Japanese state broadcaster NHK confirms its commitment to 4K and 8K media

by on January 20, 2015

Stephan Jukic – January 20, 2015

Nippon Hōsō Kyōkai, the Japanese state broadcasting corporation, has already been affirming its commitment to invest heavily in the necessary infrastructure for widespread 8K broadcasting in time for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and they’ve recently reasserted this commitment.

At a January 15th NHK board meeting, the public broadcasting company’s three year plan was approved and it included five major objectives for the next three years as of 2015. One of these was the corporation’s vision of covering the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games and Paralympics in 8K Super Hi-Vision resolution.

Additionally, NHK plans on boosting internet access and coverage under what they call their “Total Reach” plan for broadband accessibility.

As far as the resources go to pull these 8K plans off go, NHK is certainly no slouch. In addition to steady subsidies from the government of Japan, the public corporation also has an operating income that’s expected to hit $5.68 billion USD by the end of 2015 and more than $6 billion dollars by 2017.

In a public statement, the corporation affirmed that “Looking forward to 2020, the year of the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, Nippon Hoso Kyokai, endeavors to provide broadcasting and services of the world’s highest standards, utilizing leading edge technologies”.

The company also explained that it will further enhance their production and reporting capabilities as of this year and will continue with 8K broadcasting research and development throughout the next three years.

Part of the eventual 8K broadcasting plan involves the use of the corporations “BS” satellite channels for debuting the service and eventually introducing it widely throughout the country.

Test broadcasts of the 8K channels will begin in 2016, in time for the Rio de Janeiro Summer Olympics, and will expand to full-scale permanent broadcasting from there onwards.

Also, since June of 2014, Japan has been running some of the world’s first 4K channels through the use of communications satellite TV channels run by a partner in the overall plan, Sky Perfect JSAT Holdings.

The run-up to the 2020 plan specifically calls for the public broadcaster having one of its own dedicated 4K channels by 2018 and seeing the development of at least five additional commercial 4K channels from several private broadcasters.

Furthermore, in a related and extremely remarkable gambit, NHK fairly recently demonstrated that its 8K broadcasting concept will be awesome not just for the big screens of the Olympics but can also work on the small screen.

The public broadcaster managed to show its 8K Super Hi-Vision system off on a display the size of a small laptop! The corporation developed a 13.3 inch OLED display in partnership with Semiconductor Energy Laboratory and Sharp Electronics Corporation.

With almost 500 million transistors inside it, the little screen showed off 8K images at a native resolution of 7680 x 4320 pixels, which translates to an astonishing 664 pixels per inch!.

13.3 inch 8K laptop display

An experimental prototype 8K small display screen created by Sharp and other partners

By comparison, the latest and absolute best smartphone displays on the market, from LG, offer screen pixel densities of “just” 576 ppi.

Obviously, commercial 8K displays for even the big screen are still a few years away but showing the technology off in such a small medium does offer a serious boost to the Japanese effort at bringing 8K to the masses.

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