According to the Ashai Times, Japan's Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications is planning to launch a 4k TV channel in the country in 2014, roughly two years ahead of any previous schedule, writes Andy Stout
According to the Ashai Times, Japan's Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications is planning to launch a 4k TV channel in the country in 2014, roughly two years ahead of any previous schedule, writes Andy Stout.
And 8K is on the way...
The newspaper report didn't stop there either. According to Reuters it carried on to mention that test broadcasts of Ultra HD 8k would then begin in 2016, again two years ahead of any previously announced plan (and four years ahead of NHK's own predictions from as little as two years ago).
The service will begin direct from communications satellites, to be followed by first satellite and then terrestrial digital broadcasting, presumably while the necessary bandwidth is made available.
No sources were actually cited by the newspaper to confirm all this, but with no swift denials forthcoming either, the industry as a whole seems to be fairly convinced by the story.
Indeed, it makes perfect sense on many levels. To be a little more precise, the 4k channel is reported to be launching in July 2014 to coincide with the start of the FIFA World Cup in Rio de Janeiro. Football (soccer if you will) is huge in Japan, and this tactic follows the traditional desire of broadcasters and consumer electronics manufacturers worldwide to link new services with major global sporting events.
Of course, famously this didn't work with London 2012 and 3D, and there is already speculation that 3D could be the great casualty of this new move. At the last World Cup in South Africa, Sony (one of the major sponsors of the tournament) spent a small fortune bankrolling the 3D capture of 25 matches from the tournament. However, with the take-up of 3D services still so disappointing, it is already seen as unlikely that it will want to do the same again in 2016 and could instead switch its 'speculative' investment to 4k.
No decision has yet been made, but it is understood that talks between FIFA (the rights holder), HBS (the host broadcaster) and Sony are ongoing.