Super HDTV timetable emerges

Last September a major demonstration took place at broadcasting trade show IBC in Amsterdam, when Japanese public broadcaster NHK transmitted 8000 line Super HDTV images from London and Turin to the Netherlands. A consortium of other broadcasters and transmission infrastructure suppliers helped with this 'world's first' international link. Now more detail has emerged as to the probable timetable to take 4000 and 8000 line 'super' or 'ultra HDTV' through its next stages.

The news comes in the form of a comprehensive report by the NHK R&D engineers in the latest issue of the European Broadcasting Union's “Technical Review”. Yoshiaki Shishikui, Yoshihiro Fujita and Keiichi Kubota from NHK compiled the review, and remind readers that the 4K/8K (7680 x 4320 pixels in its 'full 8K' version) project has already been running since 1995, but the next year or two are key.

The IBC experiment all worked wonderfully well, and the images were truly stunning being delivered to an 8K projector and many 4K direct view screens around the IBC halls.

The team's next target is to progress the camera equipment to handle 'true' 33 million pixel cameras and lenses. “We will develop a prototype full-resolution camera with three 33-million-pixel image sensors by early 2011,” says NHK. “We expect that display manufacturers will develop a flatscreen display with the full pixel count by 2011, as well. Furthermore, we will develop a full-resolution projector by the end of 2009. By developing such cameras and direct-view displays, we can provide people with the first experience ever to see Super Hi-Vision images with full resolution in a home viewing environment.

We believe this advance will be indispensable for determining the signal parameters of future broadcasting. Besides developing the cameras and displays, we are developing compression techniques. A video bit-rate of 130 Mbit/s was used for this year's IBC transmission experiment via satellite. We will be able to compress the Super Hi-vision signal to 90 Mbit/s by early 2010. Hopefully, we can conduct a transmission experiment over a single transponder of a broadcasting satellite around 2011.”