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The ITU’s research working party (ITU-R Working Party 6C) has met and agreed the parameter values for the “next two generations” of TV transmission technology. These are the (so-called) 4K and 8K UHDTV formats. The meeting took place alongside a Forum on Emerging Media Technologies in Geneva, Switzerland.
David Wood, the EBU’s deputy technology and development director, chairs the WP6C committee and says that fixing these parameters is an important step for tomorrow’s TV. He states that while the mass market will not be able to buy these sets yet, the concept is one that our children will enjoy.
Yukihiro Nishada, a senior research engineer at Japan’s NHK public broadcaster, says that NHK will start test transmissions of the new technology in 2020, although “we want to try and bring this [date] forward as early as possible.”
Both are speaking on a new EBU video which clearly explains the technology involved, and also covers the prospects of 22.2 channel sound which is part of the U-HDTV specification. (Watch the video at http://tech.ebu.ch/Jahia/site/tech/cache/offonce/news/4k-and-8k-uhdtv-defined-16may12 )
The EBU statement says: “The new formats take advantage of future displays’ greater colour range, have the option of ‘constant luminance’ encoding, and allow up to 120 pictures/second. Discussions to broadcast these systems currently centre on the to-date largely unused 22GHz satellite broadcast band, but terrestrial broadcasting may eventually be possible.”
Lieven Vermaele, EBU Director of Technology and Development commented: “Facilitating these superb pictures hasn’t been made possible overnight – this represents over ten years of technical discussion and experiment. It has been a long journey – but we are delighted to have arrived at this point and pleased that the EBU has been able to make a contribution to broadcasting history.”
The upcoming London Olympic Games will feature U-HDTV with outside broadcasts in shown on three giant displays in key public viewing locations.
Earlier this year NHK (and Panasonic) unveiled a 145 inch UHDTV Plasma 4K display, while NHK and Sharp have also demonstrated an 85 inch 8K display.