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Sony Goes ‘Full Speed Ahead’ with 4K

Fox Sports used Sony’s F55 and F65 cameras at the World Series and Super Bowl to do multiple cut-outs and zooms.Sony is also enhancing the performance of its cameras, with ongoing feature enhancements and firmware updates, with more announcements to be made at the NAB Show.

LAS VEGAS—Sony’s 2014 NAB Show exhibition can be thought of as full speed ahead with 4K. “We’re talking about 4K for 2K productions, 4K for 4K productions,” said Alec Shapiro, president of Sony Professional Solutions. “Essentially 4K for everything and beyond.”

He pointed out the progress the company’s made to flesh out a 4K product line for every application. “We’ve got 4K acquisition products and solutions starting well under $10,000, going up to the F55 at about $35,000 and the F65 at $85,000” Shapiro said. “So we’ve got 4K acquisition solutions at price-points for virtually every application and budget. Depending on the application and budget, we have a 4K answer for you.”

Sony’s solutions for 4K don’t end at acquisition equipment. “We also have 4K flat-panel displays, projectors, and switchers that are 4K capable,” said Shapiro.

All of that said, Sony won’t be introducing any new cameras at this NAB. “What we’ve heard from customers,” he said, “is that rather than introduce new cameras every year, they’d like to see us introduce upgrades to the existing cameras, which is what we’re doing. We’ve made enhancements and upgrades to the F65, which was introduced several years ago, and the F55 and F5 introduced last year.”

Sony’s high-end MVS production switchers have also been given 4K video switching capabilities in the MVS-X series. Existing MVS-7000X and MVS-8000X HD-capable switchers can be upgraded to 4K. One piece of technology in the Sony booth that will not only be must-see but can’t-miss, because of its size, is an 8K projection system that takes the output of two, side-by-side Sony 4K projectors and stitches them together, using edge blending, into a seamless, very wide screen.

Another product that has gone from a technology demonstration last year to a deliverable product now is Sony’s Optical Disc Archive System for video storage. “This year we actually are implementing it, “said Shapiro, “and we have our first proof of concept customer with the Golf Channel.”

Sony will showcase the 4K monitors it displayed last year, along with a 30-inch 4K OLED prototype.

Sony’s Vision Presenter will also be demonstrated in the company’s booth. The interactive presentation solution, with its ability to gang up to five HD resolution pictures on a 4K monitor or projection screen, is attracting attention from the education market, “especially the teaching hospitals,” according to Shapiro. He added that sports stadiums have also expressed excitement about such multi-picture arrays on 85-inch 4K screens for their luxury suites.

The AWS 750 Anycast Touch all-in-one live production system is another product that has gone from prototype to delivering product in the past year. It is aimed at the business, education and house of worship markets.

In the IP transmission arena, Sony will demonstrate its NXL-IP55 IP Live Production Unit, designed to replace multiple video cables by using IP to send those signals over a LAN. The NXL-IP55 allows transmission of up to four genlocked HD video streams (three downstream and one upstream, or two downstream and two upstream) with less than one field delay time. Audio and signals such as tally, GPIO and intercom can be included.

Shapiro said the gap between professionals and consumers continues to narrow when it comes to content acquisition solutions. At Sony’s press event last year, the company unveiled a collection of lenses that are now ready to be sold to both the professional and consumer markets. Those lenses will be featured in the company’s booth at the end of Central Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center.