At last year’s National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) show, Intel announced Thunderbolt™ 2, the latest version of its Thunderbolt™ technology, with a bandwidth increase up to 20Gbps that directly improves the way content creators and media professionals work with 4K video. At this year’s NAB show, Intel takes Thunderbolt 2 capability further, with the addition of Thunderbolt™ Networking, a new and exciting way to directly connect computers together with a standard Thunderbolt cable. There are also many new exciting products with Thunderbolt 2 being shown at NAB, such as the Apple Mac Pro*, PCs such as HP’s Z Workstation line, and media devices and displays that add up to a strong ramp of Thunderbolt 2 in the market this year.
Thunderbolt Networking, emulating an Ethernet connection environment, provides 10GbE throughput between two computers. Already released on the Mac with OS X Mavericks*, a PC driver will soon be available to connect two PCs together or a PC to a Mac, adding a new level of workflow flexibility for media professionals. By offering simple and fast file sharing, Thunderbolt Networking enables backup or upgrade across two computers like never before, using existing cables and connectors. A demonstration of Thunderbolt Networking will available in the Intel Zone of the StudioXperience booth at NAB (Booth # – SU621).
Also shown within the Intel Zone are two Thunderbolt 2 based workflow demos. The first demo incorporates an HP ZBook* 15” showing Adobe Premier* with a Blackmagic UltraStudio 4K* and Production Camera 4K, daisy-chained with an LG* Thunderbolt 2 monitor, a LaCie Little Big Disk 2*, and a Promise Pegasus2 M4* storage device. The second demo uses a Mac Pro showing Final Cut Pro* editing, with content served from a LaCie Little Big Disk 2for incredibly fast data storage and backup.
Innovative products based on Thunderbolt 2 continue to draw interest, especially the news that the LG Electronics (LG) 34-inch IPS 21:9 UltraWide (Model UM95) monitor with Thunderbolt™ 2 for Mac and PC is this quarter. The display is UltraWide and can reproduce up to 99% of the sRGB color palette so media enthusiasts will see more of their video, tracks, and photos than ever before.
The number of media devices with Thunderbolt is also growing, with the announcement at NAB from AJA of CION*, an entirely new professional camera. Coming on the heels of the previously released Io 4K with Thunderbolt 2, the CION features an ergonomic design, Thunderbolt port, and is capable of shooting at 4K/UltraHD and 2K/HD resolutions. Other media devices include two recently shipping Thunderbolt 2 products from Blackmagic, the UltraStudio 4K and the Production Camera 4K.
Many new and versatile Thunderbolt storage products have been introduced around NAB, including the Western Digital* My Passport Pro™, the first portable, bus-powered, dual-drive solution to deliver the performance to run the most demanding applications in the field and user-selectable RAID functionality. Promise Technologies announced a new Thunderbolt 2 portable storage solution, the Pegasus2 M4, which provides a highly portable 2.5” HDD/SSD external RAID solution, on the heels of the Pegasus2 R8 launch this past January. At the 2014 CES show, the LaCie™ Little Big Disk featuring Thunderbolt 2 was announced, and is now shipping. Billed as the world’s fastest portable external storage solution, it delivers speeds up to 1,375 MBs and fits in typical sized laptop bag. At NAB, LaCie introduces the 2big, 5big and 8big with Thunderbolt 2, providing video professionals with enough capacity and bandwidth for improving 4K workflows right on the desktop.
Other Thunderbolt 2 products that are being shown at the 2014 NAB show include offerings from AkiTio, ATTO, Cubix, G-Technology (HGST), HighPoint, Magma, mLogic, Maxx Digital, OWC, Sonnet, and others*. Corning*, the maker of 10m, 30m, and 60m optical Thunderbolt cables, is also showing product at NAB.
Workstation-class systems targeted at the content creation market continue to roll out. In addition to the Apple Mac Pro and MacBook Pro, Hewlett-Packard recently extended Thunderbolt across its line of Z workstations, include mobile, desktop, and All-in-One. Lenovo has also started shipping its ThinkPad W540. And recently ASUS began offering a series of Thunderbolt Ready motherboards that work with their Thunderbolt 2 add-in cards.
For video professionals doing 4K productions, the conclusion is simple: find better ways to manage your workflow or struggle to deliver your projects on time and within budget. Industry veteran Gary Adcock, Digital Imaging Technician (DIT) for USA Networks’ new television series Sirens, goes further stating:
“Thunderbolt 2 has fundamentally changed both our Production and Post workflows, while allowing us to perform the most data intensive tasks currently required for 4K production, in an efficient, simple schema without sacrifice to the image or the crew. For today’s video professional, the move to 4K production environments creates data management problems that only Thunderbolt 2 can solve.”
Given that 4K production exponentially increases data requirements, the ability to manage that content now becomes a distinct competitive advantage for content creators. Thunderbolt 2 is the only technology available that can provide the bandwidth, functionality, and ease of use necessary for optimized 4K workflows.
Come see for yourself by checking out the latest developments in Thunderbolt technology at the Intel Zone within the StudioXperience booth at NAB (SU#621)
* Other names and brands may be claimed as the property of others.