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