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Sony Gears up for 5G Transformation

Posted on Apr 16, 2024 by FEED Staff

With the launch of the PDT-FP1 for high-speed, low-latency video transmission, Sony reinforces its readiness for the new world of 5G-based live production

Sponsored editorial

Even before participating in its first test with Deutsche Telekom at the 2019 Berlin Marathon, Sony was aware that 5G was going to be a transformational live production technology.

The low latency, high bandwidth and positioning accuracy of 5G meant it was always destined to resonate with broadcasters producing live sports and news coverage.

Many of Sony’s 5G initiatives since that first trial have revolved around optimising the technology for demanding live applications.

Developing a solution that allows the network prioritisation of specific cameras to be kept on air has been a major focus, with a preview at IBC 2022 leading to several trials.

Perhaps the most high-profile of these was during the coronation of King Charles III in May 2023, where the media orchestration platform VideoIPath from the Sony subsidiary Nevion demonstrated live media signal prioritisation over 5G connectivity.

Underlining the collaborative spirit that has been evident in all of the 5G demos, the successful test saw Sony and Nevion collaborate with BBC R&D and private 5G SA networks developer Neutral Wireless.

A number of commercially available products – all part of the Sony Networked Live ecosystem for remote and distributed production – have emerged from this extensive period of research, development and demonstration.

For instance, the new CBK-RPU7, introduced at IBC 2023, provides high-quality HEVC encoding of UHD/HD images with ultra-low latency. It reduces the very high data rates made by the camera to those more suited to uplink to a 5G network.

“The CBK-RPU7 is a powerful addition, creating the possibility of a more streamlined workflow for connecting remote teams to studios and live production environments.  HEVC encoded images delivered over the network can be decoded using the Sony NXL-ME80 media edge processor as a receiver,” says Peter Sykes, strategic technology development manager for Sony Europe. “It has been designed for very critical applications, for example where you are looking for an encode-decode latency suitable for the most demanding live production scenarios.”

Sony’s ‘remarkable’ new 5G transmitter

Now the company has unveiled its latest innovation for 5G content creation: the PDT-FP1 portable data transmitter.

Showcased at Mobile World Congress (MWC) in February 2024 ahead of being made available in selected European countries later in the year, the PDT-FP1 has proven to be ‘a real eye-opener’, according to Sykes.

“At first sight and from a distance, it looks very much like a smartphone,” Sykes says. In fact, the PDT-FP1 is focused on data only, and offers mmWave and sub-6 capabilities, supporting the sustained high-speed transmission of video and still images.

Everything about the PDT-FP1 has been designed to optimise the delivery of very-high-quality, professionally generated video or still images out in the field and potentially over extended operation, hence the simple camera attachment feature and highly effective heat dissipation structure.

The benefits of the latter became apparent during MWC, where ‘the device was running constantly for nearly 11 hours each day, and remained cool during the event’.

Integrating optimal antenna design and versatile input interfaces, the PDT-FP1 delivers high-speed, stable communication that fully caters to professional demands, while offering simple operability.

With the solution receiving an enthusiastic response from MWC visitors, Sykes indicates it’s very much a case of right product, right time as broadcasters and service providers across the board engage more fully with 5G.

Use of the technology for distributed production, which began to gain traction amid the challenging circumstances of the pandemic, has been particularly noticeable.

More generally, Sykes is of no doubt that we are at the beginning of what promises to be a highly transformational period for live contribution and production.

“The prospect of applying the wider capability of 5G to live production is powerful. Many media organisations and creators we are speaking to are thinking the same,” he adds. “We’re excited about what the coming months and years will bring.”

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This sponsored editorial was first published in the Spring 2024 issue of FEED.

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