HDTV is great; the detail compared with standard television is amazing. But is there life after HDTV? To paraphrase Mel Brook’s Two Thousand Year Old Man character, “there’s something bigger than HDTV.” The Japanese public broadcaster NHK brought their “Super Hi-Vision” — or SHV for short — demo to the U.S. this month, broadcasting images recorded in from New York City to screens in Las Vegas.
What is SHV? It has a resolution of 7680 by 4320 pixels. That’s the equivalent of a wall of 16 1080p displays arranged in a four-by-four matrix. That’s equivalent to twice the resolution of 70 millimeter movie film.
We haven’t even adopted HDTV yet, and here are engineers talking about something with 16 times as many pixels. The technical hurdles are daunting; storage requirements for a show are measured in terrabytes, and how do you transfer that much data quickly enough? NHK does not expect to have all the answers, but they want to be a part of the next wave of television. The company doesn’t expect SHV to become commercially available until 2025 or so, but this is not such a long-range view. Keep in mind that the ATSC was established way back in 1982, so it has taken more than 20 years to get HDTV to be a mainstream option. Will your 1080p be obsolete in 2025? I think it’s unlikely, but stay tuned….