The Future: Ultra High Definition Display

NHK TV demonstrating the Super Hi Vision display

Ultra HDTV (also known as “Super Hi-Vision” or “Ultra HD”), is an experimental video format conceptualized by the Japanese public broadcasting network, NHK.

An Ultra HD is 4x wider and 4x higher than a normal HDTV screen, which in effect produces a spectacular 7,680 x 4,320 pixels (33,177,600 pixels in total). This is about 16x the pixel resolution than a standard HD screen. However, several health concerns have been raised for this.

In addition to the video quality, the sound quality has improved vastly. 24 channels of audio can be used with 24 speakers, producing a difference comparable to the Ultra HD video resolution. Currenly, only 3 cameras are able to capture video in Ultra HD format for about 20 minutes (4 Terrabytes worth) in a single day. However, it’s wise to remember that the current infrastructure is not designed to cope with Ultra HDTV requirements and in the coming years, many of these current challenges will be addressed.

We believe that the London 2012 games will be broadcasted in Ultra HD somewhere, and will be widely available by 2020.

Let’s take a trip back in time as we explore the history of the HD TV.

  • In August 1936, a British high definition service begins trials and regular service using baird and Marconi-EMI systems.
  • February 1937, the baird system was discontinued. However, France followed up with their own system in 1938.
  • 1941 brought the US NTSC system to the stage.
  • France brings even higher resolution standards in 1949. This system would be HD, even in today’s standards. However, this was only in monochrome. The revolutionary 405 line system moved the aspect ratio from 5:4 to 4:3.
  • Colour broadcasts arrived with similar high resolutions with the US NTSC system in 1953.
  • European systems did not follow up, until 1960s with PAL and SECOM colour broadcasts.
  • First demonstration of HDTV took place in the US in 1981.
  • In mid 1991, all leading Advanced TVs (ATV) designs were based on an all-digital approach.
  • 1993, Japan demonstrates Hi-Ten Bomberman, a videogame that is made for their widescreen HDTV as a tech demo.
  • The adoption of Digital Video Broadcasting (DVB) in the 2000’s lead 525-line US NTSC, 625-PAL and SECOM to be regarded as “Standard Definition” or “SD”
  • In 2005, the HD revolution explodes. Homes soon adopt HD TVs, from 720p to 1080p with 16:9 aspect ratio. The FCC announces a deadline for the conversion of analogue to digital broadcasts.
  • September 29th 2010, NHK and BBC successfully broadcast a Super Hi-Vision signal from England to Japan.
  • May 19th, 2011 – Sharp unveils its 85-inch Ultra HDTV prototype.

And this is where we are, discussing what the future has in store for us now. The picture below demonstrates just how far we have come in video technology.



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