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The trends of 2023: 4K/UHD and NDI adoption

Chris Smeeton, director, Argosy, tells TVBEurope about the on-going move to producing content in 4K/UHD, and why he expects NDI adoption will continue to grow in the broadcast industry.

What industry trends have particularly stood out for you in 2023, and why?

The amount of content being played out right now in genuine 4K/UHD, rather than upscaled 1080i/HDR, is still pretty sparce. It’s restricted only to the biggest of sporting events, e.g. the FIFA 2022 World Cup.

However, 4K/UHD broadcast equipment prices have fallen significantly over the last 12 months, so broadcasters and OTT companies are now in a position to be able to capture content in native 4K more cost-effectively.

The reasons for this fall in price are advances in manufacturing processes and economies of scale across the supply chain that have led to cost reductions, making 4K/UHD broadcasting a more affordable choice. We are starting to see more requests for 4K/12G coaxial cabling and associated products, such as connectors.

From Argosy’s perspective it has been about getting the 12G component costs level down so that we can help broadcasters make the switch to 4K/UHD using their existing SDI infrastructure. For example, we managed to lower the cost of our 12G BNC barrel (that fits inside our termination panels) to a level that matched very closely our original 3G barrel. We also did the same for our patch panels to produce 12G versions.

All our termination panels are now UHD-ready as standard. We will soon be moving all our Argosy branded patch panels over to UHD only.  The U-links and patch cords already are.

How do you see those trends developing further in 2024?

We see this trend continuing, especially within broadcast centres, machine rack rooms, editing suites and in outside broadcast trucks – anywhere that infrastructure needs to be moved/changed at short notice.

Do you expect to see any new trends within the industry in 2024, and what will they be?

I think the use of NDI will continue to grow in broadcast driven by an increase in streaming services and pop-up channels. At IBC in September, there were certainly a lot more products supporting NDI on the market, such as BirdDog and Marshall cameras, AJA converters and a host of studio tools. 

The challenge for companies like Argosy will be to develop and stock competitive, reliable solutions from reputable, high-quality sources that support and assist the installers that integrate NDI devices and workflows into broadcast and AV systems.