|Overview of Laboratories
NHK Science & Technical Research Laboratories (NHK STRL) is the research arm of Japan's public broadcasting corporation, Nippon Hoso Kyokai (Japan Broadcasting Corporation). STRL was established in 1930, five years after NHK launched Japan's first radio broadcasting service. For over 70 years, it has specialized in research and development of broadcasting and related technologies. STRL will continue to promote broadcasting in the 21st century. Its new research facility was opened in April 2002.
|STRL's overall goal is to facilitate the creation of a new broadcasting culture. To do so, we feel it is important to study emergent technologies and to improve current broadcast technologies. Our activities range from fundamental research on human vision and audition, physics, and materials science to the development of complete broadcasting systems and services.|
|Research on ISDB (Integrated Services Digital Broadcasting)
is intended to provide broadcasting services that will enrich the viewer's
cultural life. BS digital broadcasting, which was launched in 2000, is
one example of ISDB. One focus of our ISDB research is seamless services
(seamless programs use several transmission media and can be accessed
any time and anywhere) and home information networks (television-centered
services that use a large-capacity home server to store television programs).
Another important research focus of ISDB is barrier-free information technology that makes the wealth of services available to everyone.
|Contents production technology|
|Research into 'intelligent', efficient contents production is meant to reduce the cost and to ease the technical burden of television program production that often limit the choices of producers and talent in creating new audiovisual expression. Additionally, this research has yielded equipment for emergency broadcasting, including super-sensitive cameras and small, lightweight devices for news gathering and transmission. This reflects NHK's responsibility as a public broadcasting organ to supply precise information to viewers to help protect lives and property in the event of disaster.|
|Future broadcasting service and core technology|
|Research on 'super-surround' audio visual systems
includes an ultrahigh-definition system (4000 scanning lines) that outperforms
HDTV in terms of picture sharpness, auto-stereoscopic television, and
a 3D acoustic system.
The development of new transmission technology and frequencies centers on the use of the frequency band allocated to broadcasting satellites (21 GHz and above).
Materials and devices research may lead to technological breakthroughs giving rise to radically new broadcasting services. Research topics include small ultrahigh-sensitive image pickup devices, foldable displays, and very small super-dense recorders that can record HDTV pictures for hours.
|NEW RESEARCH FACILITY|
Terrestrial digital broadcasting
Digital terrestrial broadcasting can be viewed, not only on a regular TV set, but also via an automobile receiver or from a portable terminal.
Captioned broadcasting service for the hearing-impaired
NHK has been expanding the scope of captioned broadcasting for the hearing-impaired. A recent example is "News 7," a news program in which the announcer's words are subtitled by an automatic subtitling machine that uses voice recognition technology developed by STRL.
|Intelligent, efficient production system
Face Recognition technology
When a facial image is entered into this system, it retrieves video scenes containing the specified subject. To do so, indexing data is attached to each video scene.
Image-based virtual studio
An extremely realistic video image can be created through the composition of a CG image, a background image, and the images of the performers. This natural production system uses light that is visible to the performers but not to the camera.
Stereoscopic television system
The viability of the binocular 3D HDTV system has been proven in many demonstrations. To eliminate the need for viewers to wear special glasses, our research team has developed a hardware prototype based on real-time integral photography (IP)*.
*Integral photography: An image-forming method that uses an array of small lenses.
of new transmission technology and frequencies
Next-generation satellite broadcasting system
The 21-GHz band, which is expected to be utilized by advanced satellite broadcasting systems in the future, shows significant rain attenuation for satellite broadcasting signals. Our challenge is to overcome this problem.
|Materials and devices
HARP image pickup technology
With 100 times the sensitivity of an ordinary camera, the HARP (High-gain Avalanche Rushing amorphous Photoconductor) pickup tube is used in emergency broadcasting and other applications. A new prototype imaging device, a field emitter array image sensor with HARP target, has been developed by STRL with the aim of achieving an ultra-high sensitivity compact camera.
recording on a phase-change optical disk
For the creation of "Tomorrow's Broadcasting"
In order to create "Tomorrow's Broadcasting," digital satellite broadcasting will start this year. Broadcasting will be made more convenient and enriched by digital broadcasting, which is combining services that feature HDTV and "anytime," "anybody," easy-to-use multimedia services. With the completion of the new structure in 2001, Science and Technical Research Laboratories will step into the 21st century, towards the maturity of digital broadcasting and still pioneering the new broadcasting technologies yet to come.
|History of STRL|
|1925||First radio broadcasts in Japan|
|1930||NHK Science & Technical Research Laboratories established|
|1937||Regular study of television broadcasting begins|
|1939||First experimental television broadcasting in Japan
(research later interrupted by the war)
|1947||First open house of Science and Technical Research Laboratories|
|1950||First experimental television broadcasting after the war|
|1953||Regular television broadcasting begins
Study of color television broadcasting starts
|1956||Experimental color television broadcasting|
|1957||Experimental FM sound broadcasts on VHF band begin|
|1960||Regular color television broadcasts begin|
|1964||Successful broadcasting of the 18th Olympic Games from Tokyo
Study of HDTV begins
Study of satellite broadcasting begins
|1969||Regular FM broadcasts start|
|1970||First public appearance of High Definition TV|
|1978||Study using experimental broadcasting satellite starts|
|1982||Development of satellite broadcasting system
Research on Integrated Services Digital Broadcasting (ISDB) begins
|1984||High-quality transmission system (MUSE) developed
Experimental satellite broadcasts using BS-2a begin
|1986||First experimental satellite HDTV broadcasts with MUSE for HDTV|
|1988||Development of FM Multiplex broadcasting|
|1989||Full-scale satellite broadcasting services begin
Experimental HDTV broadcasts begin on BS-2
|1994||Final phase of experimental HDTV broadcasts begin|
|1996||FM multiplex broadcasts begins|
|1998||HDTV PDP developed for Winter Olympic Games in Nagano|
|1999||International standardization of HDTV studios|
|2000||BS digital broadcast to be launched in December|
|Established in 1930|
STRL at its beginning
TV relay from the Tokyo Olympics
HDTV system experiment
42-inch HDTV PDP