Thursday, April 17, 2008

Ultra High Def at NAB

I just got back from NAB in Las Vegas. There were over 100 thousand people there. I spoke to several prominent IPTV vendors there. There were a couple of interesting new things that I saw that I will write about separately. The established IPTV companies are continuing to make good progress and to evolve their products.

The most interesting exhibit I saw was made by NHK. They showed 3D HD that is actually available from a satellite provider in Japan. The demo included an arrow being shot at the camera, a classic. It looked quite real and would be great to have. They also showed great shots from a Japanese probe with an HD camera orbiting 100 km above the surface of the moon.

The most interesting thing that NHK showed was its ultra high def technology that provides a 7680x4320 image. It showed a six minute demo displayed on an array of four 56 inch HD screens. There are not 7680x4320 monitors available today. It also provides 22 channel audio. The experience was spectacular. An aerial shot of Mount Fuji made felt like I was flying in a helicopter over it. Shots of a football game also gave the experience of being at the stadium, but at better seats than I have ever had. You could see the whole field and yet follow the play.

NHK was compressing the Ultra HD image using MPEG-4 AVC technology by segmenting the image from an Ultra HD camera into 16 parts, compressing each part with one of 16 encoders, and recombining it. It needs 128 Mbps to transmit the compressed image.

NHK said that it expects Ultra HD to be commercially available in 2025.

Ultra HD is clearly a huge step up from HD and should have a reception that is as strong as the reception for HD. The bandwidth required to transmit Ultra HD over an IPTV network will be very high. My guess is that it should get down to the 50 to 75 Mbps range at least by the time that it is introduced. Ultra HD will be viable only on fiber based access technologies, VDSL and cable modems will not be able to cut it. Ultra HD will be a primary driver for a gigabit connection to every home.

1 comment:

Alan Weinkrantz said...

yes, Ultra High Def is gonna be a killer reason to have a whole new upgrade cycle at the consumer end.

In concert with the deployment of Ultra High Def will be another giant shift in the Consumer Electronics ecosystem: True Home Networking and the shift the standard which is being supported by the ITU.

What we are looking at is the next gen standard for existing-wire home networking ( wired & wireless)

It's my understanding that targeted gigabit per second data rates and operation over all three types of home wires: coax, powerline and phone wires.