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Article: OB Report - Televisual - May 2017

4K UHD outside broadcasts are no longer a rarity. Most of the major OB players are now capable of supplying a 4K OB production.

BT Sport and Sky’s commitment to UHD in the UK is solid. If there was ever any doubt, it’s clear now that 4K UHD production of big budget sports events will certainly not be a flash in the pan. “Without doubt UHD is set to become the standard for any high-end production,” says Richard Yeowart, founder and CEO, Arena Television, a company that has several 4K UHD IP based OB trucks in operation. “Sport has tended to drive the market due to the higher budgets and need for bleeding-edge production techniques. As we also switch on extra features like HDR the viewers will start to expect more content to be available in UHD. UHD-HDR will really blow people away.”

But while there are many 4K UHD capable OB units in operation in the UK and worldwide, few so far have been based on an IP infrastructure. 4K UHD trucks based on traditional SDI require a quad HD solution, which means a lot of extra cables compared to a standard HD truck and therefore a lot of extra weight and space headaches.

An IP solution is therefore the key to making 4K UHD a more manageable workflow for OB, but there’s been a little reticence among many about taking the leap into IP as operators wait for the manufacturers’ standards to converge. “The reservations have largely centred around potential interoperability issues,” says Stuart Hall, senior project engineer at Presteigne Broadcast Hire. “IPTV makes perfect sense, but at the moment there’s an awful lot of edge conversion required for IP-based capture, transmission and delivery. Any conversion process may introduce latency issues, but once standardised IP connectivity is included in all relevant technology and we no longer have to do edge conversion, IP suddenly becomes something of a no brainer.”

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