8K eco-system makes progress

While many of the world’s broadcasters and viewers are investing in 4K, the shift to 8K is also happening – at least in Japan. There, the plan is to capture and broadcast the 2020 Summer Olympics in 8K, and to broadcast the images to special locations and even homes equipped with 8K displays. Indeed, the displays themselves can now be bought – albeit at a price.

Chris Chinnock, a lead writer on specialty trade publication Display Daily, says that while the bandwidth demand will be huge for 8K, connectivity solutions are now emerging, and even single cable solutions.

“At CES 2017, the HDMI Forum announced the upcoming release of Version 2.1, which will offer support for higher data rates, dynamic metadata and improved audio signaling,” says Chinnock. “In terms of bandwidth, the data rate will rise from 18 Gb/s to 48 Gb/s using four lanes running at 12 Gb/s with 16/18 bit encoding that reduces the usable payload to 38.4 Gb/s. That’s a huge increase and is enough to support the signal above. Silicon to support this protocol is not yet available, but should be widely adopted by 2020.”

“HDMI 2.1 also supports Display Stream Compression (DSC), a light compression scheme (typically up to 3:1) also used in DisplayPort. This should allow 8K, 16-bit, 4:4:4 at 60 fps or 8K, 16-bit, 4:2:0 at 120 fps over the same four lanes,” he adds.

While not all the 8K connectivity has been implemented yet, give it a year or two, suggests Chinnock. “If that is not enough options and bandwidth, there is also a new interface being standardized by SMPTE called U-SDI. It is a 24-core multimode fiber that runs at a raw data rate of 240 Gbps (lower with error correction), and supports a maximum cable length of 100m.”

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