Ultra High-Definition Television Nearing Reality

ITU Experts Agree on Most Tech Specs of UHDTV

by Anton Shilov
10/19/2011 | 08:04 PM

Ultra High Definition Television (UHDTV) took an important step towards becoming reality when experts reached agreement on most of the pertinent technical characteristics of this new standard for television. UHDTV marks a leap forward beyond the current standards for high-definition television (HDTV) and brings new levels of visual quality thanks to enhanced resolutions.


“UHDTV promises to bring about one of the greatest changes to audio-visual communications and broadcasting in recent decades. Technology is truly at the cusp of transforming how people experience audio-visual communications,” said Christoph Dosch,  chairman of the broadcasting service study group.

A number of companies are already working on technologies like quad-FHD (3840*2160, QFHD) and even ultra high-definition (7680*4320, UHD, UHDTV or Super Hi-Vision [SHV]). Cameras and screens capable of filming and displaying QFHD and UHD video are very rare these days, but they do exist: earlier this year Sharp demonstrated a direct-view 85" LCD display capable of 7680*4320 pixels at 10 bpp.

Demonstration of 7680*4320 UHDTV with 22.2 multichannel sound using 85" LCD at ITU HQ by ITU staff and NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corp). Both screens are the only 2 prototypes are they have been presented to the press.

The experts, which include scientists and engineers from around the world, have been working together for several years in the ITU study group on broadcasting service (ITU-R study group 6) to jointly develop and agree on the technical specifications that will successfully create ‘UHDTV’.

“The 'relationship' that a viewer has with television viewing is linked to the overall experience of the picture and quality of sound. The extremely high quality of UHDTV will have a definite impact on our lifestyle and on our engagement with the programmes we watch,” said David Wood, chairman of the concerned ITU working party in the broadcasting service study group.

A demonstration of UHDTV was provided by the Japanese public service broadcaster NHK at ITU earlier this month. The screen displayed a staggering 33 million pixels (7680*4320 resolution), compared to a maximum 2 million pixels (1920*1080 resolution) for the highest quality HDTV screens available today today.

In September 2011,  a trial UHDTV link was arranged between London and Amsterdam and plans are under way to cover part of the 2012 London Olympic Games in UHDTV for screening at public venues around the world.

“UHDTV will create an immersive experience for viewers and will generate a host of new business and marketing opportunities,” said Hamadoun Touré, ITU Secretary-General.