World will want Super HDTV

Andy Bower, the BBC’s head of Broadcast Research & Innovation, told IBC delegates that the world would embrace next-generation HDTV.

“Audiences demand and expect increasing levels of picture quality and user experience,” he said. “Past developments, from John Logie Baird’s 30-line television system in the 1930s, right up to today, with the launch of digital HD services in many countries over the past year have been the “high-definition” systems of their time.”

He explained that history showed that as technology advances, affordable receivers become available to meet audience’s demands for quality and user-experience. “Take up of large flat-panel displays is growing fast across the world. They are getting larger and thinner, with increasingly better picture quality. Consumers will get higher resolution content from recordable media, such as Blu-Ray. Higher resolutions will become available for gaming and computer applications. Digital Cinema and 3D in digital cinemas is growing – consumers will eventually expect this content and experience in their own homes. So broadcasting must keep up, or even set the pace!”

Bower also felt that the next level of HDTV would not take 25 years to happen. “Whilst it probably will not take that length of time for the next generation of systems we need to research the foundations for ‘Beyond HDTV’ now. However, it is too early to know exactly which system or systems will eventually succeed our current HD services.”

He described NHK Japan’s Super HD development (which the BBC is co-operating on) as a “prime candidate” for further work, and was a great start. “With greater spatial resolution, higher frame rates of several hundred frames per second or more are likely to be needed to preserve picture detail on moving objects or when the scene pans. Fundamental studies are underway within a number of research laboratories to investigate this.”

“Whilst to date, development of Super HD has very much focused on increasing spatial resolution, interest in the use of higher frame rates to improve dynamic resolution on moving objects or for panning, is now growing. It is likely that frame rates well beyond the current 60Hz, and of the order of 240 Hz, are needed as you quadruple linear resolution of current HD, said Bower.”