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 43.

    Pity they can't improve the human eye at the same time. I suspect most people won't be able to see much improvement and, if they can, will the 'benefit' be worth the expense of getting it?

  • rate this

    Comment number 42.

    Who cares? Is it not proof that the 3D bubble has burst! we are being convinced to spend money on bigger more expensive TVs every 2 years, its a rip off! I still have a 6 year old plasma with pin sharp picture and is not even HD, it will do for me!

  • rate this

    Comment number 41.

    This is so fantastically unnecessary - 4K is amazing, but 8K seems a bit far.

    That's why I love it so much - hopefully the know-how will trickle down but in reality nothing actually needs this kind of resolution.

  • rate this

    Comment number 40.

    Consumerism rear's its ugly head again. Another product we don't need that will ensure vast sums of the nation's wealth disappear to Japanese and US multi-nationals on items we are told we 'must have'.

    Sad that the world's largest company doesn't sell food or furniture or indeed anything we actually need. It sells lifestyle products.

  • rate this

    Comment number 39.

    Many of you are missing the point - this technology won't be ready for the average home for another 10-15 years. By then, compression will be advanced enough to broadcast it "Freeview", Internet bandwidth will be 10+G/bit over fibre and you don't need bigger screens, just ones with better resolution. Think 42" iPad3. Lots of other uses too, medical imaging, video conferencing, porn, etc....

  • rate this

    Comment number 38.

    Mount it in a box outside your living room windowl.
    Then you can pretend you're living by the sea side, or in the country, or on Mars - depending on the video you run.

  • rate this

    Comment number 37.

    Ridiculous. Am i truely the only one still happy with a CRT Screen? I really see no point in replacing it until it breaks!

  • rate this

    Comment number 36.

    It doesn't matter how high the resolution goes if the programmes are still rubbish. If the broadcasters put more effort into their programmes, I for one would be happier - NHK take note in particular: there are only so many programmes about the earthquake and tsunami one can watch.

  • rate this

    Comment number 35.

    I don't care about big screens, HD, etc. etc. My little 15'' screen is enough for me.

  • rate this

    Comment number 34.

    Oh dear, I must be getting old. I don't really understand the discussion.

  • 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 31.

    Saw the Super HV demo film at Bradford Media Museum. Far exceeded expectation. Absolutely stunning. Not much mention of the equally stunning 22 channel sound. Wowww.

  • rate this

    Comment number 30.

    "TV makers are currently focusing efforts on launching 4K enabled devices offering half the resolution."

    This is incorrect. 4K is one quarter the resolution of 8K. It has 1/2 the pixels horizontally and 1/2 the pixels vertically, which equates to 1/4 of the pixels.

  • rate this

    Comment number 29.

    @24. Peter A

    It's 4320p, but 8K is the term used in tech-digital-cinema-speak. 1080p is already known as 2K (1920x1080) under this convention.

    That's how tech is. In digital photography speak, it's 33 Megapixels, which is different again, as it doesn't specify any dimensions!

    8K / 4320p / UHDTV / Super Hi-Vision / 33 Mpixel video is also roughly IMAX film quality.

    Batman's effects are in 8K.

  • rate this

    Comment number 28.

    Great , X-Factor TOWIE , BB , BGT And all the other nonsense bigger and brighter than ever - Seems that as the tech moves on the content goes down the toilet.

  • 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 26.

    Cannot get the quote, "you can tell working class, their TV is bigger than their bookcase", out of my head somehow!!!

  • 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

  • rate this

    Comment number 24.

    We've gone 480, 720, 1080... all vertical pixels and now they are changing it to horizontal pixels!? Seriously... and they wonder why people get confused.


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