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 63.

    Shame the bandwidth needed to broadcast this resolution has been sold to 4G phone companies, so that the public can watch TV on the screen of their mobile phones.

  • rate this

    Comment number 62.

    @60. alphawest - ever thought of going to Africa on safari? or a rugby match? Leeds Rhinos

    (You might enjoy it) ...

  • rate this

    Comment number 61.

    Content is and always will king. Sadly it will be the same old dross on a very very expensive telly

  • rate this

    Comment number 60.

    UHDTV is going to be amazing for nature documentaries and sports.
    1080p quickly loses detail when scaled up via a projector.
    Roll on progress !!

  • rate this

    Comment number 59.

    I say let's have Super Hi Definition DIGITAL RADIO and give people a choice.

    96khz/24bit minimum ... better picture ... in colour too ... I'd be happy to pay for that ... but no, it ain't going to happen is it?

    Sorry, auntie ... I'm not going to pay my licence fee so that you fat cats can get fatter ... bring on the radio ...

  • rate this

    Comment number 58.

    I was fortunate to see Super Hi-Vision at the BBC building in Glasgow. While offering a very high resolution and 22 channel sound, I can't help but wonder what the bandwidth would be for this service. Can it be broadcast via terrestrial? Will we get a new disc format which can store this resolution?

  • rate this

    Comment number 57.

    @56. WaywardTraveller - You say "I wonder how many will are killed by industrial pollution?" - I say "I wonder how many will be killed by the influence of television" ?.

  • rate this

    Comment number 56.

    It's great to hear that someone's come up with another reason to throw away all the old gear ... again. I'm guessing that Blueray will have to be surpassed, so another load of films etc to re-buy.

    Ironic that some one suggested that it'll bring down the cost of imaging screens and might save a few lives by spotting smaller tumors ... I wonder how many will are killed by industrial pollution?

  • rate this

    Comment number 55.

    hello I used to repair televisions etc it in fact used to be a very good trade to be involved in. It would be wonderful if many jobs were created with all the latest technology but alas that will not be the case. The spin offs can be very beneficial to society, too many people watch too much tv. 3D hasn't really captured the public's imagination either maybe this will

  • rate this

    Comment number 54.

    I dunno, Kay Burley already looks scary enough in HD

  • rate this

    Comment number 53.

    @27: Sorry, but this technology is completely irrelevant to medical imaging. It's about displaying hi res video on TV, nothing to do with X-Rays, CAT scans or MRI.

  • rate this

    Comment number 52.

    Reality better than science fiction.

    One day life reduced to 4 wall in a nursing home, but one wall video telephone, live views of beach, football matches F1 Royal Weddings etc.

    You may not want to progress but this is real Growth ,real progress and a tool to a better life experience.

    It might not be for you but hell I like the Wheel i just don't know how to use it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 51.

    Well, I guess this will put a lot of TV actors out of work. They had a hard enough time getting TV work when we went HD. So ... now we have to find the perfect, unblemished faces and bodies of the future ... might as well just show cartoons. Actually, that would be great!
    I'm enrolling for the make-up artist course at my local tech now!

  • 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 49.

    I love high tech tellys - but I need glasses. So, I'm guessing my eyes don't have the resolution to make it worth my while buying one of these.

    Good luck to all those of you who can benefit from it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 48.

    The sense of realism is what's really important, but there are two issues here: resolution and frame rate. Resolution at 8k is impressive, but frame rate is more significant (cinemas still 24fps). Having higher frames of 48 fps or more makes a *profound* difference. Watch out for The Hobbit in December - that's going to set the benchmark. (Target is 70fps, just like your computer!)

  • rate this

    Comment number 47.

    "In our view, it is a far more significant development than 3D, which offers a limited range of use-cases."
    The basic principal of 3D images hasn't changed for decades, just the means of delivery. All systems that give each eye an image generated by two lenses on a camera suffer from the same failing. When you move your head when viewing a live scene, the perspective changes, it doesn't with 3D TV

  • rate this

    Comment number 46.

    All well and good, but will it still work if the kids put marmalade on it?

  • rate this

    Comment number 45.

    It makes the public happy, as some only have TV in their lives. This is good, a great step forward.

  • rate this

    Comment number 44.

    @18 beaumotplage,
    I was watching "Parade's End" in HD while reading this story. Quite honestly, I can barely see the difference between HD and standard Freeview at normal viewing distance. Perhaps if I had a larger screen or sat closer I would see. However, neither really works in the context of a normal family room. I would need a dedicated TV viewing room to take full advantage of this.


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