NAB Perspectives: Motorola’s Schaffer Bets on Higher Resolution

To keep growing its business in the sports space, Motorola is betting on higher resolution. At the NAB Show, the company is showcasing encoders and receivers that are compatible with the upper echelon of HD resolution, 1080p/60, and helping distribution networks future-proof themselves.

“For sports, you really want the temporal resolution of 1080p/60,” says Director of Product Marketing Mark Schaffer. “When there’s an affiliate operator that is ready to distribute 1080p/60 content to their customers for a higher level of viewing experience, we can help get their system ready with our encoders and receivers.”

Transitioning to 1080p/60 will not, however, ostracize customers who do not upgrade their set-top boxes. Motorola receivers can extract 720p/60 from the higher-resolution stream, so that there is no change to the legacy operators.

“When those operators are ready to take the step up, they basically change the mode of their receiver and output the 1080p/60,” Schaffer says. “That 1080p/60 distribution is a use case for full-resolution 3D.”

As viewers move on from the initial “wow” factor of 3D programming, they will want to experience truly high-resolution 3D, which is more than is currently available with frame-compatible 3D.

“For sports programming, we’re currently doing half resolution for the left and right so that you can use existing HD formats,” Schaffer explains. “When you compare that to the Blu-ray format, which is full resolution per eye, especially for sports content, you do see a noticeable difference. This could be the next step in the evolution; we would be an enabler for that type of distribution.”

For the full Motorola line of products, Schaffer says, sports has become a superset of everything that the company does.

“Sports does force us to provide a superset of functionality, because of the agile control of all of the receivers,” he adds. “If we develop the right sports-network system for command and control, it can be used by everybody, for movies, nature shows, etc.”