ITU study group agrees on technical specs for UHDTV

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has revealed new technical specifications for Ultra High Definition Television (UHDTV).

A group of global experts, working as the ITU Study Group on Broadcasting Service ITU-R Study Group 6, have reached agreement on most of the pertinent technical characteristics of the new standard for television. It marks a leap forward beyond the current standards for today's HDTV, with resolutions of up to 8K and beyond.

NHK, the Japanese public service broadcaster, has demonstrated UHDTV (which it calls "Super Hi-Vision") at a number of events, including the IBC Show in Amsterdam in September and again earlier this month in other parts of the world. The screen displayed a resolution of 33 million pixels, compared to a maximum 2 million pixels for the highest-quality HDTV screens available today.

In September, a trial live UHDTV link was arranged between London and Amsterdam (and worked perfectly) and plans are under way to cover part of the 2012 London Olympic Games in UHDTV for screening at public venues around the world.

"The extremely high quality of UHDTV will have a definite impact on our lifestyle and on our engagement with the programs we watch," said David Wood, chairman of the relevant ITU Working Party in the Broadcasting Service Study Group.

Christoph Dosch, chairman of the Broadcasting Service Study Group, said "UHDTV promises to bring about one of the greatest changes to audio-visual communications and broadcasting in recent decades. Technology is truly at the cusp of transforming how people experience audio-visual communications."

Hamadoun Touré, the ITU Secretary-General, predicted that UHDTV would create an immersive experience for viewers and generate a host of new business and marketing opportunities.

Consumer products using the technology will take years to be widely available. An important application for the additional pixels available in UHDTV screens might be glasses-free 3-D. 3-D without glasses has been difficult due to the large number of pixels needed on a screen to accommodate different viewing angles.