NHK Starts 4K, 8K Broadcasting Tests

TOKYO—School might be out here in the U.S., but Japanese broadcaster NHK is getting ready to test both 4K and 8K high-definition broadcasts on its BS satellite channels, according to a report from The Japan Times. The goal of these tests is to reportedly verify and popularize the technology ahead of the 2020 Summer Olympics and Paralympics, which will take place in Tokyo.

Currently, viewers are not able to watch 4K or 8K broadcasting with conventional TV sets or tuners. To offer a preview, NHK says it will place 8K TVs at its broadcasting centers across Japan for visitors. The broadcaster will offer 8K coverage of the opening ceremony of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, as well as swimming and track events. Public viewing events of 8K are also being planned at six venues in Tokyo and Osaka.

Japan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs plans to start broadcasting in 4K and 8K in 2018.

A Timeline of NHK’s 8K Super Hi Vision Development

1995: Research on ultra high-definition video system begins.
March 2002: Ultra high-definition video system with 4000 scanning lines and 3D sound reproduction system displayed at the inaugural ceremony at NHK Science & Technology Research Laboratories.
2004: Ultra high-definition video system with 4000 scanning lines and 22.2 multichannel sound system named “Super Hi-Vision.”
March 2005: Super Hi-Vision shown on a 6OO-inch screen at the Expo 2005 Aichi Japan.
April 2006: UHD debuts at 2006 NAB Show
December 2006: NHK’s program “Kouhaku Utagassen” (The Red and White Year-end Song Festival) successfully transmitted with bit-rate compression over IP networks from Tokyo to Osaka, in cooperation with NTT and NTT Communications.
October 2007: Video format standardized by SMPTE.
July 2008: Audio system format (22.2 multichannel sound system) standardized by SMPTE.
May 2010: Full resolution color camera displayed at NHK Science & Technology Research Laboratories open house.
May 2011: 85-inch liquid crystal display and display with built-in 22.2 multichannel sound reproduction system exhibited at NHK Science & Technology Research Laboratories open house.
May 2012: Compact camera (same size as HDTV camera) is developed.
July 2012: Public viewings of the 2012 London Olympic Games in Super Hi-Vision held.
September 2014: Video shot using an 8K Super Hi-Vision camera with a frame frequency of 120Hz was shown for the first time at the IBC Show.
November 2014: NHK announces plans to deploy 8K transmissions in time for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
Source: NHK