I think we would all love to have a real time 4K pipeline for DI and if you have enough money you can do that today. What if you want to do it at a realistic price? Somewhere north of shoestring indie territory but south of a heavy iron post facility.
For the sake of this discussion lets set a timeline of a year or so. We want to grade native RedCode36 and see the results of our adjustments in real time on the display. Yes, this is a lot to ask - but we take it for granted that we can correct and view SD footage this way and with a little budget you can do the same in HD right now.
Note: due to the quality of modern compression schemes and the bandwidth/cost issues of uncompressed 4K this theoretical exercise posits "visually lossless" compression will be used as needed.
AFAIK at NAB 2007 Red Digital used a DVS Clipster serving a Sony SXRD 4K Cinema sized projector via 4 dual link HD-SDI cables to show Peter Jackson's CTL short. Looked great but too expensive, too big and overkill for DI.
Jim has a 4K delivery system in development and has promised to show it at NAB in April 2008. The basic components are likely a server, a monitor or projector and a way to connect them. This is a key piece.
Assimilate's Scratch system, well equipped, can grade native RedCode at 2K in mostly real time (depending on what operations you are doing). Perhaps with enough horsepower on the computing side this can be done at 4K. (Lucas, Mark or someone with more hands on Scratch time can jump in and clarify this as I don't wish to misrepresent their product.)
IMHO the best path to make this happen before 2011 is a dedicated acceleration module, PCIe2.0 card comes to mind, that can decode RedCode in real time. The alternative is to leverage the tech that Red uses in their 4K delivery system by integrating it with post tools. Of course I have no idea if Red is developing a stand alone server like the Clipster or something that runs on a MacPro tower with a hardware interface, or something else my pea brain can't conceive of.
Would there be enough market for someone like AJA to build such an accelerator card? What is the quantity/price break between FPGAs and dedicated silicon? What kind of CPU/GPU horsepower and bus interface would be required to decode on the fly without an special purpose accelerator?
Yes, before Mike Most and others jump on me, I happily concede that a talented colorist is a huge factor in the mix. I just want to give them the tools to see what they are doing without giving Discreet the deed to my house (or Ketch's ). In any case, I am out waving my sign and it says "4K power to the people", rock on.