By James DeRuvo (doddleNEWS)
In the afterglow of the All-Star Game (congrats to the American League BTW), came news that Major League Baseball, in association with Japanese broadcaster NHK, was going to test out 8K cameras for sports broadcasting this week at Yankee stadium with six Ikegami 8K cameras. Man! They’re wasting no time, are they? Could it be that 4K is going to be the 8-Track of high definition video? Because 8K seems to be coming on the horizon a lot faster than we imagined.
NHK’s experiment comes on the heals of a successful test of the Ikegami cameras at the FIFA World Cup in Canada last month, and this test will deploy the 4th generation Ultra High Definition (Super Hi-Vision) 8K camera known as the SHK-810.
The Camera has a Super 35 CMOS sensor and provides 33 million pixels across an array of 4,000 lines, both horizontal and vertical resolution. The 1st generation 8K camera was tested in 2002, with steady upgrades in 2004, and 2010. Now with the SHK-810, Ikegami has a camera that is 90% smaller than the original prototype.
Unfortunately, there will be no way for fans to watch the 8K broadcast, as the test will be largely confined to a closed circuit feed that will be available to media and industry insiders at Yankee Stadium itself. Which begs the question, if you’re at the stadium, why are you going to watch the game on TV?! I know, it’s an experiment. And it’s one that is leading up to the big event of the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, which NHK plans to broadcast all over Asia in 8K.
But hot on their heels is Samsung, which is developing an 11K camera that they hope to have in … wait for it … cellphones by 2019! Whoa boy. Honestly, I can’t see an 11K camera in a smartphone. That would amass so much data, you’d have to bring along red wagon to hold the RAID in order to save the video files to it! So I wouldn’t hold my breath that we’ll get a Super Ultra High Definition camera anytime before 2020. But 8K is definitely doable in the TV world by then, with 4K smartphones being the norm.
But with all this talk about resolution, we have to keep in mind a few things:
1) Standards. Even though it’s finally been voted on and adopted, we still haven’t had the formal ultra high definition standard applied in a practical sense. That’s why I rather doubt that we’ll be seeing sales pick up on 4K TVs until we do.
2) Content. We barely have any 4K content as it is. Market saturation of HDTVs is still so heavy that it indicates that consumers are quite happy with their 1080p screens, and that even though 4K has come down in price, there really isn’t anything still to watch on it.
Additionally, movie theaters have only recently undergone an expensive transition to 4K digital projection, and they’re going to want to get their money back on that investment before looking to upgrade to 8K projectors.
Plus, can they please make of their mind on what to call it? Super Hi-Vision, Super Ultra High Definition, Quad Ultra High Definition. Come on guys, that’s just inviting confusion! So while think that this test of 8K is interesting, I’m not so sure it’s going to cause much momentum for 8K … yet. But it will come.
4K/Ultra high definition adoption is lagging to the point that its window is rapidly shrinking. And that makes me wonder if people are saying, “HD is fine; I can wait for 8K.” 2020 isn’t that far off.
Hat Tip – SportsVideo