This summer sees the first public screenings of Super Hi-Vision TV in the UK, as the BBC gets together with Japan’s NHK for an ultra high-definition Olympic extravaganza.
It’s six years since HD TV arrived on these shores with the launch of BBC HD and Sky HD in June 2006, and some might say it’s enough of an improvement for now.
But for Japanese state broadcaster NHK, which invented high definition TV in the 1980s, it’s high time to jump to the next – and maybe final – stage of 2D TV detail.
If you want to see how good it is, there are still tickets remaining to Super Hi-Vision screenings of the Olympic opening ceremony and daily highlights, being held by the BBC in London, Bradford and Glasgow throughout the Summer Games.
Ultra High Definition TV, known in Japan as Super Hi-Vision, is 16 times as detailed as the HDTV on Freeview HD or a Blu-ray movie – about the same as an expensive 33-megapixel digital SLR camera.
It’s even more detailed than the 4K Digital Cinema standard which most cinemas are now adopting to do away with the need for expensive, fragile rolls of celluloid film.
TV manufacturers including Sharp and Panasonic have already unveiled prototype giant Super Hi-Vision screens, while JVC built the first UHDTV projectors back in 2007.
Perhaps the most amazing facet of of Super Hi-Vision is the level of detail you can see close up to the screen, where even HDTV would dissolve into pixels.
To give you a flavour with this, Alex Lane and Tom Newton of Recombu Digital have put together a very short film explaining the difference between standard definition TV, high definition, UHDTV 4K, and 8K Super Hi-Vision. Just don’t stare into Tom’s eye for too long.