Sony Continues to Enhance its Networked Live Offering for Remote and Distributed Production with new Products and Capabilities

Amongst others, Sony adds a new remote production unit for high-quality video transport over 5G (1) and a software switcher for hybrid production.

Amsterdam, 14th September 2023 – As part of its continuous enhancements of its Networked Live offering, Sony today revealed two new products: a new remote production unit CBK-RPU7, for high-quality video transport over 5G networks, and a software switcher, M2L-X, usable both on-premises and in the cloud. In addition, Sony is providing updates to its some of the existing products in its Networked Live portfolio. All these enhancements are part of delivering Sony’s vision of combining hybrid on-premises and cloud processing with network connectivity to transform the logistics and economics of high-quality mission critical live production.

Launched at IBC 2022, 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. The enhancements announced today run across all three pillars.

Network and resource orchestration – continuous updates

Networks and resource orchestration involves configuring equipment and controlling media flows across LAN, WAN, 5G networks, or cloud. As part of its continuous enhancements of its flagship media orchestration platform, VideoIPath, Nevion (a Sony Group company) has been expanding the platform’s network orchestration capability. Amongst others, Nevion has successfully deployed VideoIPath in the cloud managing ground-to-cloud connectivity. It was also involved recently in a proof-of-concept (PoC) to demonstrate dynamic 

prioritization of live media signals over 5G for the recent King’s Coronation.

Nevion’s vision of combining state-of-the-art network orchestration with new and innovative ways to support broadcast operations for IP based infrastructures has also taken further steps forwards in recent months. 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.

At NAB 2023, Sony introduced the NXL-ME80, a Media Edge Processor for WAN transport, which was first product to include Sony’s new HEVC Ultra Low Latency encoding technology. This technology combines a high compression ratio, very low latency, and the maintenance of the highest picture quality for remote and distributed live productions. The new remote production unit, CBK-RPU7, is also equipped with Sony’s Ultra Low Latency HEVC codec. This new unit’s form factor enables it to fit on Field Cameras such as Camcorders, using the V-lock battery mount for example, and connecting via SDI – making it a lightweight solution for field Live Production. It is ideal for use in 5G networks (2)

(together with a modem) but is also suitable for wired network with limited bandwidth. In a production environment, the CBK-RPU7 encoder is paired with the NXL-ME80 for decoding.

In parallel, Nevion Virtuoso, the software-defined media node, has also seen several new features added in recent months to its already substantial media transport and processing capabilities. Amongst others, Virtuoso now offers JPEG XS over TS (VSF TR-07) in addition to ST2110 (VSF TR-08), fast clean switching typically required for example for shading operations, and support for 3D-LUT colour 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 announced at NAB 2023 and available to order now.

Hybrid Processing & Operations – new software switcher and more

Hybrid processing and operation means combining 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 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 (3), and via with 3rd party controllers such as Streamdeck from Elegato – thereby providing operators 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 (4). With this set-up, operators do not need to think where the processing engine is located, whether it is hardware or software. This brings more flexibility to operations and allowing the best their resources to be utilized, to from anywhere, anytime at any scale. In addition, the open interface (5) of M2L-X System allows the integration with existing live production systems, for advanced graphics, audio mixing or multi viewer for example, enabling the creation of flexible production environments.

Additionally, Sony is announcing the availability from January 2024 of an SDI capability for the MLS-X1 scalable production switcher. 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, later combined to form different or larger switchers depending on production demands as they change over time.

At NAB, Sony introduced the CNA-2 camera control network adaptor, which enables the monitoring, configuration, and control of Sony system cameras anywhere in the network. It enables camera systems to integrate into remote and distributed production systems. Sony is also announcing today three new software licenses HZC-RCPCN2 ,HZC-GWCN2, and HZC-MSUCN2 (6)that can be installed on the CNA-2. With these licenses, CNA-2 users can remotely configure and control multiple system cameras on the network.

The new CBK-RPU7 and M2L-X, as well as most of the other products mentioned above, will be showcased on Sony’s booth at International Broadcasting Convention (IBC) 2023 in Amsterdam from September 15th to 18th 2023.

Find out more at pro. sony/ibc

(1) Currently, it supports local 5G and private 5G. Public 5G is scheduled to be supported in the fall of 2024 onward.

(2) For details of 5G usage, please kindly consult local sales company. 5G devices are needed for 5G transmission.

(3) It will be supported the fall of 2024 onward

(4) It will be supported the fall of 2024 onward.

(5) An interface that performs various controls of video and audio signals using general-purpose or dedicated protocols.

(6) HZC-RCPCN2 and HZC-GWCN2 will be available at the same time as the CNA-2 in December 2023. HZC-MSUCN2 will be available spring 2024 onward.

About Sony Corporation

Sony Corporation is a wholly owned subsidiary of Sony Group Corporation and is responsible for the Entertainment, Technology & Services (ET&S) business. With the vision of “continuing to deliver Kando and Anshin (*) to people and society across the world through the pursuit of technology and new challenges,” Sony Corporation supports the Sony Group with technology to create the entertainment of the future together with creators.

For more information, visit: https://www.sony.net/

About Networked Live

Sony and Nevion’s Networked Live is an ecosystem of solutions, products, services, and partners that combines hybrid on-premises and Cloud processing with network connectivity to transform the logistics and economics of high-quality mission critical live production. It does this by enabling resources (places, people, and processing) to be connected, used, and shared optimally and seamlessly in productions – regardless of their locations. For more information, check: https://nevion.com/sony-nevion/

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