Japanese Broadcaster Outlines Plans for Ultra High Definition TV

NHK, which hopes to offer public demonstrations within two years, plans to shoot the 2012 London Olympics in UHDTV.

While much global attention is being given to 3DTV, Japan public broadcaster NHK is planning public previews of its developing Ultra High Definition (UHDTV) television system, which promises images that contain roughly 16 times more picture information that that which is found in today's HDTV systems.

NHK plans to expose the public to its system in 2012, by shooting some of the London Olympics in Ultra High Definition, which is also referred to as Super Hi-Vision. The footage would be transmitted to public viewing sites in the U.K., U.S. and Japan.

The developing UHDTV format has produced imagery so precise that the pictures have the appearance of being three-dimensional, essentially as if the viewer is looking through a window. NHK has been out promoting the technology in professional circles, which this week included a stop at the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers' annual Technical Conference and Expo at Hollywood & Highland.

UHDTV accommodates 8K resolution, meaning that it contains 7,680 horizontal pixels x 4,320 vertical pixels.

This is significantly more picture information than that which is contained in today's HDTV formats, as well as digital cinema images, which currently use 2K (roughly 2,000 horizontal pixels), or 4K resolution (roughly 4,000 horizontal pixels).

A challenge for UHDTV could be the size of the required TV sets, in order to produce the high-resolution format. An NHK spokesperson at SMPTE explained that the broadcaster is currently working on various size consumer LCD TV sets, including in the 80- to 90-inch range.

Plans call for trials of UHDTV broadcasting to begin in Japan in 2020.

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