Ultra HD: Pencil it in for 2025

Chicago Cubs fans waiting for a World Series victory will have some company in the waiting department as NHK s demonstration of Ultra HD, with more than 7,500 by 4,000 lines of resolution and 22.2 channels of audio gave broadcasters a hint of what the broadcast future might look like in 2025.

The exact specs of the system delivers 7,680×4,320 lines and 32 million pixels, 16 times the current 1920×1080 standard that has two million pixels. Nagamitsu Endo, NHK Enterprises America producer, co-productions, says the company only has two cameras to shoot material but he is hoping one of them will be stationed in the U.S. so NHK can shoot UltraHD images around the U.S. at scenic spots and sporting events.

The demonstration at NAB included footage from sumo wrestling matches, soccer, and an NBA game. While the images sparkled for close-up still scenes of crowds, flowers and crabs optical technology was pushed to the limits for sports content.

Massive data rates, as expected, are part of the story. Acquiring images requires 3 Gbps of bandwidth while transmission data rates are currently 640 Mbps. As for audio 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.

Randall P. Dark, president of HD Vision Studios in Los Angeles and one of the true early adopters of HD production gear, says the technology on display was a bit of d j vu all over again as the massive size of the cameras and gear harkened back to early days of HD. And while its unclear if the technology has an application for broadcasts to living rooms it definitely seems destined for movie theaters with large screens.

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