Panasonic KAIROS: IT/IP Video Switcher Platform

Our partners at Panasonic have a new production switcher available that is 2110 native. It’s called KAIROS. Harry Patel, Engineering Manager at Panasonic recently joined an episode of Inputs/Outputs to provide an overview and demonstrate KAIROS 100% remotely from the Panasonic demo room in New Jersey. Before we get into it, if you are interested in seeing Panasonic’s KAIROS in action, please contact Key Code Media. We’d be happy to provide a demonstration, pricing information, or design a turnkey production workflow around the KAIROS system.  

What is the Panasonic KAIROS?

KAIROS overall is a platform that allows you to do quite a lot of things. It ultimately is a platform built on both IT and IP technologies- providing flexibility to bring in both SDI and IP sources, along with complete control of other systems- like robotics cameras and graphic systems. KAIROS can be multipurpose for playout- whether a production is live streaming or controlling a blended projection system or LED Wall. All with only 1 frame of delay, from input to output.  

KAIROS For Live Production: A Different Approach to Live Production Switchers

The typical live production switcher has specialized hardware which is often FPGA based. You can take video inputs, bring them into FPGA, process and send it out. With the transition to IP, some vendors have taken an IP and decapsulation to baseband video and following the signal flow from there. Panasonic KAIROS differentiates itself by taking the IP transport or baseband source and feeding it straight into a CPU/GPU, using software-defined processes. This allows greater flexibility- including no specific restrictions on M/E’s and Keyers! KAIROS consists of three components:
  • KAIROS Core – 1RU/2RU hardware server
  • KAIROS Creator – KAIROS U/I and required driving point for the switcher
  • KAIROS Control – an optional physical panel that resembles a 2 ME-panel design, but features dynamic additional functionality.

What We Like About Panasonic KAIROS:

  1. Processor – Video processing functions are virtualized to run on the Kairos Core’s GPU/CPU making it extremely flexible.
  2. Uncompressed – KAIROS manipulates all sources in an uncompressed format to maximize quality and assure the lowest possible latency. While KAIROS supports most compressed formats, all these are first decoded so they also are dealt with as uncompressed.
  3. One Frame Processing Delay – Only 1 frame of delay, made possible by close coupling of the software and specific hardware maximize efficiency.
  4. Unlimited Video Layers – The KAIROS Core engine allows for unlimited, flexible, fully-customizable layers from an enterprise-class reliable server while the user can manipulate these layers with a simple to use GUI with the KAIROS Creator, running on a Mac or PC desktop computer
  5. Mix & Match Everything – KAIROS supports Baseband interfaces such as SDI, HDMI & DisplayPort, Compressed IP including SRT, NDI, RTMP & RTSP as well as uncompressed IP with ST 2110 and all these can all be managed at once with multiple resolutions and aspect ratios for both inputs and outputs.

How would you design a Panasonic KAIROS system?

The most basic system consists of a KAIROS Core mainframe and a KAIROS Creator software application running on a PC or Mac desktop as well as some input/output sources. The simplest way to get input-output is by utilizing Deltacast flex modules for HDSDI, HDMI, or DisplayPort. Streaming inputs (NDI, SRT etc.) and outputs are managed on the same Gb Ethernet that connects the Creator desktop to the KAIROS Core. One or more Kairos Control panels can be added as well as additional KAIROS Creator applications or even auxiliary panels. These just connect to the Gb network so more crew can have access to KAIROS. To utilize the ST 2110 interfaces you will need to have an ST 2110 network to attach the KAIROS Core to. If you do not have an ST 2110 compliant network, you can build one. You’ll need at least one IP high-bandwidth (100Gb) Network switch that is 2110 and PTP (version 2) compliant. An ST 2110 network must also contain a Precision Timecode Protocol (PTPv2) generator that also syncs with analog video signals for legacy equipment. Some SDI-based cameras or other sources will require IP encapsulators to put baseband signals into ST 2110 compliant packets, similar to the SMPTE 2110 option in the Panasonic AK-UCU600 CCU. These types of gateways are readily available through partners like Evertz and Riedel. More gateways, switches, and cores can be added to grow the system indefinitely.  

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