TOP PAGE > P18 R&D on Large-Screen, High-Definition Television (Hi-Vision)

R&D on Large-Screen,
Television (Hi-Vision)

1964  Research on high-definition TV begins at STRL
1969 First exhibition of high-definition TV study at STRL Open House
1970 NHK determines provisional standards of 1125 scanning lines, 5:3 aspect ratio
1971 Research on gas discharge panel display (PDP) begins
1975 Development of a 3-tube wide display (100 cm wide, 50cm high, 1125 scanning lines)
1981 Test manufacture of 1-inch tape VTR for high-definition TV
1983 Development of MUSE system, compression and transmission system for HDTV
1985 The system is named Hi-Vision

In 1964, the NHK engineers responsible for developing the technology that made the TV relay broadcast from the Tokyo Olympic Games possible were grappling with the problem of "future television". This future TV was eventually symbolized by the large-screen, high-definition TV set. However, realization of this dream was many years in the making, beginning with research on the audiovisual perception in humans.

1964 16:9 Ratio Derived from Research on Audiovisual Perception in Humans

In Pursuit of Future Television

The Tokyo Olympic Games in 1964 made a strong impression on the public, and demonstrated that Japanese TV technology was among the most advanced in the world. Those in TV-related industries in Japan were envisioning the next generation of TV. STRL began research on high-definition television (HDTV) in 1964.

This research took two different tacks. The first undertook a thorough investigation of what was expected of "future television" and the practical considerations of said system. The other attempted to determine which types of TV screens and videos were the most preferable and desirable by researching human audio-visual features and psychologies. After weighing a number of options, STRL decided to focus their effort on high-definition TV, abbreviating the name to HDTV. In 1985, this system was named Hi-Vision.

16:9 Ratio Derived from Studies of Audio-Visual Perception in Humans

Experiments using a slide projector revealed that the most desirable aspect ratio (the ratio between the height and width of the screen) was 5:3 or 6:3, wider than the 4:3 ratio of standard TV. 16:9 was later chosen as the standard in order to be compatible with film.

From 1965 to 1975, decisions were being weighed on the necessary number of scanning lines for HDTV, and whether to utilize an interlaced scanning system. Decisions were made after careful consideration of film simulations and actual TV systems.

Developments in Imaging, Recording, Transmission, and Displays

Around 1970, STRL defined NHK's provisional studio standard for HDTV as 1125 scanning lines, a 2:1 interlaced ratio, and a 5:3 aspect ratio. Based on this standard, work began on imaging systems, recording devices, transmission systems, and large-screen display PDPs.

In 1969, the first experimental high-definition TV system was exhibited at the STRL Open House. It employed a 1.5-inch vidicon and a 27-inch black-and-white Braun tube. The image pickup tube was a specially-developed 2-inch return-beam Saticon.

STRL began developing a color camera system around the same time The result was a small, low-power-consumption, 2/3-inch Saticon camera in 1985, and in 1988 a high-sensitivity high-definition TV camera that featured a 2/3-inch HARP tube that enabled shooting of footage outdoors at night. An HDTV camera using a HARP tube was developed for commercial production in 1998.