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NHK readies “three-dimensional” TV in 2030

Three-dimensional TV has nothing to do with 3D TV, now largely discounted as yesterday’s technology. But Japan’s NHK public broadcaster is actively looking at holographic television as its next step to follow on from ‘Super Hi-Vision’, its 8K transmission system which starts broadcasting in 2018.

8K/Super Hi-Vision is being developed in time for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. But NHK’s Science & Technology Research Labs very much has three-dimensional TV in its focus, with a suggested introduction date of “about 2030”.

NHK sees three-dimensional TV as its “next step in television after 8K”.  NHK says the developments have come about since its own work in ‘conventional’ 3D and into research as to how 3D could be presented without the cumbersome glasses. “We are researching technology for capturing and displaying integral stereoscopic images with high quality, as well as devices aimed at producing 3D displays by means of holography,” says NHK Labs.

They admit that any future TV designed for holographic TV will have to manage “huge amounts information in order to reproduce depth details, and we are researching ways of increasing the number of pixels in the capture and display devices.”

NHK is already delivering working solutions, albeit using a somewhat cumbersome array of multi-viewpoint robotic cameras. Moreover, they operate in the horizontal plane (left to right) as well as – to a certain extent – above and below the object being televised. They use as an example integral 3D images of a Sumo wrestling bout gathered by 11 cameras.

NHK’s objective, they say, is “to realise a natural, physically stress-free television”.

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