Now, Ultra HD!

Just when the U.S. and the rest of the world was finally settling into a routine with the HD transition along comes Japanese broadcaster NHK with a demonstration of Ultra High-Definition TV system at the NAB convention.

Resolution of the new system is 7,680×4,320 lines, delivering 32 million pixels, 16 times the current 1920×1080 standard that has two million pixels. While Nagamitsu Endo, NHK Enterprises America producer, co-productions, says the system isn’t expected to be ready for consumer deployment until 2025 it already has caught the eye of the industry’s leading HD proponents.

And how could it not? Displayed on a massive 20×30 foot screen with 22.2 channels of audio the jaw-dropping material included dramatic shots of dawn in New York City, crowds at soccer matches, cherry blossoms in bloom in Japan, and a killer whale jumping at an aquarium show that was so realistic attendees expected to get wet.

“In the early days of HD technology was a moving target and NHK has just raised the bar again,” says Randall P. Dark, president of HD Vision Studios in Los Angeles and one of the true early adopters of HD production gear. “And once again we’re looking at big, bulky technology that is user hostile, very expensive, and will take some time before someone like myself can go in the field and create images with.”

Endo says there are only two Ultra HD cameras in the world and he hopes to have one in the U.S. to acquire U.S.-based video. The system features a massive camera that looks like a prop out of “Good Night and Good Luck” and requires a specially built Image Processor, the VP-8400, from Astrodesign. Features of the system include real-time chromatic aberration correction (which keeps colors more realistic) and HD resolution conversion so images shot at the higher resolution can easily be downconverted to current HD standards. Transmission data rates are currently 640 Mbps.

The system also features 22.2 channels of audio, making it, eventually, ideal for theater and Imax-like movie going experiences. There are four layers of audio: a lower layer with three channels, a middle layer with10 channels and an upper level with nine channels. Two Low Frequency channels are also in place.

“It’s very expensive technology but it’s exciting because it’s a level up,” says Dark. “It’s bigger, better and brighter. I’m just upset that it isn’t American companies that are coming up with technologies like this.”

  1. Eideard says:

    Alas, it also appears to be technology meant for large theatrical spaces. The several transitions from B&W to color to Hi-Def all commit readily to individual and family use — in appropriate spaces.

    While I’ve worked on the occasional trophy home which could [and probably would] acquire one of these monsters as soon as practical production was at hand, I think folks need smaller homes, smaller rooms and a style of living that better suits our resources and species.

    Yes, appropriate political analyses also follow — if needed. I’m just waiting for the World Cup in Hi-Def, in a few more weeks. That should get me through this year in sports!

  2. Mark T. says:

    Man, we still haven’t transitioned to HDTV yet and someone is already proposing Ultra HD? What ever happened to holographic TV? Shouldn’t that be on the horizon by now? I recall research from the 80’s that showed holographic video images with the use of a set of laser emitters.

    I would love to have a twenty or thirty foot screen in Ultra HD in my stadium seating home theater room (maybe in my next house – wishful thinking). However, higher resolutions are relatively easy to accomplish. It’s just a matter of money and video standards. How about somebody breaking the paradigm and giving us true 3D TV without silly goggles or glasses?

  3. John Wofford says:

    That’s nice, now if we had content worth watching we would have something. No matter the mega 100000x resolution, Gilligan is still Gilligan.

  4. “Give me my bugs bunny in Ultra HD TV”
    Uncle dave, it’s a Very Realistic image.
    6 times greater image resolution than today’s best standard HDTV. but
    How many years away before it becomes a reality in the Us market.
    Consumers are strugling and forced to make their first Hd tv purchase by 2009.
    Will broadcaster upgrade thier equipment so fast?
    Oh you left out the best part………..$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ –Richard

  5. Angel H. wong says:

    Just imagine how good will be the smut for UHD!

    You could even notice when that “thing” had makeup!

  6. FriedTurkey says:

    The US Congress already passes legislation to phase out HDTV for Ultra HD in 2025. The law will then be extended to 2028 and then 2032….

  7. kris2pe says:

    I live in a 3rd world country & personally the signal here is all in analog! I would love to see HD videos. But the problem is buying a tv set coz I heard that only plasma tvs can project HD quality well enough. The real problem is that plasma shelf life is like 5yrs tops. Then ur force to buy a new one that is going to cost about a half mil in pesos!
    Besides how much detail do you really need! Our eyes can barely see the entire detail in 24 inch CRT tv how much detail do you want? To point where you can see their black heads on their face?

  8. Luís Camacho says:

    Imagine playing Sonic 30yrs special edition on a XBox 1080 with that rez!

    Now that would be playing Sonic alright, not like me playing it on a GC and a 54cm SDTV 🙁

  9. Me says:

    Eideard, why would anyone want to live in smaller homes? I want everyone to live in a home that could fit at least one of these in every room. That means you would need at least 12 of these babies.

  10. Mark T. says:

    kris2pe, don’t knock HD until you’ve seen it. It is very nice. And, yes, you can see detail that makes it seem like the people are actually in the room with you. Nature shows are amazing on HD!

    Plasma HDTV’s are great and you are right about their lifespan (which can be short), but you can do just fine with a CRT HDTV. I have a widescreen RCA 38″ CRT HDTV and it looks great at 1080i. It even has a HD DirecTV decoder built in. The useful life of this TV will likely be 10 to 20 years of reliable use.

    Don’t they have satellite in the “3rd world”? That is probably the easiest way for you to get HD.

  11. kris2pe says:

    I agree! Yes we have satellite & Yes I get to see American tv programs like Conan or Lost or American Idol!
    Is the Sony Wega able to project HD quality? Not sure coz Conan is an HD broadcast program & all I notice is that the aspect ratio is much wider!
    Maybe its downgraded on converted I don’t know! But I do get to see HD rips on the net! 😉


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