Further Advances in UHD

8K High-Frame-Rate System

Towards 8K 120-Hz live production, delivery, and reproduction

NHK has developed high-frame-rate 8K program production equipment as well as transmission and display technologies to achieve clearer and smoother subject movement with a high frame rate (Fig. 1). A complete system comprising functions ranging from live on-site production to encoding, satellite transmission, and display reproduction connected to equipment developed for a frame rate of 120 Hz (twice the frame rate of current satellite broadcasting) was exhibited at the STRL Open House 2019 held in May (Fig. 2).

Fig. 1: 8K 120-Hz equipment
Fig. 2: 8K 120-Hz live broadcast experimental system

In the live production demonstration, an 8K 120-Hz camera and low-latency, mezzanine compression IP transmission equipment were used to transmit audio and video to STRL from the live venue. The transmitted video was edited in real time by online equipment and 22.2 multichannel audio mixing was performed. The 8K 120-Hz video encoder compresses the video content produced live at a high bit rate and high quality in real time using HEVC/H.265 up to 250 Mbps for transmission to the BSAT-4a satellite, which is equipped with a 21-GHz-broadband, high-capacity transponder. The signal from the satellite was received and decoded at STRL, and the live video from the venue was presented on a thin, lightweight 88-inch sheet-type OLED display. The 22.2 multichannel sound was reproduced by a binaural reproduction system*1 using line-array speakers.

This experiment succeeded in producing live video at 8K 120 Hz and relaying the signal via satellite for the first time in the world. Demonstrating the experiment at the STRL Open House 2019 enabled many visitors to discover that our research and development on high-frame-rate 8K has nearly reached a practical level. STRL will continue to improve the performance of each aspect of the technology and move forward with research and development aimed at providing a high sense of presence in the public viewing of sports events and other programs by using the best high-frame-rate 8K technology.