NAB Reflections: Wave Central Targets 4K, HDR Transmission

Hands-on, custom approach helps the RF specialist serve sports-video production

When it comes to RF transmission in sports-video production, few do it better — and are more hands-on — than Wave Central. At NAB 2018, the company demonstrated its commitment to remaining on the cutting edge of this rapidly evolving media space with a collection of new products designed to support the growing 4K and HDR markets.

“Our clients really want to find out right now what’s up with 4K?” says EVP Anthony Sangiovanni. “How do we make this transition? The way that I look at it is, I have a lot of 4K technology going on and we have many options that most other companies can’t offer.”

At NAB 2018, Wave Central showed off both a new camera-back RF transmitter (shown) and an encoder/decoder set, all capable of 4K and HDR transmission.

Among the highlights at the company’s booth was the AXTX-4K transmitter. The camera-back model should be available in the next couple of weeks, with either Gold- or V-mount battery plates. Also exhibited, the AXTX-4K+ transmitter is a similar size but also has embedded remote camera control and has paint functionality built in for easy collaboration with a Grass Valley, Sony, Panasonic, Ikegami, or Hitachi camera.

“The concept is building 4K technology and using that same basis of technology to offer something to the American market,” says Sangiovanni. “I don’t see 4K taking off in the States very quickly, and that largely has to do with the investments that have been made on HDR, 60p. It’s about managing bandwidth.

Besides the traditional RF solutions, Wave Central debuted the AX4K Transport set of encoders and decoders. These boxes are built from the ground up and are highly customized to the needs of many of Wave Central’s sports-production clients.

“These are the heart and soul of our 4K technology that everybody is using for wireless,” says Sangiovanni. “It’s way smaller than many of the options on the market.”

He notes that the hands-on work he and his company do with their clients, specifically in sports, are what make him most proud. “This is what sets Wave Central apart. There are no cookie-cutter solutions. Every customer and every project for us is a custom install. Two venues may be the same, and we may be working with very similar equipment, but support from Wave Central is going to be custom-fit for that area.”