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Japan readies for 4K

Two of Japan’s broadcasting giants are ramping up Ultra-HD programming for transmission as the nation embraces the improved technology.

NTT Plala, established in 1995, is a major cable/IP supplier and at last week’s MIPCOM UHD event in Cannes told delegates that its 4K transmissions, which commenced in October 2014 and were the first to launch in Japan in 4K, will shortly have more than 700 titles available in Ultra-HD.

Hisamichi Sato, NTT Plala’s Content Strategy Planning Manager, said that when the service first started transmissions, they launched with just 120 titles, which grew to 440 by September 2015.

While much of NTT Plala’s focus has been on imported movies and home-produced variety and documentary programming, the portfolio was now expanding to include kids programming. Sato unveiled its popular ‘Sherlock Homes’ puppet show, produced in collaboration with public broadcaster NHK.

NTT Plala has also partnered with National Geographic Channel to produce a documentary on Shuji Nakamura, the recipient of the 2014 Nobel Prize for Physics. Nakamura invented blue LEDs. NTT’s fascinating output includes a series where abandoned buildings are visited, as well as a number of comedy series.

Meanwhile, SkyPerfect JSAT’s chief researcher Yutaka Imai said that Sky Perfect now has three 4K channels on air. Its Cinema channel launched in March (09.00-24.00 hrs) this year along with a General Entertainment channel which runs from 09.00 to midnight. In June, it launched its Ultra-HD promotional channel helped by an accumulated portfolio of 136 shows transmitted in 4K.

The March-August transmission schedule for Sky Perfect included 30 football games, seven baseball events, 21 music shows (including a live arena concert with Paul McCartney), plus a slew of factual shows and movies.

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