Super Hi-Vision: Broadcasters take hi-def even higher

If 1080p just isn't enough for you, perhaps you should consider the ultra-high-definition Super Hi-Vision, which offers so much detail you're probably going to need new eyes to appreciate it

Ian Morris
2 min read

It's no secret that the Japanese are into their high definition televisions -- they've been able to watch HD for years now. They even had an analogue transmission for HD in the late 80s, beating the rest of the world by some considerable margin. It's no surprise then that they quickly got bored of HD, and came up with something called Super Hi-Vision, which is even better.

Super Hi-Vision pictures are made up of 33 million pixels, transmitted 60 times per second with a frame size of a staggering 7,680x4,320 pixels. Super Hi-Vision has been demonstrated before at the International Broadcasting Convention, but this year it will feature live broadcasts for the first time. The live material will come from a camera in central London, which at these resolutions will surely pick up all manner of naughtiness, like people drinking booze on buses, and an awful lot of nose picking.

The live footage from London will be mixed with video, transmitted via satellite from a storage server in Torino, Italy and will be mixed with pre-recorded footage from Japan and then projected by an 8k projector. A downscaled feed will be seen at some stands at a much more reasonable resolution of 3,840x2,160 pixels -- still twice as many lines as 1080p.

As every movie fan knows, sound is 50 per cent of the experience, and super-mega-ultra-high-definition also features 22.2-channel surround sound for a truly immersive experience. 22.2 audio is comprised of nine speakers above ear level, ten speakers at ear level and five speakers lower than ear level, including stereo sub-woofers. You might want to start the begging process with your other half now, because if they don't care for 5.1 sound, we're certain they won't take well to an additional 18 speakers knocking around the lounge.

The video will be compressed using MPEG-2, and transmitted over an ultra-broadband fibre. We can only hope they've gone for an unlimited broadband package, as stepping over their limit could be very costly indeed.

So what does this have to do with UK consumers? Well, we very much doubt we're anywhere near getting Super Hi-Vision TV shows, and even if we were, you'd need a screen the size of your wall to even come close to making it worthwhile. And who wants to watch EastEnders that size? Hollyoaks we can understand. But not EastEnders. UHD could have some uses though, such as immersive virtual reality -- we're sure there's a pornographic use too. There usually is. –Ian Morris