Postcard from Earth
USA - Sphere Entertainment and Hitachi Vantara, the data storage, infrastructure and hybrid cloud management subsidiary of Hitachi, have released new details on how the two companies leverage Hitachi Vantara’s data processing software to help power the LED screens at Sphere in Las Vegas.
Both Sphere’s 160,000sq.ft interior LED display plane and 580,000sq.ft fully programmable LED exterior - the Exosphere - utilise Hitachi Vantara’s software as a key tool to stream high-resolution immersive content.
“Sphere is home to many firsts, one of which is streaming immersive, high-resolution video content on a scale that has never been done before,” said Alex Luthwaite, SVP, show systems technology, Sphere Entertainment. “Hitachi Vantara worked with our team to develop a solution that’s fast, reliable, and efficient. Through their expertise and technology, Sphere’s displays deliver content that is captivating audiences not only in the venue in Las Vegas, but also around the world on social media.”
With the world’s highest resolution LED screen inside the venue and the largest LED screen on the exterior, Sphere leaned on Hitachi Vantara to deliver solutions to stream video content on an unprecedented scope. For its original immersive film, Darren Aronofsky’s Postcard from Earth, the system handles over 400 gigabytes a second of throughput at sub 5 milliseconds of latency and a 12-bit colour display at a 444 subsampling. Hitachi Vantara utilised its storage platform Hitachi Content Software for File, a high-performance, software-defined, distributed parallel filesystem storage solution.
“Sphere represents a new, completely immersive and visually powerful entertainment experience,” said Octavian Tanase, chief product officer, Hitachi Vantara. “To make sure that the technology behind it was ready to meet the challenge, Hitachi Vantara worked closely with the Sphere team to test, measure, and enhance how the data is processed, streamed, and projected. Quality-wise, the resolution and colour are second to none, and this project has exceeded our already high expectations.”
The Hitachi Content Software for File system consists of 27 nodes, with 4PB of flash storage for playback within Sphere and streamed in real-time to 7thSense media servers, each streaming 4K video at 60 frames per second - a world-first in terms of technology capability at this scale. Hitachi Vantara’s technology enables Sphere to deliver extremely low latency and high throughput Postcard from Earth.
Hitachi Vantara also partnered with Sphere to produce the same reliable capabilities at Sphere Studios’ Big Dome, a 28,000sq.ft, 100ft-high custom geodesic dome in Burbank, CA with a quarter-sized version of the screen at Sphere in Las Vegas. Big Dome serves as a specialised screening, production facility, and lab for the Sphere Studios team to develop original content exclusively for Sphere.

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