NHK and Mitsubishi Develop World’s First Real-Time HEVC Encoder for 8K Video

Japanese Companies Develop Real-Time HEVC Encoder for 8K/SHV Video

by Anton Shilov
05/15/2013 | 10:00 PM

Japan Broadcasting Corporation (NHK, Nippon Hoso Kyokai) and Mitsubishi Electric have announced that they had developed the world’s first H.266/HEVC encoder for 8K video also known as Super Hi-Vision (SHV). The encoder will be used to record video in quality that is sixteen times higher than currently-used full-HD (1080p).


The encoder developed by NHK and Mitsubishi is mainly aimed at broadcasters and other professionals who want to film in 8K/SHV resolution (7680*4320) resolution and to encode their content to the most progressive video codec available today, high-efficiency video coding (HEVC) also known as H.265, in real-time.

The hardware HEVC/H.265 encoder for 8K/SHV video is based on seventeen boards with each of them carrying a set of chips (or a custom chip with additional hardware) that can encode a camera acquisition format in 7680*256 resolution at 60Hz (which is similar to 1080p in terms of processing requirements) into HEVC in real-time. The 8K/SHV image is divided into 17 rows with 7680*256 resolution in order to ensure maximally stable performance. Each row is synchronized with nearby rows, so everything should work smoothly. The encoder is pretty large and incorporates a lot of custom chips and electronics developed by NHK and Mitsubishi Electric. The prototype device supports H.265/HEVC main 10 profile at level 6.1, Chroma format 4:2:0, 10-bit color precision and features 3G/SDI inputs/outputs.

NHK and Mitsubishi Electric Corporation are pursuing research and development of real-time coding of the 120Hz frame frequency of SHV.

ITU-T H.265/ISO/IEC 23008-2 HEVC is, according to some experiments, is 51% - 74% more efficient than today’s MPEG4-AVC/H.264 thanks to variable blocks that can handle up to 64*64 pixels. HEVC/H.265 codec supports maximum resolution of 7680*4320.

The HEVC encoder will be displayed at the NHK science & technology research laboratories open house 2013, which will take place from May 30th to June 2nd.