8K isn’t just coming, it’s already here. This summer, ahead of the Rio Games, Japanese state broadcaster NHK began test transmissions in 8K on the BS satellite channels designed to both prove and popularise the ultra high definition format ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
During the games, NHK held 8K Super Hi-Vision screenings at six venues in Japan and in Rio de Janeiro.
The opening and closing ceremonies, alongside judo, swimming, athletics, basketball and the men’s football final, were produced jointly with Olympic Broadcasting Services.
NHK wants to broadcast the 2020 Tokyo Olympics live on a new 8K TV channel. Test broadcasts will begin in 2018, ahead of that year’s Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
In readiness to display these 32-megapixel images the major TV makers are preparing 8K TVs. Panasonic has started a Beautiful Japan 2020 campaign, which is aimed at fuelling national loyalty in the run-up to Tokyo 2020.
Sharp is already selling 85-inch 8K displays in Japan.
The 5G mobile standard is also due to be ratified by 2020, paving the way for 8K delivery to the home by fibre, and fixed wireless anywhere.
On a more prosaic level the production ecosystem for 8K is being rounded out with new cameras from Ikegami and Canon (in prototype) and a HDR scheme written with the BBC.
Photo credit: © 2012 Londres - Comité International Olympique (CIO) EVANS