And just as 4K is getting comfortable, Japan switches on 8K broadcasting

by on August 2, 2016

Stephan Jukic – August 2, 2016

Just as consumers, streaming providers, TV makers and broadcasters most of all are getting comfortable with 4K resolution and its needs, Japan goes ahead and turns on 8K broadcasting. Yes, 8K, offering a whopping 16 times the resolution of Full HD.

Japan’s state broadcaster, NHK, has been working on the development of 8K television broadcasts for several years now, putting the state company far ahead of most broadcasting giants or even streaming media services anywhere in the world in terms of long-range planning and now, as part of their effort to have consumer 8K broadcasts ready for viewers in Japan in time for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic games, the corporation has finally managed to turn on the 8K Super Hi-Vision video broadcasting they’ve put so much development into.


As of Monday, August 2nd a new 8K satellite channel has started airing, from 10 am to 5pm which shows a blend of both now fairly standard 4K content and 8K videos.

Of course, with this announcement comes the obvious question. Who exactly can even watch the 8K programming in its native resolution? The obvious answer to this is that well, pretty much nobody can!  In October of 2015, Sharp unveiled a retail model of an 8K TV for the distinctly inaccessible price of $140,000 and a couple of other major electronics companies have also unveiled their own prototype models as well but aside from this, there are essentially no remotely affordable consumer 8K TVs on sale yet anywhere.

Furthermore, even the standards that will go into compression and transmission of this new resolution format are a long way away from being formalized. However, this will change over time and it is hoped that by the 2020 Olympics, 8K TVs will be a real thing on the consumer market. Even if they are not, NHK is also working on public viewing broadcasts in the resolution at select high traffic areas around the Japanese Islands.

This latter 8K public viewing project is also going to get a serious head start on 2020 by being used in time for the 2016 Rio Olympics in this month. That’s right NHK will be filming some 130 hours of full-blown 8K content from the Rio Summer Games. This video, which will include coverage of swimming, football, basketball, judo and the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, is going to also get displayed publicly in full 8K resolution at some of the viewing areas already set up by the broadcaster, for demonstration and testing purposes if nothing else.

The 2016 Rio Games will also be test broadcast in 8K in public

The 2016 Rio Games will also be test broadcast in 8K in public by NHK

8K resolution encompasses what is normally considered to be a pixel grid of 7680 x 4320. This isn’t “true” 8K in the same sense that 4K ultra HD doesn’t go above 4,000 pixels across but it is 8 times the resolution of 3840 X 2160 pixel 4K and 16 times the resolution of Full HD at 1920 x 1080 pixels.

The 8K TV channel from NHK will be available to whoever can actually watch its content in native resolution or in 4K but with downscaling but NHK will also be using the service for test broadcasts in the run up to the 2020 Olympics. The broadcaster has been recording 8K video of other sports besides the Olympic Games as well in recent months and this isn’t at all surprising from an organization which has a long-standing reputation for pioneering innovation. In 1989, they were also the first company to broadcast HD video live, long before it became a consumer market trend.

Further along, we may also see consumer 8K entertainment content hit shelves sooner than previously expected since some shows and movies are now already being filmed with digital video recording cameras in 8K resolution anyhow. On example is the movie “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2”, which was shot with one of RED’s 8K Weapon cameras at a hefty 75 frames per second.

Story by

Leave a reply »

  • Terry Harris
    August 3, 2016 at 2:37 pm
    And now, according to some new reports, the much-anticipated iMac 8K could finally happen this year.

    While not much is known about any possible iMac 2016 release date yet, it is extremely likely that it will hit the market sometime in Q4 2016.


  • Cristian Tane
    August 4, 2016 at 1:42 pm

    How can this be a thing, for anything other than super-large TV’s? For every regular sized TV, be it 50, 60, 70 inches, human eye will not be able to spot any difference between 4K and 8K. It literally means 4K HDR will look exactly the same as 8K, for most people and most TV’s.


    • irnmdn
      August 12, 2016 at 3:09 am

      I think 8k will be more used for virtual reality and 8k will be insane for gaming the graphics will be getting closer to what we see in real life. If you watch the old Total Recall movie you will see how the walls in your house will be used as scenery or as your tv. Look up LG’s foldable OLED. 8k will be nothing 25 years from now because virtual reality will get better with even higher resolution.


Leave a Response