Going way beyond 4K: Yankees-Mariners Baseball match will be the first shot in full 8K

by on July 4, 2015

Stephan Jukic – July 4, 2015

The upcoming Seattle Mariners vs. New York Yankees game in mid-July is going to mark off a new frontier crossed in broadcast history, simple as that.

Why? Because it’s going to be the first major event filmed and broadcast in 8K ultra HD resolution, 8 times the pixels of 4K and 16 times the resolution of Full HD. This is pretty remarkable by itself but what makes it all the more impressive is the amount of effort that will go into the filming. We’re not talking about just a single experimental 8K camera. No, there will be several such cameras shooting the game from all angles throughout Yankee Stadium, 6 in total according to reports.

The broadcaster which will be putting all this filming effort into filming the Major League game is none other than the Japanese state broadcasting agency NHK, working in collaboration with Major League Baseball. While the 8K shooting won’t be publically broadcast in the resolution since there are essentially no commercial available 8K TV screens in private homes or public venues anywhere in the world yet, NHK will be feeding the transmission videos to a specially set up suite in Yankee Stadium itself, with 8K monitors set up for viewing and analysis.

As we’d mentioned, 8K video can be of several different specific pixel counts but is generally recognized as being 7680 x 4320 pixels (33.18 megapixels) and thus 16 times larger than standard Full HD at 1920 x 1080 pixels.

8K Super Hi-Vision TV is a major development aim of Private and State broadcasters in Japan

8K Super Hi-Vision TV is a major development aim of Private and State broadcasters in Japan

As for NHK’s motivations, the state broadcaster is working hard and fast to be able to set up a full 8K broadcast delivery infrastructure in time for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, which the corporation plans to show to millions of viewers in Japan in this maximal level of ultra HD.

However, 8K TVs themselves are still as rare as unicorns and even though companies like LG and Sharp have shown off prototype 8K TVs at events like CES 2015, none of these models are going to be selling widely any time soon. Even the broadcast transmission of 4K content is only now starting to take off piece by piece due to the data transfer difficulties inherent to it. These difficulties only ramp up enormously for 8K.

The Yankee Stadium game and NHKs filming of it will allow the MLB and a number of sports and media broadcasting executives to assess and gauge how feasible not only 8K but also 4K broadcasting of these events in the future will be. For NHK, the very popular and large-scale baseball game is an excellent practice run for the much more serious broadcasting to be done in 2020 in Tokyo.

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