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Super Hi-Vision

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John Zubrzycki | 11:48 UK time, Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Super Hi-Vision (SHV) is a new large-screen television system that is being developed by NHK, the Japanese national broadcaster, in their Science and Technical Research Laboratories (STRL).

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.

NHK took its experimental SHV theatre to the IBC in Amsterdam this month.

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.


  • Comment number 1.

    Actually John Logie Baird demonstrated high definition television with 1800 lines in the 1940s. 68 years ago. Infact he proposed that the first televion standard shout be atleast 1000 lines.

  • Comment number 2.

    Look forward to SHV whenever it comes.

    For me TV can never be too realistic. SD at the moment is quite blurred and lacking in detail although we don't really notice it because thats what we've always seen from TV. HD is better but still not realistic.

    The ultimate experience from TV is going to come when the picture becomes so detailed and sharp that it becomes hard to tell the picture from actually being there. Personally, I look forward to that day provided the tv's are affordable!

  • Comment number 3.

    Let's get this clear, we develop a super new higher resolution format and just how are we going to deliver it intact to consumers?

    Freeview has shown us what happens to quality. Just pop into a local supermarket and look at the large panels with Freeview pictures on display.
    Ugh comes to mind.

    When was the last time anyone actually saw full resolution PAL for goodness sake?

    I remember seeing a testcard in my home from BSB. I was amazed that I could make out every single RGB graticule.
    Few people get to see what good old PAL was capable of let alone HD TV.

    That is the reality of what happens to new formats unfortunately.

    This new format won't be any different. :-)

  • Comment number 4.


    Hopefully improvements in compression techniques will assist in the delivery of high quality SHV but you are right, we are talking massive bit rates, here.

    Also, Freeview is going to get 33% worse next year when the compression is increased to make way for the 4 "HD" channels. I use dog ears because the bit rates it seems will probably be very low. Its also known that bandwidth problems will probably restrict Freeview to 4 HD channels only even in the future. The government simply didn't plan for a HD future on terrestrial and aren't exactly shouting about the fact that Freeview is effectively defunct before its even been fully rolled out.

    At the moment, Freesat is the future for TV in this country as its the only medium with the bandwidth to be able to deliver multiple HD channels at high bit rates and no doubt in the future, new higher def formats at similarly high rates.

    Please note the above comments are my opinion only.

  • Comment number 5.

    It can only be via satellite or fibre connections to the home over the air waves won't cut it i'm afraid and we need the goverment to get into gear to provide backing for getting everyone connected.

    The BBC's open compression code Dirac looked pretty good.

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