Imagine Communications, Sony to Tackle 4K Transport

DALLAS—Imagine Communications announced a key industry initiative underway with Sony to enable ultra high-definition/4K, and transitions from legacy SDI to IP-based network infrastructures.

“Together with Sony, we are pleased to initiate an industrywide 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, chief technology officer 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.”

Imagine noted that today’s studio cameras use one HD-SDI cable to carry a single uncompressed baseband signal that may require up to 3 Gbps. The increased bandwidth for UHD/4K would normally require four HD-SDI cables, and replicating this cabling increase throughout the network infrastructure presents logistical challenges.To resolve this challenge, Imagine Communications supports Sony’s Networked Media Interface, a new A/V-over-IP interface for IP-based networking that it said provides low-latency transport of UHD/4K video, audio, reference, metadata and control data.

Sony’s Networked Media Interface is said to be able to provide a virtually lossless UHD/4K compressed stream over IP signal. Although such a signal in some cases may require up to 12 Gbps, Sony’s technology is said to provide minimal compression of the signal to enable it to be carried in packet form over common 10 GBEs fiber or twisted pair cabling.

Imagine noted that its Magellan SDN Orchestrator can further facilitate the transition to a 4K workflow. Magellan uses dynamic signal-flow connections, managing signal mappings, addressing, and translations between legacy protocols and IP. It says this hybrid approach to SDN allows the 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 use familiar workflow processes and controls while also managing on- and off-ramps for baseband-over-IP via a software control layer. This solution also leverages existing data center-grade COTS switching technology, avoiding the expense of proprietary IP switching technology routing baseband over IP.