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NHK’s massive boost for 4K programming

Last week’s MIPtv programming market at Cannes saw Japan’s public broadcaster showcase a growing number of 4K shows ready for licensing to international broadcasters.

The shows are made available via Japan’s ‘NexTV-Forum’, a consortium of Japanese producers and broadcasters including NHK itself, but also Saga TV, BS Japan, Tokyo Broadcasting, Japan Cable & Telecommunications Assoc, Asahi Broadcasting, Fuji TV. Yomiuri Telecasting, Sapporo Visual, and Imagine CR Inc.

Each of the production companies is building up their inventories in readiness for this year’s 4K test transmissions from NHK and next summer’s debut of 8K transmissions, and including 8K transmissions from the Rio Olympics. SkyPerfecTV, a rival to NHK, already has two 4K channels on air over Japan.

Shinichi Nagano, deputy head of programming at NHK, said that Japan’s 4K ‘road map’ is on schedule, adding: “This is a really exciting time for NHK. We have already completed about 20 programming projects, and this year we plan on completing 45-50 new projects in 4K. All of them are in really high-end quality, and we are also looking for additional co-production projects with broadcasters such as the BBC.”

Nagano highlighted NHK’s significant investment in a major 4K Natural History documentary series, including CGI footage, “Deep Sea Evolution, which he admitted was “famously expensive” as far as the computer-generated footage was concerned.

But NHK has plenty of other equally compelling 4K footage in production, including a 30-minute show (from NHK Enterprises) which compares and contrasts a Ferrari BB512 and a Lamborghini Countach LP400S.

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