Super High Definition TV – Is it really a better mousetrap?

"If man has good corn, or wood, or boards, or pigs to sell, or can make better chairs or knives, crucibles, or church organs, than anyone else, you will find a broad, hard-beat road to his house, tho it be in the woods. " – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Development of Super High Definition TV

This appears to be the philosophy of the engineers and designers at the research laboratories of the Japanese Broadcasting Corporation (NHK). Super High Definition TV or Super Hi-Vision TV (SHV), is technically referred to as Ultra High Definition TV (UDTV – often seen: UHDTV), has been a work in progress since 1995. NHK works in 30 year cycles; similar to their invention, development and implementation of HDTV, which was conceptualized in 1969, developed by 1989, and put into production in 1999. NHK demonstrated a proof-of-concept design of UDTV – the super high definition TV – in 2005, with expectations it will be fully developed by 2015 and readily available to consumers by 2020. UDTV broadcasting should be commonplace by 2025.

Some Dry Super High Definition TV Technical Details

UDTV is an extremely high-resolution imaging system, with 16 times the resolution of an equivalently-sized HDTV. This is 7680 by 4320 – a total of 32 million pixels – compared to 1920 by 1080, which is 2 million pixels. The bandwidth required to support native mode transmission of data is significantly more than 24Gbps, far more data than can be transmitted by current available available technology, which is currently an experimental maximum of 21Gbps. The result is an image where pixels are indistinguishable from each other on a 250cm screen from a distance of 190 cm. Also, the practical viewing angle of the super high definition TV is 100 degrees – compare with the 30 degree viewing angle of current HDTV.

Super High Definition Audio

HDTV uses the 5.1 5-speaker format for audio. The super HDTV uses a newly-developed 22.1 standard of 22 speakers segregated in 9 speakers above ear level, 10 at ear level, and 3 low frequency speaker groups below ear level. When used in combination with the ultra-dense video of super high definition TV, the sense of reality is so intense that some people watching the demonstration experienced symptoms resembling motion sickness.

The Future of High Definition TV

The developers of HDTV and super HDTV are looking beyond the screen. Kenkichi Tanioka, director general of NHK Science and Technical Research Laboratories indicated that the SHV TV is going to be their last venture into the traditional two-dimensional TV development and they are already working on 3D full three-dimensional TV. Given their development cycle, 3D should be ready for the consumer by 2030.

No worries about kicking your current or future HDTV to the kerb, super HD TV is still a long way down the road. There are intermediate formats also under consideration, including the so-called Quad HDTV, with 4 times the resolution of current HDTV, but 4 times less than the super definition TV.

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