Sony Looks Beyond High Definition

Alec Shapiro of Sony

NEW YORK—Sony’s theme at the 2013 NAB Show is “Beyond Definition,” according to Alec Shapiro, president of Professional Solutions of America at Sony Electronics. He noted that every past NAB has been about format wars, SD, HD, 2K, 4K, but that “we’re now focused a lot more on enterprise solutions for broadcasters, corporate, universities, houses of worship and others.”

Shapiro emphasized that the company still has its core broadcast business, estimating Sony’s market share there to be as large as it’s ever been. “But we’ve moved beyond broadcasting to many other markets that use video,” he said. “And we’ve moved beyond the actual hardware that we’re so good at, and are now tackling enterprise solutions with our Media Backbone production systems and enterprise workflow systems.

A big introduction for Sony this year will be optical disk archive. “We think optical disk archive holds tremendous promise for broadcasters and non-broadcasting customers as a low-cost, fast access storage and archive system,” said Shapiro.

The emphasis on optical disk represents Sony’s move from tape-based solutions for archives to disk-based solutions, according to Theresa Alesso, vice president, narketing and product management, PSA. While an obvious customer target will be existing Sony XDCAM users, the company will “also really strongly look at our competitors’ acquisition customers, because we know storage like no other company,” Alesso said.

With UHDTV now on the market, demand for 4K is stronger than ever. Shapiro pointed to the fast uptake of Sony’s F65 8K and F55 4K digital cinema cameras within the production community. “There are at least five television series currently in production with those cameras, and another five pilots being shot,” he said. “The F55s and F65s are a big part of our agenda. And in fact, around a week after NAB is the release of ‘Oblivion,’ which was shot with the F65, and ‘After Earth’ to follow in the summer.”

Alesso emphasized that shouldermount acquisition is not dead. “While we are broadening our portfolio of customers, applications and segments that we go after, broadcast is still an extremely important one for us. So you will still see new decks and shouldermount acquisition targeted at our key broadcast customers that we’ve built our business with over the years.”

From the perspective of broadcast and newsgathering, TV stations have changed, according to Alesso. “We’ve got many cutting-edge customers trying to change the way that they acquire news in the field, and so we’ve developed new, very portable solutions such as our Video Journalism backpack all-in-one field system, so you don’t need a full production crew necessary for the anytime, anywhere they can collect that news and get it on the air expediently.”

Sony’s Media Backbone Production system receives these video files back at the newsroom, where it provides for the news material to be processed and put to air as quickly as possible.

Sony’s OLED monitors have been well received over the past year, said Shapiro. “We’ve got some new OLED monitors that we’ll bring out; we’re expanding that product line.”