Super Hi-Vision 8K TV standard approved by UN agency

NHK Super Hi-Vision television Approval for the 8k format heralds the way for much larger television screens

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A new high-resolution television format has been approved by the UN's communication standards setting agency.

Broadcasts in 8K will offer a resolution of 7,680 by 4,320 pixels - roughly the equivalent of a 32 megapixel photo.

That is 16 times as sharp as current HD TVs offering about 2MP resolutions.

Japanese broadcaster NHK showed off the technology in London during the Olympics, where audiences said it gave them a sense of being at the events.

The firm has developed three cameras that can capture the higher resolution - which it calls Super Hi-Vision - at 60 frames per second but aims to double that to 120 frames per second.

By contrast the BBC currently broadcasts HD TV programmes at 25 fps.

"The experience of viewing and listening to live sports and entertainment coverage is dramatically enhanced by Super Hi-Vision, and Ovum envisages it representing the logical next step in TV transmission technology, following on from regular HD," wrote the consultancies' analyst Jonathan Doran in a report.

"In our view, it is a far more significant development than 3D, which offers a limited range of use-cases."

Mega screens
Super Hi-Vision camera There are only currently three Super Hi-Vision cameras in existence

The UN's International Telecommunication Union (ITU) discussed the standard in May and offered broadcasters the opportunity to file objections. Because no-one did, it sent out letters at the end of last week confirming the format's approval.

A press release from NHK said the specification would "reproduce the feeling of life and offer a sense of being present" in a way that had been impossible to do before. The news was first reported by Techworld.

NHK has used a 145-inch (3.7 metre) prototype display co-developed with Panasonic to show off its footage.

But it will be some time before such models become commercially available.

TV makers are currently focusing efforts on launching 4K enabled devices offering a quarter of the resolution. This is the format currently used by most digital cinema cameras.

LG unveiled the biggest 4K television set to date earlier this week - an 84 inch screen costing more than $22,000.

But manufacturers are likely to want to offer 8K screens by 2020 when NHK aims to begin its first experimental broadcasts in the standard.

Photographers' friend

One analyst said the displays would probably remain beyond most people's budgets for more than a decade.

NHK Super Hi-Vision screen graphic NHK says Super Hi-Vision screens will offer users the opportunity to enjoy wider viewing angles

"I suspect that we won't see this become available to consumers below $10,000 until 2025," Paul O'Donovan, principal analyst at the tech consultancy Gartner, told the BBC.

"Those will be in sizes 55 inches and above. You will still get a benefit at that size because it offers a greater colour depth and contrast as well as a sharper picture.

"But when the screens are even larger you get a sense of being there - it's like looking through a window.

"Beyond better looking TV programmes they will also appeal to photographers. Many people have cameras with lots of megapixels and this gives them a way to see their pictures back at the same resolution they took them in."


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  • rate this

    Comment number 50.

    Surely there is more to life than television? Personally, I have not been in possession of such a sad instrument of torture and unhappiness since the 1990's and I do not intend to be imposed upon by said instrument of sadness ever again. When will people start to learn? Life is here and now, not on your fancy flat screen on the wall.

  • rate this

    Comment number 33.

    Videos online are already too complex and in to high a definition for the internet in my village to handle a 25 min program takes about 1hour 15mins due to buffering. We also have unbelievably poor TV signal the picture completely disappears when bright images are broadcast (bright/white contains more info than dark/black). The infrastructure cannot keep pace with new technology

  • rate this

    Comment number 32.

    I watched some of the Olympic highlights in Super Hi-Vision at the NMM and it was amazing. Truly like watching real life through a perfectly clear window. But, I can see a scenario where when we all have this in our homes, nobody will ever want to leave the house and we'll all be 'communicating' via 8K screens instead of living life in actual reality.

  • rate this

    Comment number 27.

    For those questioning the point in developing higher and higher resolution TV, you should realise that at least this technology contributes massively towards improving and reducing the cost of medical imaging technology. Smaller cancerous growths will be spotted earlier as this technology improves which will literally save lives.

  • rate this

    Comment number 25.

    My dad told me that people were sceptical of colour TV, until they saw it. I was sceptical about using SCART connectors over aeriel leads. Many people were sceptical about stereo sound and HD. Yet the majority of people enjoy them now as part of their every day television experience. I can hardly imagine going back to what we had 30 years ago. 30 years hence 4K or 8K will be the norm in the home


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