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NHK to demo 8K Ultra HD Freeview-style tech

Japanese broadcaster NHK will show the world’s broadcasters how to fit 8K Ultra HD into the same space used by Freeview. 

NHK pioneered 8K Ultra HD and wants to start free over-the-air broadcasts in Japan this decade, skipping the 4K version being tried out in Europe and the US.

The demonstration at the NAB broadcasting tech conference in Washington DC will be the first time anywhere in the world outside Japan that 8K Ultra HD (aka Super Hi-Vision) has been broadcast terrestrially instead of via satellite or broadband.

NHK to demo 8K Ultra HD Freeview-style tech
No time for 4K: NHK is going straight to 8K

It will use a single 6MHz UHF channel and NHK will also present detailed results of a long-distance, single-channel, over-the-air 8K test broadcast recently conducted in Japan. 

That’s the space currently used by all four Freeview HD channels in the UK, and will use a technology designed for Japanese TV very different to that of Freeview.

In addition, the NHK exhibit will feature a presentation cinema with a 350-inch screen for viewing newly shot Super Hi-Vision content with 8K video projection and full 22.2-channel sound reproduction, including highlights from the Sochi Winter Olympic Games. 

The broadcaster also plans to show 8K production technology including an 8K video camera that weighs 2kg, an 8K-capable real-time HEVC (High Efficiency Video Encoding) encoder, and a display-integrated sound system which shows how 22.2-channel sound works. 

Developed since the early 2000s, 8K Ultra HD offers four times the amount of detail as 4K Ultra HD, which itself offers fours times the amount of detail as Full HD – that’s 16 times the detail we see today.

Super Hi-Vision was created to match the ability of a typical human eye, so once achieved it will be the final word in 2D video, creating scenes that are genuinely as good as the real thing.

Japan’s public service broadcaster plans to cover the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in 8K Ultra HD, having conducted a series of test recordings at the London 2012 Olympics which were shown around the UK by the BBC. 

Image: Yusuke Kawasaki/Flickr

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