Perhaps I’m getting old, but it only seems like yesterday that High-Definition TV (HDTV) was introduced. We were promised a new era of television, where sporting events would be brought to us in our own homes and we would feel like we were there in person. Except, it would be better than really being there because with HDTV, you could watch events unfold from the comfort of your own sofa with a bowl of cereal in your hand (or is the sports and cereal combo just me?).
For some people, TV quality is all about the megapixels. The more, the better. There are a few different variations of HDTV, but at its best the megapixel count comes to 2.1. That’s not too bad, but as you may have guessed, the story doesn’t end there.
The Japanese national broadcaster, NHK (who were involved in the development of HDTV), have recently demonstrated their new Ultra-HD system called Super Hi-Vision (SHV). SHV uses 16 times as many pixels as HDTV, weighing in at 33 megapixels. During the London 2012 Olympic Games, the SHV system was used to display events at 5 theatres across the world. Specialist recording equipment was shipped over from Japan for the event and with only 3 SHV cameras in the world, it was important to get things right.
During the Olympic Games, screenings in the selected UK theatres were open to members of the public. Feedback from those who attended has been full of praise. One man commented that it looked like he was actually in The Olympic Stadium, watching events through a glass window.
NHK certainly have high hopes for the future of SHV. Their long term aim is to produce images with a higher resolution than the human eye, which can be watched on a screen bigger than the audiences field of view. Of course, we can’t all fit a screen that size into our homes and so there is a balance to be drawn. NHK are pushing ahead though, and are expecting to offer SHV to homes in Japan by 2022.
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