NHK will broadcast the Olympic Games in Brazil in 8K
NHK will broadcast the Olympic Games in Brazil in 8K. Image credit: PC Games Hardware

According to The Japan Times, Japanese broadcaster NHK began the first 8K satellite broadcasts this week.

The airing started on Monday with 8K and 4K programming, including some footage of the 2012 London Olympic Games to test the 8K and they have plans for 8K coverage of the 2016 Rio Olympics.

The 8K is the current highest ultra high definition television resolution in digital video and cinematography. It is 16 times Full HD resolution and four times as sharp as 4K with its resolution being 7680×4320. It allows for 22.2 channel audio.

Japan NHK will broadcast the Oylimpic Games in Brazil in 8k
Japan NHK will broadcast the Olympic Games in Brazil in 8K. Image credit: The USB Port

A few cities in Osaka and Tokyo will enjoy Brazil’s Olympics in 8K

Even though they are currently airing, it does not mean that everyone can see them. 8K TV’s are not that common and even by owning one; it does not exactly give the owner the fortune to see these test broadcasts. NHK only rolled the tryout in designated locations in Osaka and Tokyo.

The channel will air daily from 10 am to 5 pm, with some exclusive coverage of the Rio Olympics. Some programs broadcasted in 8K these last few days have been the highlight of the Rio Olympics, the open ceremony of 2012 London Olympics and Japan’s Aomori Nebuta festival.

While NHK will show some of the 2016 Rio Olympics in 8K, they are looking forward to the 2020 Olympics in Japan. The Asian organization expects to have the set up ready for the epic sports event in 2020. They scheduled the rollout to start in 2018.

NHK has been gearing up to support 8K for a long time

The development of 8K generates a lot of challenges. Equipment like cameras, mixers, monitors and a lot more of gear is required to be built just to handle uncompressed 8K video in real time, at data rates that can reach 100Gbps.

The compression equipment then takes the signal and encode it into more efficient streams for broadcast in real time. The satellite signal produced by all this process is of tens of megabits per second, and consumers receivers and televisions are needed to decode it.

Even though the 8K broadcasts of the Rio Olympics will be only able to Japan, those in the U.S. with a VR hardware will be able to enjoy it.

It seems both 4K and 8K technologies are going to coexist rather than compete 

4K TV’s has just started to become popular and more affordable as the prices have been dropping lately. Moreover, 8K is not entirely ready yet. NHK will expand its ultra high-definition project in a couple of years, enough time for 4K to establish.

The 4K means it has a horizontal resolution on the order of 4000 pixels and vertical resolution on the order of 2000 pixels. As of now, the technology thrives in the digital cinema branch, and there are lots of 4K UHD TVs in the market.

The growth of the technology allowed manufacturers to make cheap 4K monitors, and both NVIDIA and AMD have launched budget graphic cards that run games in UHD. Moreover, Microsoft and Sony announced their 4K consoles.

NBCUniversal is currently using 4K via Comcast, DirecTV and Dish Network for transmitting most of the Olympics in Ultra HD, so it would be safe to say 4K is here to stay.

Source: Digital Trends