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IBC2008: Looking Way Beyond HD

Placing certain themes on annual trade fairs can be a risky undertaking, but it seems clear that emerging technologies "beyond HD" as we now know it—notably stereo 3D HD, Super Hi-Vision, and a new Microsoft PC platform for television—were clearly well within the buzz zone at IBC2008, held over the past week in Amsterdam.

What was billed as the world's first live international demo of Super Hi-Vision got underway on Sept. 12 when the emerging technology's signals were transmitted from London to Amsterdam. The live SHV signals were fed via fiber and satellite between the two locations by both the BBC and NHK of Japan, with the overall demo project being managed by Siemens and partner Cable & Wireless.

Super Hi-Vision is about 16 times the bit-rate of today's HD and has been under development for several years by NHK, which has taken it to NAB and other international confabs. Content for the IBC demonstration (compressed using several MPEG-4 encoders at a bit-rate of 140 Mbps) originated from Italian broadcaster RAI's research center in Turin. Two full satellite transponders provided by Eutelsat helped carry the signal to Amsterdam.

The SHV video-over-IP transmissions originated from City Hall in London to the NHK Super HDTV Demonstration Theater in Amsterdam. SHV is not expected to be introduced to the consumer market for perhaps another decade.