RAW recorder can be docked to the camera for field production or used independently.

The recording system can be used independently of the camera head to provide a store-and-forward, real-time playback function with its own CCU. This remote acquisition system is not currently available with any other 8K camera system.

At the booth was also the SK-UHD4000 professional TV production camera. This portable 4K camera can be used with existing high zoom ratio 2/3-inch format lenses which are the industry standard for outside broadcast live sports production applications.

Its high-precision four-sensor optical system and the latest MOS sensor technology provide high-resolution 4K (3840 x 2160) and 2K (1920 x 1080) video simultaneously.

The functionality of the camera is same as traditional broadcast HDTV cameras.

Takashi Ishii with Panasonic’s AK-UC4000 4K HDR & HD Slow Motion camera system.

Trade visitors at Inter BEE were also seen making a beeline to check out Panasonic’s newly launched AK-UC4000 4K HDR & HD Slow Motion camera system.

“The AK-UC4000 camera offers high video quality that is only possible with a large sensor, along with a wide range of 4K acquisition with the latest functions such as HDR, BT.2020 and high-speed shooting,” said Takashi Ishii, assistant chief, Broadcast & Production, Media & Entertainment Business Division, Connected Solutions Company, Panasonic Corporation.

The new camera system is suitable not only for studio production but also for a wide range of operations such as sports and live events as it embraces features such as 12G-SDI, TICO over SDI (4K over 3G-SDI) output, and MoIP.

Available now at about US$11,000 is the Panasonic’s AW-UE150 4K 60p professional PTZ camera. It comes with a large 1-inch MOS sensor, supports high-quality 4K/UHD 60p video output, features a 75.1-degree viewing angle and 20x optical zoom, and supports versatile outputs, including 12G-SDI, HDMI, optical fibre and IP.

The AW-UE150, according to Ishii, is ideal for taking your remote camera production to the next level.

From stadiums to studios, employing proficient camera operators are always at a challenge so broadcasters are increasingly turning to AI, automation and robotics to overcome the problem. 

Ken Takahashi maintains that the SmartPed addresses the key priorities of content makers in terms of cost savings while maintaining high-end performance where it counts — On-air remote control.

Shotoku at Inter BEE demonstrated, among its stable of camera mounts, its SmartPed, a fully robotic studio pedestal capable of satisfying the commercial and creative demands of any live TV studio production.

“The SmartPed is the result of many years of experience in supplying leading broadcasters around the world with high-performance remote camera systems,” said Ken Takahashi, sales director, Broadcast Equipment Sales Division, Shotoku, adding that the SmartPed marks a new phase in the technical and operational developments of robotic camera systems.

“SmartPed addresses the key priorities of content makers in terms of cost savings while maintaining high-end performance where it counts: on-air remote control,” said Takahashi.

A revolutionary new height column without any need for pneumatic balancing, an all-round, multi-zone, collision avoidance technology and precision engineered electro mechanical steer/drive system give SmartPed unparalleled levels of performance and reliability.

Instant switchover to local operation is provided through the “convenient” pan-bar-mounted joystick.

Like all Shotoku systems, local operation requires no referencing or re-calibration before or after use, and switching between local and remote is seamless.

The pedestal uses entirely digital servo systems and all electronics are housed in a central, self-contained module, making service quick and easy. A low-level, controllable LED illumination system gives subtle, yet clear indication of the pedestal operating status, including On-air, Moving and E-stop.

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