NHK's 8K Super Hi-Vision shows the future of TVs and video cameras

IBC prototype demonstrates the advantages of both 8K resolution and 120Hz frame rate

A prototype Super Hi-Vision camera from Japanese public broadcaster NHK, on show at the International Broadcasting Convention in Amsterdam, has shown off the advantages of both higher resolution and faster frame rates than current TVs and broadcast video cameras are capable of.

Engadget has a video of the setup being demonstrated at IBC — a Super Hi-Vision broadcast camera prototype shooting live video of a still life scene, with fast-moving images displayed on a 120Hz computer monitor scrolling sideways in a carousel.

The video is then shown on twin side-by-side 4K TVs, with one running at 60Hz and one running at 120Hz. While the difference isn't visible in the video — which itself is shooting at 30 frames per second, cancelling out the visible effect of the 120Hz 8K camera — Engadget writer Zach Honig says the difference is easily visible:

"...because the higher frequency comes directly from the source, it appears perfectly natural, and much more pleasant... you can take us on our word -- the improvement is quite dramatic."

Engadget also has a gallery of photos that demonstrate the effect that shooting video at a 120Hz native frame rate means. The fifth and six pictures show markedly more detail on the 4K TV that's showing 120Hz versus the one that's showing 60Hz.

LCD televisions with 120Hz native refresh rates (100Hz in Australia, where AC power runs at 50Hz rather than the 60Hz of Japan and the US) are becoming more common, but there is precious little content to display that uses the screens' full potential.

Even the cinematic world is slowly but surely moving towards faster refresh rates, with Peter Jackson's adaptation of the J.R.R. Tolkien classic The Hobbit being shot at 48Hz rather than the industry standard 24Hz.

The UHDTV standard, with 8K resolution at 120Hz, was recently approved by the International Telecommunications Union, the UN body responsible for setting video format standards.

NHK hopes to begin trial broadcasts of the format by 2020.

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Campbell Simpson

Campbell Simpson

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