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EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW with Sony’s Moriharu Ide: “Broadcast Asia 2019 will showcase the first 8K studio camera in Asia outside Japan”11 min read

15 June 2019 9 min read


EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW with Sony’s Moriharu Ide: “Broadcast Asia 2019 will showcase the first 8K studio camera in Asia outside Japan”11 min read

Reading Time: 9 minutes

Sony Electronics Asia Pacific invited earlier in the week to talk about Content Creation in APAC region, the philosophy of Sony Professional business in APAC, 4K realisation as well as some key highlights for Broadcast Asia 2019. We interviewed Mr. Moriharu Ide, Division Managing Director, Professional Solutions Company, Sony Electronics Asia Pacific.Mr. Moriharu Ide is the Division Managing Director of Professional Solutions Company, Asia Pacific (PSAP). Based in Singapore, he is responsible for Sony’s professional solutions businesses across the region, covering content creation, projection display, medical, digital cinema, video security and more. With more than two decades of working experience in Sony, Mr. Ide has helmed various roles in different countries across the Asia Pacific region including Taiwan, Hong Kong and Japan. Prior to his current role, Mr. Ide held the position – President of Professional Solutions China (PSC) at Sony (China) Limited, where he expanded the professional solutions business in China and spearheaded new functions such as research and development (R&D), systems integration, training, financial leasing, among others.

Under his leadership, PSC expanded its sales volume, a fivefold increase, achieving top position in terms of market share in HD and 4K content productions. Further, he spearheaded the setup of in-house solutions function, and delivered 200 turnkey projects encompassing both studio and OB vans well-equipped with HD and 4K capabilities. Mr. Ide holds a Bachelor’s degree from Tokyo University of Foreign Studies. What are the key highlights that we can look forward to in Broadcast Asia (BCA) 2019?

Ide-San: This year, we are faced with a big challenge as the current market landscape of the Asia-Pacific (AP) region is very diversified. Some regions like Australia, Vietnam, Taiwan, and Singapore; they are very much interested in 4K and beyond as they are looking at how Japan; in particular how Japan Broadcasting Corporation (NHK) is doing with their 8K broadcast.

That’s why we have decided to bring in the first 8K studio camera (UHC-8300) to BCA. This is its debut in the asian trade show circuit outside Japan. We will also bring in the new Crystal LED displays as Sony’s philosophy is to provide solutions for their customers from “lens to display”. The Crystal LED Display which measures 5.6 x 3 meters or 2K x 4K, can do up to 120 Frames Per Second (FPS), has High Dynamic Range (HDR) and has a 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio.

There is very high interest in the whole realm of 4K and beyond so we have to showcase these products to them, allowing them to understand what is happening; not just from a technical standpoint, but by using the 8K studio camera, we are able to show our customers in the AP region every possible application that comes along with the technology. Take for example, in 8K acquisition, part of the 8K screen can be used as a cutout (windowed sensor); which is one of the applications we would like to encourage our customers to think about.

The distribution for 8K content is still far away, so that’s why while we are using 8K products, the distribution can still be done in 4K; which is one of the proposals from us at Sony. For the developing countries in Southeast Asia whom have not migrated to HD yet, we have to continue to cater an affordable range of products to them. That is why we are also showcasing new products in this segment as well.

In the past, television (TV) broadcasters made up the bulk of our customer base. These broadcasters are still our customers, but now the industry is very much diversified with Over-The-Top (OTT) platforms, filmmakers, YouTube content creators, and freelancers. So that’s why in order for us to fulfil the requirements from all these content creators, we need to think of something different.

A good example is “REA-C1000 Edge Analytics Appliance”, which is an AI-based technology product that Sony has introduced in January this year. This product was originally developed for higher education, but we believe this can be utilised for content creators and broadcasters as well. In today’s media landscape, many companies and individuals are working with small or very limited budgets, so we want to make sure we have a very cost-effective solution for them. For example, in the past we had green and blue screens for colour separation overlay (CSO). Today, you do without it because with Edge Analytics, the AI does the job.

In the past, we curated the showcases at BCA to fit the needs of broadcasters, but this year we are showing the full line of our products and solutions. If we feel that we have some other product features that non-broadcast content creators can use, we will showcase that as well. This is because we should not be limiting the products based on what we think the customers want, but let the customers’ decide and listen to their feedback. What are the benefits of Sony’s latest product line up over your competitors? (This question is focused in the area of 4K/8K, HDR, HFR)

Ide-San: From Sony’s perspective, there are 5 elements that decide the quality of the acquired content. Firstly, resolution such as 8K, 4K and HD is one of the important elements. The second would be dynamic range; be it HDR or Standard Dynamic Range (SDR). The third element is frame rate; like 50p, 100p, or even 150p and beyond. Following that, the 4th element relates to the 2nd element; which is colour space. We don’t just need HDR, we also need a wider range of colour gamuts. The final element is quantisation. In order for us to hit colour degradation marks, we need a higher bit rate. So how we optimise these 5 elements is Sony’s philosophy.

At Sony we’re very balanced in our product line-up, especially for HDR range. Everyone in Asia will know the benefits of HDR in time to come since consumers are already experiencing HDR on their phones. TV stations need HDR and SDR in simultaneous operations because at home, we still use SDR. And if production is only focused on HDR, the dynamic range will become a disaster because a vast majority of TVs out there can’t display HDR content. We have the HDRC-4000 (HDR Production Converter Unit) that simultaneously converts signals to 4K HDR, 4K SDR, HD HDR or HD SDR; whereby the hue is automatically adjusted.

I believe the majority of broadcasters know the benefits of 4K HDR. How they will realise the benefits is through providing the same HD SDR picture quality as what is currently in broadcast, and Sony’s solution to that is the automatic hue adjustment to satisfy the broadcasters’ requirements. The simultaneous broadcasting of content as what I mentioned earlier will be the biggest headache for customers; so that’s why we are here to provide such a solution. We know that NHK has already started broadcasting in 8K. And with some major international sporting events happening over the next two years, what can we expect to see from Sony?

Ide-San: As mentioned earlier for 8K production, we have and will be showcasing the UHC-8300. Together with our wide array of studio cameras, Sony is committed to support all broadcasters who have interest in 8K production. As for what’s to come, all I can say is Sony is committed to delivering solutions that meet the needs of our customers. Traditionally, a lot of technical input for the equipment tends to come from the North American and European markets. Does Sony have plans to include the APAC filmmakers in their product development roadmap?

Ide-San: As mentioned earlier, in the APAC region, we have many countries that make up a very diversified market. The good thing is, there are some commonalities within as well. These commonalities are very similar to the Chinese, Middle Eastern or Japanese markets. That’s why we are trying to pick up the requests from all our customers, then integrate and try to develop new products to answer their needs.

Take the case of Sony’s 4K camcorder, the PXW-Z280 as an example. It was finally equipped with the face detection autofocus function because we strongly felt the demand in APAC Region after talking to customers. This is because manual focusing in 4K is sometimes very tough. HD is more forgiving, but it is very obvious when the image is just slightly out of focus in 4K. That’s why autofocus is one of the supporting tools which encourages our customers to come on board with 4K. The design team then decided to modify the feature and implement it into the Z280.

Our internal philosophy is beyond no boundaries, we should not be limiting ourselves; we have to be open to everybody, and we have to be open to sell any product to anyone. Are there any strategic moves that Sony is planning to convert traditional broadcasters who are broadcasting in HD (especially those in the APAC region) to start moving up to deliver their content in 4K?

Ide-San: We have a couple of approaches. For the high-end market, they like the studio cameras. Although we are making an effort to mark down the cost, it’s not so easily achieved in such a short time. On the other hand, from time to time, we launch affordable 4K products; the Z280 is an example. That is why on one hand, our high-end products appeal to mainstream broadcasters. On the other hand, our implementation encourages smaller-scale broadcasters to upgrade to 4K by using the affordable products.

There has been similar discussions from ten years ago; about how the industry would move from SD to HD. Whenever I spoke with broadcasters about HD, a vast majority told me the move to HD cannot be justified. Therefore, we need some form of trigger to stimulate this market. In the case of HD, Japan triggered worldwide interest after her implementation. Then everyone else followed suit after seeing how things would work out for them. The broadcast of international major sporting events is one of the triggers; with NHK leading the new technology back then. Once the audience has seen the HD content, they cannot go back to watching SD.

That’s why it’s not about how broadcasters can increase their revenue; if they do not migrate to HD, their revenue will decrease because that is not the quality of content that consumers want. In the case of 4K, I am expecting the OTT platforms to take the lead. There are already many 4K TV sets in the homes of consumers, and even small camcorders have the ability to record in 4K. With that in mind, consumers are already enjoying 4K OTT content at home, so they can tell the difference when they switch between the 4K OTT content and HD broadcast. In order for broadcasters to compete with the OTT platforms, they have to go 4K. If they stick to HD, their market share will be eroded by OTT platforms. The media landscape for content delivery has changed over the last decade; even more so for the last five years. More and more people, especially Gen Z, millennials and Gen X (which make up a huge chunk of the APAC population) are consuming their content via the OTT platforms. Do you think that traditional broadcasters (who make up a large proportion of your customers) are in danger of going out of business if they do not innovate and deliver a different type of experience from the OTT platforms?

Ide-San: When OTT platforms first started their operations in the USA, everybody said that traditional broadcasters would be heavily impacted. I agree to some extent; but in reality, now that we can see the figures, the broadcast operations were not that heavily impacted. This is because what the OTT platforms offerings are different from the traditional broadcasters. For example, it is very difficult for the OTT platforms to handle the Super Bowl, or any large scale international sporting event. Not just from a financial perspective, but also in the area of resources, coverage, and everything else that goes into putting out that image live onto the consumers’ TV sets; that’s something only traditional broadcasters can manage.

OTT platforms might able cover something on the smaller scale like college football, while NBC or ABC Sports will cover the NFL. Some areas are good for the OTT platforms to cover, but it doesn’t mean that the whole content creation market will be taken by them. There still is a segment that only traditional broadcasters can execute well – the live events. Via network, there will always be latency issues. For example, comparing a live programme broadcast with the OTT platforms delivering the same content, you will notice that there would be a significant amount of delay from the OTT platforms. Only broadcasters have access to the satellite transmission pipeline, so they should take advantage of that.

In the aspect of original content, whoever owns the intellectual property(IP) has the advantage. So on that note, as long as broadcasters continue to create their own unique IPs they are pretty much safe rather than buying; they will see the benefits in the long run as long as the IPs belong to them.


For more information about SONY’s showcase at BCA 2019 please visit them at booth #4N4-01, Level 4 Suntec Singapore, from 18 – 20 June 2019.

I have a passion for motion picture; which in that is the magic of make believe. New technologies that change the way we acquire content is what excites me. I enjoy cooking and cycling outside of work =)
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