NHK promises “world’s first” 8K channel

Executives from Japanese public broadcaster NHK told delegates at the MIPCOM UHD event in Cannes on October 16th that it was making a variety of programming in 8K ‘Super Hi-Vision’ as well as increasing its investment in 4K content.

Senior producer/Global content development, Yukari Hayashi told delegates that in December 2018 NHK will launch the world’s first 8K channel to complement the 4K channel over Japan. “Our 4K channel will screen 18 hours of content a day and the 8K channel and 12 hours and 10 minutes of content a day. That’s a major commitment, so we need to create many different kinds of 8K/4K programming to be ready for this massive task. 8K and 4K each has its own respective and 4K’s advantages combine high-resolution with mobility, so it is well-suited for live coverage of sports events for example, while 8K technology allows us to create a new type of astonishing ultra-high high-definition, wide-angle content.”

“Each channel presents its own challenges and we would like to work with producers from across the world to produce programmes that utilise these strengths,” she added.

NHK showcased a 60-minute factual documentary on the Yellowstone National Park in 8K (down-converted to 4K). The show includes aerial shots of a pack of wolves in quite spectacular footage with a clarity of detail that ‘ordinary’ TV cannot match. Senior producer Jun Ochiai also highlighted a project ‘Tokyo by Night’ captured in 8K and High Dynamic Range, as well as a 90-minute ballet at the famous Marinsky Theatre which was filmed in 22.2 channel sound.

“The ballet’s producer was amazed at the final result, saying a theatre-goer could never see this sort of detail even if sat in the best seat in the house!”, said Ochiai.

Hiroyasu Masuda, a senior manager/broadcasting technology at NHK, told delegates that the scope of 8K was far more than beautiful programmes and showed delegates microscopically filmed blood-flow through a mouse and heralded 8K’s use in medicine.

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