When I was working at the Barcelona Olympics for NBC in 1992 we had our trucks on Montjuic right near NHK, the main broadcaster from Japan. NBC was shooting and edit digitally but the broadcasted signal was still NTSC in the US. NHK was having their first broadcast to Japan in high definition. Their standard was still an analog HD but it was way ahead of the US broadcasters.
For a number of years, each time I came at the National Association of Broadcaster show in Las Vegas, the NAB, I could see the NHK demos of advanced television, first 4k and more recently 8K. 8k offers an image 16 times more dense than what we watch now in High Definition or even more if we look at the sports standard of 720p adopted by ABC/ESPN. Beside the image size 8K may come with HDR functionality, the High Frame rate at 120Hz and an all encompassing surrounding sound of 22.2 audio channels.
The Japanese high-end manufacturers, like Astro were showing this type of equipment for many years and now the entire ecosystem is in place and NHK will start transmitting in 8K for the first time starting August 1 the sport events of the Rio Olympics.
At this NAB finally Canon, the more commercial Japanese manufacturer, showed a prototype 8K camera that comes with four monitors and 8 coaxial cables for a full resolution. The immersive demo showed in the Canon theater is compelling but less than each hair of Seiji Ozawa conducting Beethoven Symphony nr. 2 in the NHK theater.
Large LED video walls display now 8K on the NAB floor and a full operational truck of NHK is on display.
But besides all this about 8K the main hype at NAB was around the VR. VR is video shot with multiple cameras covering a full sphere and projected using glasses that offer an immersive reality around you. Like several years ago with 3D television this is marketed as “the next best thing” forgetting the fact that nobody wants to wear glasses a fact that caused the flop of the 3D TV project.