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After 4K era must come 8K

16 September 2014

The NHK 8K Super Hi-VISION system has been a constant feature at IBC for many years it seems, and the Japanese launch date of services in 2020 suddenly seems so close. Test broadcasts start in 2016.

Located in the IBC Future Zone, NHK has an 8K 120-Hz display, a new 8K satellite service concept, a 60-Hz display with 22.2 channel 3D sound, and a prototype 8K studio type camera.

“I think 4K and 8K are the same technology, parts of the same direction: 8K is the ultimate form of two dimensional so after the 4K era must come 8K,” said Narichika Hamaguchi, senior manager of planning and coordination in the science and technology research labs of Japan Broadcasting Corporation.

“If 4K can become reasonable for consumers, 8K will become reasonable. We will launch a full 8K broadcast service in six years, and by that time some set makers will produce affordable sets.”8K as we know it now is a big screen picture and sound combo with 22.2 channel 3D audio. What are the problems?

“High frame rates for 8K are still a challenging area. Motion blur is easy to recognise in UHD, so the higher frame rate (120) is important,” said Hamaguchi. “Our prototype camera has three image sensors each with 33 megapixels. The camcorder is close to being a product and has one small image sensor.”

This is Beyer so 16-bit will be important. How does NHK propose to modernise the editing system they use?
“We have specially designed 8K editing equipment, but some 4K editing machines and other 4K equipment are usable. But that area is the one of least choice and it is one we have to work on,” said Hamaguchi.

“Our launch at IBC is the satellite broadcasting system for 8K. The big problem is bit rate, so we plan to use HEVC encoding. This gets us under 100Mbit/s using a satellite, and using that system we will launch a service in 2020,” he added.

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