Japan’s public service broadcaster, NHK, has launched the world’s first broadcast channel in 8K resolution. The plan is to broadcast the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in 8K into consumers’ living rooms.
First broadcast channel in 8K
NHK has helped form technical standards for decades and has been working on 4K and 8K – or Super Hi-Vision - for several years now.
In early 2014, NHK laid out a roadmap for how to make broadcasts in 8K resolution possible by 2020, in time for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. At that time, NHK told us to expect the first test broadcasts in 8K by 2016. And as promised, here it is.
8K UHD resolution has four times as many pixels as 4K UHD and 16 times as many as Full HD. It clocks in at 7680x4320 pixels, or more than 33 million pixels in total; each of which can be addressed individually.
The channel is broadcast over satellite but cannot yet be enjoyed in the comfort of your living room, simply because the technology is not ready yet. Sharp recently launched the world's first 8K T priced at around $130,000 dollars, and other manufacturers have showcased prototypes of 8K TVs on several occasions. LG and Samsung are both expected to launch 8K TVs later this year.
Instead, NHK has set up large 8K screens at different locations in Japan that will show content in either native 8K or upscaled 4K from 10.00 am to 17.00 pm daily, with extended timings during the Rio 2016 Olympics. NHK also intends to broadcast programs in categories such as art, sports, music, documentaries and concerts. The program guide is available here.
NHK is not the first to offer content in 8K. YouTube began in June 2015 to offer streaming in 8K. However, it is the first broadcast channel in 8K. NHK did not comment on technical details but has previously been using HEVC compression and a bitrate of 85 Mb/s for testing.
NHK plans to broadcast 8K signals into our living rooms in time for the opening ceremony during the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.