TV with 16 times resolution of HDTV passed by UN standards body

Ultra High Definition TV, with 7680x4320 resolution and 120 frames/sec, was approved by the International Telecommunication Union

A new television format that has 16 times the resolution of current High Definition TV has been approved by an international standards body, Japanese sources said Thursday.

UHDTV, or Ultra High Definition Television, allows for programming and broadcasts at resolutions of up to 7680 by 4320, along with frame refresh rates of up to 120Hz, double that of most current HDTV broadcasts. The format also calls for a broader palette of colors that can be displayed on screen.

The video format was approved earlier this month by member nations of the International Telecommunication Union, a standards and regulatory body agency of the United Nations, according to an official at NHK, Japan's public broadcasting station, and another at the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications. Both spoke on condition of anonymity.

Japan has been pushing for international approval of the new format, which was designed and developed by NHK. It is hoped that international adoption will give the country an advantage as television progresses to the next generation. NHK has stated that it hopes to begin widespread trial broadcasts of the format, which it calls Super Hi-Vision, by 2020.

The standard also includes a smaller layout, which is 3840 by 2160 pixels. The two arrangements are commonly referred to by their horizontal pixel counts, or 8k and 4k.

A document posted by the ITU earlier this year said the same standard will be used both in living rooms and broad public spaces, including the large screens used in movie theaters and sports venues.

NHK and Japanese electronics makers are still working on their implementation of the format, tackling issues such as the high-speed compression needed to send it over the air, the vast storage requirements, and technical issues with developing advanced cameras. The resolution is so fine that cameraman using equipment with HD screens can only see 1/16 of what they are filming.

International standards on audio specifications as well as broadcast formats have yet to be passed. NHK is advocating a 22.2 multichannel audio format.

Yesterday, LG announced it will soon begin sales of an 84-inch TV capable of showing 4k for about US$22,000, though the company admitted there is still little content available at that resolution. During the summer Olympics, NHK together with British broadcaster BBC showed parts of the event using the 8k format.

Japanese electronics makers such as Panasonic and Sharp have also showed large-screen UHDTV sets. Sony and JVC have released 4k projectors.

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Jay Alabaster

IDG News Service

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