Ultra HD has now reached critical mass for production use. “The challenge now is how to get it to the home,” according to Mike Cronk, Grass Valley’s senior VP of strategic marketing.
The company is involved in next year’s launch of terrestrial UHD in South Korea, and he feels that all UHD needs now is the business case to drive it forward.
Grass Valley’s upgradable UHD cameras, which take B4 broadcast lenses and have the deep depth of field required for sports production, are already doing well, and “we are having success with the Dyno Universe, which is the only server that can do 4x 4K inputs and two outputs. That’s significant because if you look at sports production today, four to six inputs is key. Others can only do one or two 4K inputs, which impacts rack space and operational budgets,” he claimed.
However, one problem with UHD production has been the need for four wires (4x 3G-SDI), so Grass Valley is introducing one wire IP production using lightweight Tico compression, “which is getting a lot of momentum because it is low latency and can be virtually lossless at 4:1. It is ideal for production”, he said.
It will be introduced as an option for its K-Frame production switcher and the LDX-86 camera system, where it is one of the options for the new XF fibre transmission base station, which uses SMPTE Hybrid fibre and gives one-wire UHD plus extended dynamic range.
Cronk believes that high dynamic range is significant because “it doesn’t require a lot of extra bandwidth in the system, but the impact on what the viewer can see is immense. That’s not to say that the high resolution [of UHD] isn’t important, but HDR 1080p is also becoming a prospect.”