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Rio Olympics 8K Broadcast

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TV resolution standards are advancing with breakneck speed. New frontiers in picture and sound quality are even exceeding the ability of broadcasters and manufacturers to adapt. Only a few of the newer TV sets can handle 4K video, and most pay TV service providers are still in the process of adapting their systems for it. 8K would be even more difficult. It will take longer.

Stragglers could lose, though. Technology refuses to stand still and wait for them to catch up. NHK, Japan’s national broadcaster, announced on Monday that it will air some events in the Rio De Janeiro Olympics in 8K. This is twice as sharp as 4K video, and eight times as sharp as conventional 1080p HD video.

Though widespread commercial availability of 8K-capable TV sets is yet future, NHK is sponsoring ‘Super High Vision’ viewing events throughout Japan and Brazil.

With resolution of 7680 X 4320, and with 22.2 channel surround sound, the NHK 8K broadcast exceeds the capacity of all known home theater systems. NHK, in partnership with the Olympic Broadcasting Services and Globo, the most prominent Brazilian broadcaster, is inviting the public to attend events broadcast in Rio De Janeiro by an experimental terrestrial relay, and in Japan by satellite.

NHK will broadcast a total of 130 hours of content in 8K, much of it live. This will include the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, judo, basketball, gymnastics, swimming, and the men’s ’football’ (soccer) final.

With its broadcast of the Rio Olympics games, NHK is on pace to meet the goals it laid out for itself last year in its 8K Roadmap. The company also wants to begin public broadcasting in 8K by 2018, and wants to see widespread adoption of 8K video by 2020. This would be just be in time for the Tokyo Olympics.

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