February 3, 2015

Industry-backed initiative resolves key technology challenges to provide UHD/4K baseband signals over IP

Imagine Communications, a global leader in video infrastructure and workflow management solutions serving the media networks, broadcast stations, on-line and communication service providers and enterprise markets, today announced a key industry initiative underway with Sony to enable the critical transitions to Ultra High Definition/4K, and from legacy SDI to IP-based network infrastructures.

“Together with Sony, we are pleased to initiate an industry-wide adoption of the Sony Networked Media Interface, which resolves the issue of managing the distribution of UHD/4K signals in the network infrastructure,” said Steve Reynolds, CTO 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.”

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

“We are delighted to work closely with Imagine Communications to ensure its end-to-end, market leading portfolio can be a catalyst for fostering and standardizing future architectures that are based on IP, open standards and interoperability,” said Tetsuya Iwamoto, General Manager with Sony. “Sony is committed to being a key driver of this important evolution in our industry.”

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

“The logistical issues associated with the massive bandwidth increase required for UHD/4K are almost forcing the industry to migrate to an IP-centric network environment,” Reynolds added.  “Fortunately, we have enablers that help us in this transition such as Sony’s Networked Media Interface.  Add to that the new capabilities like ubiquitous 10 GBEs and 40 GBE IP switching provided by the reliable IT vendor community and other innovations like Imagine Communications’ recently announced Magellan SDN Orchestrator, and the industry now has complete solutions to enable their gradual transition to UHD/4K.”

The Magellan SDN Orchestrator utilizes dynamic signal-flow connections, managing signal mappings, addressing, and translations between legacy protocols and IP.  This unique, hybrid approach to SDN allows the entire 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 now use familiar workflow processes and controls while also managing on-ramps and off-ramps for baseband over IP via a software control layer, significantly improving the way video is managed throughout broadcast facilities.  This solution also leverages existing data center-grade COTS switching technology that allows media companies to ride the ever-improving cost/performance curve of the IT industry, avoiding the expense of installing proprietary IP switching for the sole purpose of routing baseband over IP.


About Imagine Communications

Imagine Communications empowers the media and entertainment industry through transformative innovation. Broadcasters, networks, video service providers and enterprises around the world rely on our optimized, futureproof, multiscreen video and revenue enablement solutions every day to support their mission-critical operations. Today, nearly half of the world’s video channels traverse our products, and our software solutions drive close to a third of global ad revenue. Through continuous innovation, we are delivering the most advanced IP, cloud-enabled, software-defined network and workflow solutions in the industry. Visit https://imaginecommunications.com for more information, and follow us on Twitter @imagine_comms.

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portatif of Steve Reynolds


Steve Reynolds

Steve Reynolds is President of Imagine Communications, a global leader in multiscreen video and ad management solutions that broadcasters, networks, video service providers and enterprises around the world rely on to support their mission-critical operations.

Steve brings 25 years of technology leadership in the video industry to Imagine Communications. He has served as the CTO at Imagine Communications and Harris Broadcast, Senior Vice President of Premises Technology at Comcast, Senior Vice President of Technology at OpenTV, and CTO at Intellocity USA.

Steve earned a MS in Computer Engineering from Widener University and BS in Computer Science from West Chester University. As the Chairman of the AIMS Alliance and a member of SMPTE and SCTE, he has participated in numerous standards-making bodies in the cable and digital video industries. Steve also holds over 40 patents relating to digital video, content security, interactive television and digital devices.