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Next-generation television format - UHDTV - agreed at ITU meeting

At a meeting this month, the Geneva-based International Telecommunications Union's ITU-R Working party 6C agreed the parameter values for the "next two generations" of TV transmission technology - the 4K and 8K UHDTV (Ultra High Definition TV) formats. They are constructed as multiples of the 1080p1920 format.

The new formats take advantage of future displays' greater colour range, have the option of 'constant luminance' encoding, and allow up to 120 pictures/second. Discussions to broadcast these systems currently centre on the, to date, largely unused 22GHz satellite broadcast band, but terrestrial broadcasting may eventually be possible.

David Wood, the European Broadcasting Union's deputy technology and development director, chairs the WP6C committee and says that fixing these parameters is an important step for tomorrow's TV. He states that while the mass market will not be able to buy these sets yet, the concept is one that our children will enjoy.

Japan's NHK public broadcaster - the UHDTV progenitor - will start test transmissions of the new technology in 2020, although it said it will try and bring this forward. Earlier this year NHK (and Panasonic) unveiled a 145-inch UHDTV Plasma 4K display, while NHK and Sharp have also demonstrated an 85-inch 8K display.

There are plans for portions of the London Olympic Games to be shown on UHDTV with outside broadcasts on three giant displays in key public locations.

A video from the European Broadcasting Union explains the Ultra High Definition Television technology and also covers the prospects of 22.2 audio channel which is part of the U-HDTV specifications.

Story filed 20.05.12

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