May 23, 2014, 7:21 PM — Just as we have gotten used to HDTV with its 1920x1080 resolution, otherwise known as 2k resolution, there has been talk of Ultra High-Def, with 4096x2160 resolution, or 4k. That's about the resolution of 35mm film.
Well Japan is already ahead of us. The country's public broadcaster NHK today announced it has developed a 133 megapixel (MP) CMOS image sensor that can shoot a color-accurate image in 8K resolution at 60 frames per second.
The 8K Super Hi-Vision (8K SHV) system as NHK calls it, results in imagery with a resolution of 15,360 x 8,640 pixels. The sensor uses a Bayer RGB matrix, a color filter array for arranging RGB color filters on a square grid of photosensors. In each grid are two green filters, one red and one blue. SHV is four times the resolution of 4K at 33 megapixels compared to 8 megapixels for 4k.
NHK said it expects its 8K Super Hi-Vision should debut around 2020. The company hinted that the high resolution will not only go to a high resolution television but also give real 3D depth of field on a flat screen without requiring glasses and be supported on broadcast TV.
While it's the Japanese equivalent of PBS, NHK is doing electronics research work that could put Sony to shame. Among its many projects for 8K TV includes the CMOS sensor, NHK's Science and Technology Research Laboratories is showing off cameras, video equipment, recorders, satellite transmission technology and even accurate speech translation for subtitles.
Before you get your hopes up, let me dash them. Cable TV can't handle HDTV very well as it is. Copper wire is lucky if it can handle HDTV signals. A 4k signal is not twice is the size of a 2k signal, it's four times the size of 2k. And 8k is said to be 4x the size of 4k. You will need a satellite to get this, and maybe by 2020 fiber optics.
Now how long did it take the US to get just to HDTV? Plus, the Japanese like to keep their best toys for themselves for a few years before selling it abroad. This is being developed by NHK, which is funded by the Japanese government. So I wouldn't be surprised if they are a little stingy at giving it out. Then again, they may want to make some money off the IP, too.
The bottom line is I don't expect to see 8K in the US for another decade at the very least, and even then it will take a long time to get to mass deployment.