NAB 2016: Imagine Communications Helps Accelerate Transition to UHD
Imagine Communications is helping broadcasters, content distributors, and other media companies simplify and accelerate their transitions to Ultra High Definition (UHD) and related capabilities by providing a comprehensive and versatile portfolio of UHD-enabled solutions. At the NAB Show, the company demonstrated its support for the latest enhancements, including High Dynamic Range (HDR), Hybrid Log-Gamma (HLG) and expanded color gamut, throughout its production, playout, distribution, and monitoring portfolios. Highlighting the versatility of its field-proven UHD portfolio, Imagine Communications also showcased products that are currently supporting commercially deployed UHD workflows in SDI, IP, and hybrid production environments.
The media and entertainment industry is rapidly evolving and the migration to higher-quality video is one of several ongoing and simultaneous technology transitions impacting the entire ecosystem. In many cases, media companies are closely coordinating UHD upgrades with the evolution of their infrastructures to support IP and the transition to software-centric, virtualized environments based on generic compute and networking platforms. Imagine Communications is providing comprehensive support for UHD across its entire solutions portfolio in order to enable media companies to incorporate UHD capabilities into their workflows seamlessly and in a manner that conforms closely to current and future technology roadmaps.
”Imagine Communications recognizes that every broadcaster and content distributor will follow a different path to UHD, depending on a number of unique technology and business factors,” says Steve Reynolds, CTO, Imagine Communications. ”By supporting UHD workflows in SDI, IP and hybrid settings, we are reducing the complexity and cost of supporting next-generation video quality in any media operation and paving the way for our customers to accelerate the adoption of UHD capabilities.”
Imagine Communications supports a broad range of approaches for managing UHD signals, such as the Sony IP Live and intoPIX TICO mezzanine compression formats. The company is also a founding member of the Alliance for IP Media Solutions (AIMS), a trade association dedicated to advancing the widespread adoption of open standards for the transmission of video and audio over IP, as well as solutions based on those standards.
Imagine Communications has integrated UHD and other video-quality enhancement capabilities into its production, playout, and distribution platforms.
Imagine Communications is providing infrastructure for UHD-capable live production facilities on multiple continents in advance of upcoming international sporting events. The company has recently assisted in outfitting a hybrid SDI-IP outside broadcast truck in the Latin American region with advanced routing and media processing equipment to move video signals throughout the production environment at UHD quality. The installation leverages the versatile Selenio MCP processing, compression, and IP networking platform as a top UHD gateway, featuring UHD up- and down-conversion modules that support Sony’s IP Live mezzanine compression format. These new modules enable 10-bit motion-adaptive processing, helping to ensure high video quality and integrity. The system provides seamless integration between the IP and SDI domains. The implementation also includes a core Platinum IP3 router. The Platinum IP3 and the entire line of Imagine Communications baseband routers include support for UHD quad-link SDI, and the new PX-UCIP card. They provide a seamless approach to supporting UHD over IP.
In Europe, Imagine Communications recently assisted NEP, a leader in mobile sports production, in upgrading multiple outside broadcast trucks with UHD capabilities. These hybrid SDI-IP mobile facilities, equipped with Imagine Communications’ Platinum routers and Selenio processing systems configured with UHD up-down conversion modules, fortify NEP with unprecedented cost efficiencies and configuration flexibility, as well as the ability to capture world-class sporting events at the highest levels of video quality.
”Imagine Communications has surmounted the timing and synchronisation challenges in a mobile production centre that has to switch in and out of UHD/4K resolutions depending upon assignment requirements,” says Rob Newton, Director of Engineering and Technology at NEP UK. ”Selenio MCP is compact and energy efficient and allows licenses for up and down conversion to be added as required. It provides the perfect balance of performance and flexibility.”
NAB Show 2016 also marked the debut of the Imagine Communications EPIC Multiviewer (EPIC MV), a software-based, UHD-ready and IP-compatible multiviewer optimized for hybrid and highly-demanding production requirements. EPIC MV, the first product based on EPIC, a next-generation operational management platform, builds on Imagine Communications’ rich history in operational monitoring and multi-image display technology, extending many of the features and capabilities of the company’s multiviewers to high-bandwidth monitoring in IP- and UHD-based environments.
UHD-related enhancements to the already versatile Imagine Communications playout portfolio were also displayed at NAB Show 2016, highlighted by the company’s market-leading Nexio video servers. Nexio+ encoding capabilities now support H.264/XAVC for Class-300/480 at 2160p 50/5995 video quality. Imagine Communications also demonstrated playback capabilities of the Nexio+ family using H.265/HEVC compression to deliver 2160p 23/24/25/29/50/59 output.
Nexio Channelbrand, the multichannel branding solution that enables broadcasters to combine integrated branding and video playback functions into a single, flexible platform, is now fully UHD-capable and was showcased at NAB Show 2016. Support for UHD-quality logos, time/temperature display, rolls, and crawls and other content enables broadcasters and other media companies to more forcefully enforce and enhance their brands.
Imagine Communications is also infusing its compression and distribution portfolio with comprehensive support for UHD and H.265/HEVC compression, as well as HDR. Imagine Communications showcased live, real-time HEVC encoding of UHD, featuring the SelenioFlex Live solution, at NAB Show 2016. The latest version of SelenioFlex Live also supports HEVC-encoded HD and SD content, enabling content distributors to maximize available storage and bandwidth and boost the quality of video sent over low-bandwidth connections.
By supporting HEVC UHD Main 10 and Interoperable Master Format (IMF) file-based transcoding, SelenioFlex File enables UHD on-demand workflows for content distributors and other media companies. Imagine Communications also demonstrated support for HDR 10 workflows at NAB Show 2016. The software-based nature of Imagine Communications’ compression solutions, which are powered by the Zenium next-generation workflow management fabric, enables SelenioFlex and other Imagine Communications’ compression platforms to quickly and seamless integrate support for current or future HDR formats.
”It’s clear that media companies desire an upgrade path to UHD and related video-quality enhancements that is non-disruptive to current or long-term technology adoption plans and does not force them into costly infrastructure overhauls that drastically accelerate normal product refresh cycles,” adds Reynolds. ”Imagine Communications’ multifaceted approach to UHD was purposely constructed to take much of the stress and expense out of incorporating a higher level of video quality into our customers’ workflows.”