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Sony Expands 4K Push at NAB Show

LAS VEGAS—Sony is returning to the NAB Show with the same “Beyond Definition” as last year, but little else has stood still for the company over a year’s time.

The Sony exhibit—although slightly downsized from year’s past, will still be the largest booth at the show—will highlight new technologies for every area of broadcast and production—from 4K to IP to wireless streaming solutions.

NBC’s new hit show “The Blacklist” is shot on multiple Sony F55’s in 4K RAW. “We’ve had significant successes over the last year in several areas,” said Alec Shapiro, president of Sony’s Professional Solutions Americas group. “Many of TV’s top-rated shows as well as new programming for streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu and Amazon are shot on Sony 4K cameras. We’ve had a lot of success in 4K live for sports, for example working with Fox on their Super Zoom technology. At NAB we’re going to continue to demonstrate real working solutions for 4K content creation, editing and distribution.”

FIRMWARE UPDATES

While Sony doesn’t have an entirely new camera introduction on the high end of 4K large imager cameras, it has added improvements and features through firmware updates to existing cameras. “That’s an area where Sony has done a terrific job with cameras like the F65, F55 and others,” said John Studdert, vice president, U.S. sales and marketing for Sony’s Professional Solutions Americas. “We’re future-proofing our customers who have already made an investment. For example, in the F55, our sixth firmware release, coming out in the April-May timeframe, will add support for Pro Res RGB.”

Rob Willox, senior marketing manager, content creation for Sony’s Professional Solutions Americas, added that “the wonderful thing about this is that as customers use our equipment and send back information to us, we’re able to dynamically add features that— when the camera was first delivered—we never thought we would or could support, but we can now integrate them.”

In the past several years, Sony has shown a growing family of lenses at NAB, aimed at cameras with its E-mount lens mounts. This year will see four new (Sony Alpha) E-mount lenses, as well as two sets of new ultra-wide and fisheye converters.

On the switcher front, the company will show a new switcher mainframe “that embraces 4K over IP, with completely new processing and new architecture, to go with the panel we just released a few months ago,” Studdert said. “It will take full advantage of our Networked Media Interface technology, that our alliance partners have agreed to put in their products to assure compatibility and also with other third party vendors that we hope to be working with.”

FIRST 4K OLED MONITOR

Sony will also use the NAB Show to introduce the BVM-X300, the company’s first 4K OLED monitor. “We’ve done previews for customers and the response has really been outstanding,” Studdert said. “We truly expect it to become the standard for colorists.”

Based on Sony’s Trimaster EL OLED panel technology, the new monitor combines 4K resolution with high dynamic range and a wide color gamut display. The HDR mode lets users view the entire range of an image accurately and clearly, and the BVM-X300 can display ITU-R BT709 and DCI-P3 color gamuts more accurately than any previous Sony Trimaster display, as well as 80 percent of the new ITU-R BT2020 color gamut.

The PMW-PZ1, Sony’s new SxS memory player will debut at the show this year. The PMW-PZ1 is a cost-effective playback solution for 4K/HD shooting and post-production applications. The multiformat player supports 4K (24p to 60p) and HD video, and a variety of formats including XAVC Intra and Long, MPEG HD422 and MPEG HD.

Sony is also demonstrating a range of content distribution options, from IPbased technologies to live streaming and wireless file transfer for ENG applications using Sony’s XDCAM wireless-enabled shoulder-mount and compact camcorders. Sony cameras introduced over the last year, such as the PXW-FS7, PXW-X180 and PXW-X70 will be on display, showing off newly upgraded features like new codec support, enhanced 4K recording capabilities, live streaming and file transfer capabilities.

The sports market continues to be a significant part of Sony’s business. In addition to a growing list of projects managing A/V system and control room installations for professional sports teams, Sony is also unveiling new plans for the U.S. sports market based on its Hawkeye “smart production” technology.

Speaking of sports, not all of Sony’s camera news is about upgrades. Sony will also unveil a new camera that addresses many of the challenges faced by live sports broadcast producers. At presstime, there are no model names or further details on the camera available, but look for long lines in that part of Sony’s booth, located in the Central Hall.