Japan Shows its Seriousness about 4K by Organizing a Broad Coalition of participants on Developing Ultra HD

by on October 17, 2014

by Stephan Jukic – October 17th, 2014

More than perhaps any other country in the world today, Japan, its media companies and its government are investing seriously in the development of widespread 4K Ultra HD broadcasting.

A total of twenty one Japanese broadcasters, consumer electronics companies, telcos and even government agencies as well as the Japanese National Broadcasting Corporation NHK have been working together to create a high level development of 4K broadcasting networks, channels and infrastructure throughout the Japanese Islands.

Their efforts also go beyond the country itself. Given the participation of Japanese consumer electronics manufacturers –whose sales efforts for 4K TVs are worldwide—the overall hope of these broadcasting plans is to encourage greater Ultra HD broadcasting and content development on a global scale.

The so called “supergroup” of Japanese technology partners includes the public broadcaster Nippon Hoso Kyokai, which is actively backing its plans for a Super Hi-Vision/8K resolution format, commercial broadcaster SkyPerfect JSAT, which is expecting to unroll its first two dedicated 4K channels by March of 2015, internet service provider NTT Plela, which is claiming that it will open its first 4K broadcasting channel as early as the end of this October, and a whole host of 4K electronics manufacturers.

These include market leaders like Sony, Panasonic, Toshiba, Fujitsu, KDDI and NEC among others.

Panasonic AX900 4K Full ARRAY LED TV

Panasonic is one of the major participants in Japan’s 4K push

The overall aim of this broad coalition of companies and government efforts is to make Japan the world’s leader in spreading 4K technology around the world. Furthermore, while unstated officially, the companies involved –particularly Sony, Panasonic Toshiba and other electronics makers—also presumably want to see the Japanese flag fly higher than that of their Korean rival and its electronics makers such as Samsung and LG.

On top of all the corporate financing for this push in the direction of 4K is the financial support of the Federal Ministry of Internal Affairs, which is also funding the effort through a dedicated budget of 3.1 billion yen, or roughly $34 million dollars U.S.

A large motivator for the 4K drive in Japan in particular is the impending 2020 Tokyo Olympic games, which the government hopes to make an impression with by broadcasting them in the largest possible format throughout the country. This includes not just 4K video transmissions but even at least one dedicated 8K broadcast, which will be sent out over the 8K channels that are expected to be opened up as of 2016 on an experimental basis.

The interesting thing about 8K transmission is the fact that, currently, there are not even any 8K TVs on sale anywhere in the world. The prototype models that have emerged thus far aren’t expected to reach consumer markets for at least another two years.

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