Time Warner Cable Sports recently completed two 4K “proof-of-concept” productions in order to assess the current quality of 4K production gear, workflows, and even delivery as the UHD signal was ultimately delivered to a Cisco consumer G-10 set-top box and viewed on a 4K television in the Time Warner Cable Sports studios via HDMI 2.0. The first test, which was held on Dec. 19, was a 4K production of a California high school football championship game at StubHub Center in Carson, CA. The second, on Dec. 23, was of an NBA game between the Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State Warriors at the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles.

The events were produced in an IMS Production truck that operated in a side-by-side mode with the HD production. Four Sony F55 cameras equipped with Canon lenses, four Evertz Dreamcatcher replay systems, and ChyronHego 4K Mosaic graphics played a key role in the production. An Evertz EQX router handled signal transport while a Sony MVS-8000 production switcher was used to cut the show. Evertz VIP multiviewers were also used to bring in quad HD splits of the 4K signals and then create one 4K image. More than 40 Evertz 7814 Series converters were also deployed to help synchronize signals.

Joe Cirincione, Evertz VP of Sales, U.S. Sports and Entertainment, says the 4K image quality was outstanding and that it laid bare the need to move to an IP-based infrastructure so that the massive amounts of data can be moved back and forth quickly enough.

“Evertz software plays a huge role in simplifying the control and configuration of the IP infrastructure,” he says. “For example, routing with the Evertz EQX router was very easy as the MAGNUM software handled all the switching requirements and VistaLINK handled all the timing.”

The Dreamcatcher is IP compatible and can take in native 4K and transfer signals via a simple 10Gbps cable.

“Evertz has been designing and deploying IP infrastructures in facilities all over the world, so when we were approached with this unique and exciting opportunity to be part of an all-4K broadcast, we were eager to deliver,” adds Cirincione.

Signals from the events were transported to a studio at Time Warner Cable via two paths: Time Warner’s fiber network plus a Coastal Media Group satellite uplink. Four Adtec Digital EN100 encoders sent the 4K image as a single MPTS IP stream over four 3G SDI signals before decoding by four Adtec RD 70 decoders. A Cisco AnyRes Live encoder then encoded it as an HEVC stream and sent it to Time Warner Cable’s Lab and Super Headend in Peakview, CO, via the National Video Transport (NVT) network. It was then routed back to LA via Time Warner Cable’s infrastructure before final decode using a Cisco Consumer G-10 set top box and viewing on a 4K set in the studio.