Ultra-HD/4K is far from mainstream at present, however many industry players are already looking to the ‘next step’ in TV’s quest for higher resolution.

Japan’s public broadcaster NHK, along with the nation’s two giant electronics specialists, Sony and Panasonic, are to cooperate in order to further develop technology for TV’s capable to handle 8K video transmissions. 8K (Super Hi-Vision) has four-times the image resolution of 4K/Ultra HD.

The Japanese consortium is looking to regain the technological initiative somewhat lost to its South Korean arch-rivals at LG and Samsung. There could also be spin-off benefits for Sony and Panasonic in their camera divisions (both video and ‘still’ cameras). Sony’s F65 Cine Alta high-end professional video camera – and appreciated by many film directors – is capable of capturing 8K.

Japan is already testing 8K transmissions, and beamed about 100 hours of 8K coverage of the Rio Olympics, although the broadcasts went only to designated ‘public viewing’ screens. NHK, and other Japanese broadcasters, say they will start regular 8K transmissions in 2018.

The trio will be overseen by NHK and it is expected that chip-set developer Socionext (itself formed by a merger between Fujitsu and Panasonic’s chip divisions) will be involved in developing a ‘next generation’ chip-set for use in 8K.

Sony has already said it will have 8K sets on the market in time for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

NHK is a regular at trade shows such as IBC in Amsterdam, and at MIPCOM in Cannes (October 17-20) it will be showcasing programming in 4K and 8K.

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By Expat