SHV has a picture resolution of 4320 lines by 7860 pixels, ie 33 megapixels, ie over 16 times as many pixels as HDTV. SHV also includes 22.2-channel surround sound, with some speakers at ceiling height to provide a 3D audio experience.
BBC Research and Innovation (R&I) is collaborating with NHK STRL to develop practical ways to deliver SVH using a variant of R&I's Dirac video coder. This is a collaboration under the Broadcast Technology Futures (BTF) group; an association of NHK, EBU, RAI, IRT and the BBC with the aim to carry out research on a wide range of technologies relevant to our industry.
Pictures were projected on a six metre wide screen with the audience only a few metres away; the pictures were so big that they created an Imax-like cinema experience. A short programme was shown featuring wildlife, children and beautiful views of Japan that gave, in NHK's own words, "a sensation of realism". The programme was played back from an uncompressed disk array of several terabytes capacity and a 24 Gb/s transfer rate.
A super high vision camera
The BBC contribution was a live SHV video link from the balcony of London City Hall using one of only two SHV prototype cameras. The pictures were coded at 640 Mb/s using MPEG-2 and transmitted as IP via the Siemens IT Solutions and Services London Fibre Network to a Cable & Wireless optical cable to Amsterdam.
SIS Live shared the operation of the camera with NHK. They also set up 17 microphones at various heights on a mast and on the building to pick up the ambient sound of London. Siemens provided and ran the technical facilities at each end of the link.
Erik Huggers at one end of the live video link
The Italian broadcaster, RAI, demonstrated satellite broadcasting of SHV at 140 Mbit/s from Turin to IBC.
Is 4000-line TV too detailed for your living room?
Perhaps not, a wall-sized display could show dramas, concerts, to give a feeling of immersion. At other times, the display could be divided up to show different content in "windows", rather like those on a PC display. In the years before SHV would be ready for introduction to the home, this system has the potential to be used for large screen displays for community viewing of sports or special events.
This doesn't mean that HDTV is about to be replaced. It was first demonstrated in Europe 26 years ago, but is only now becoming established in Europe. There are many technical problems to solve before SHV can become practical, which will keep the research labs collaborating for some years to come.
John Zubrzycki is Portfolio Manager (Media Fundamentals) Research & Innovation, Kingswood Warren.