NHK, Japan’s national broadcaster, has partnered with Eutelsat Communications to launch the world’s first 8K TV network; BS8K. The first live broadcast went live on 2nd of December from the Vatican where images were transmitted to Tokyo via the EUTELSAT 12 West B satellite with a mobile uplink provided by M-three Satcom.
This event by NHK has pioneered distribution via satellite in the super high definition 8K format that NHK is calling Super Hi-Vision. The channel, launched on Saturday, offers a mind-boggling 30,000,000 pixels resolution, 16 times that of HD TV, with some broadcasts supporting 24 channels of audio.
However, to appreciate the quality of the new channel, viewers will need an 8K ready display and 8K-compatible satellite receiver. So far a consumer market for 8K video has not yet taken off, although both Samsung and LG have launched 8K displays this year.
The broadcast by NHK relied on DVB-S2X modulation, in 16APSK, with HEVC encoding. The images (7680 pixels over 4320 lines, 33.3 million pixels per image) were shot at 60 frames per second in BT2020 colour space, with 10 bits of colour depth (1 billion colours) and high dynamic range HLG (Hybrid Log Gamma), combined with 22.2 channel audio.
The BS8K channel features 8K Ultra HD footage of major cultural and sporting events, museums and natural landscapes, providing viewers with a fully immersive experience which will be broadcast 12 hours a day. The channel will allow for further experimentation with 8K prior to the planned large-scale deployment of the format for the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics games in 2020.
Gerry O’Sullivan, Executive Vice President, Global TV and Video of Eutelsat commented on the launch: “Eutelsat has been a pioneer in delivering HD and Ultra HD formats since their inception, and this broadcast confirms satellite’s unique position as one of the vital technologies capable of broadcasting 8K signals. We look forward to working hand in hand with customers such as NHK as they continue to raise the bar higher for the broadcasting industry, to deliver the best possible video experience to viewers.”