IBC 2023: Sony Electronics to Enhance Networked Live Offering for Production with New Products and Capabilities

Sony Electronics is enhancing its Networked Live offering with two new products: a remote production unit, CBK-RPU7, for high-quality video transport over 5G networks and a software switcher, M2L-X, to be used in on-premises and cloud environments. In addition, Sony is providing updates to existing products in its Networked Live portfolio. These enhancements support Sony’s vision of combining on-premises and cloud processing with network connectivity to transform the logistics and economics of high-quality live production.

Networked Live is an ecosystem of solutions, product, services, and partners, designed to enable resources (places, people, and processing) to be connected, used, and shared optimally and seamlessly in productions – regardless of their locations. It is based on three main functional pillars: network and resource orchestration; media transport; and hybrid processing and operations.

Network and Resource Orchestration Updates

Network and Resource Orchestration involves configuring equipment and controlling media flows across LAN, WAN, 5G networks, or cloud.

As part of the continuous enhancements to its flagship media orchestration platform, VideoIPath, Nevion has been expanding the platform’s network orchestration capability. Nevion has deployed VideoIPath in the cloud managing ground-to-cloud connectivity. It was also involved in a recent proof-of-concept (PoC) to demonstrate dynamic prioritization of live media signals over 5G.

Nevion’s combination of network orchestration with new ways to support broadcast operations for IP-based infrastructures has also expanded. Several new features have been added to VideoIPath to simplify operations in an environment in which workflows are much more dynamic – enabling customers to unlock the flexibility of IP technology for more efficient ways of working.

Media transport – New Remote Production Unit and More

Media transport involves transmitting video, audio, and data in real-time, reliably and securely across LANs, WANs and 5G networks.

The recent NXL-ME80 Media Edge Processor, featuring Sony’s HEVC ultra low latency codec, expands production capabilities by providing real-time high quality video streams for remote and distributed productions.

Also equipped with Sony’s latest HEVC ultra low latency codec is a brand new CBK-RPU7 production unit, engineered for direct attachment to field camcorders via the V-lock battery mount, or other mounting options.  Its lightweight construction makes it an ideal solution for live field productions which supports 4K SDI video and network connectivity through Ethernet, or 5G (with external modem). Within the production environment, the remote CBK-RPU7 pairs with the NXL-ME80 in another location.

In parallel, Nevion Virtuoso, the software-defined media node, has also recently added several new features to its already substantial media transport and processing capabilities. Virtuoso now offers JPEG XS over TS (VSF TR-07) in addition to ST2110 (VSF TR-08), fast clean switching typically required for shading operations, and support for 3D-LUT color conversion as part of its Up/Down/Cross (UDC) and HDR/SDR conversation capabilities. All these features are available on the carrier-class Virtuoso MI, as well as the smaller form factor Virtuoso RE, which is available to order.

Hybrid Processing & Operations – New Software Switcher and More

Hybrid processing and operations combine on-premises and cloud production, as needed. The new M2L-X is a software-based switcher that expands the established platform and interface of Sony’s existing cloud-based switcher system, M2 Live. It allows video/audio switching, graphics insertion and other production functions to be performed remotely during live broadcasts.

M2L-X can be used as a standalone software, either in a Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) environment, or on-premises. It can then be operated through its GUI, the ICP-X series control panel, and with 3rd party controllers such as Streamdeck from Elegato, providing operators with more flexibility and reactivity during live productions.

The M2L-X can be deployed alongside Sony’s MLS-X1 scalable production switcher, creating a hybrid processing stack, with unified operations through the popular ICP-X7000 control surfaces. With this set-up, operators do not need to think about where the processing engine is located, regardless of whether it is hardware or software. This brings more flexibility to operations, allowing the best resources to be utilized, to and from virtually anywhere, anytime, at any scale. In addition, the open interface of the M2L-X System allows integration with existing live production systems, for advanced graphics, audio mixing or multi viewer, enabling the creation of flexible production environments.

Sony is also announcing SDI capability for the MLS-X1 scalable production switcher, expected to be available in January 2024. With the introduction of an SDI input and output option, Sony Networked Live customers can now transition from pure SDI environments to mixed SDI-IP, and onto pure IP environments. Multiple logical deployments can be made from the same island configuration in parallel or later combined to form different or larger switchers depending on evolving production demands.

The recently introduced CNA-2 camera control network adaptor enables the monitoring, configuration, and control of Sony’s system cameras anywhere in the network. It enables camera systems to integrate into remote and distributed production systems. Sony is also announcing three new software licenses, HZC-RCPCN2, HZC-GWCN2, and HZC-MSUCN2 that can be installed on the CNA-2. With these licenses, CNA-2 users can remotely configure and control multiple system cameras on a network.

The new CBK-RPU7 and M2L-X, as well as many of the products mentioned, will be showcased in Sony’s booth at International Broadcasting Convention (IBC) 2023 in Amsterdam, Sept. 15 to 18. The CBK-RPU7 and M2L-X are expected to be available in spring 2024.

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