BBC Announce Super HD Big Screens For London Olympics

The BBC have revealed that three cities in the UK will get a chance to witness a new level of viewing technology next summer, as the public broadcaster reavealed their plans to operate big screens during the 2012 Olympic Games featuring Japanese-innovated ‘Super Hi-Vision’. This new technology is said to have a picture that is 16-times clearer than regular high definition (which itself is up to 6 times sharper than standard definition).

BBC’s head of Olympic broadcasting Roger Mosey added that while news on live 3D coverage (both public and private) will come nearer the turn of the year, viewers in Bradford (England), Glasgow (Scotland), and Olympic Host City London (England) can look forward to 600-inch screens airing live coverage throughout the 17 days in July & August.

The development has been an innovation of Japanese public service broadcaster NHK, who are teaming up with the BBC for a platform to showcase their new technology, with ‘Super HD’ coverage expected to include the opening ceremony (highlights only), and selected live events throughout the games.

The Super Hi-Vision screens are currently in the process of being produced in Japan, and are already being advertised as capable of supporting a 4320 x 7680 pixel signal (compared to the current TV maximum of 1080 x 1920), with a potential of 120fps (though the transmissions next summer will run on around half that).

The move follows a previous partnership between BBC and NHK, after a first-ever broadcast of Super Hi-Vision was achieved in September 2010, when a concert by The Charlatans was aired between London and Tokyo. Since then, the pair have managed to compress the connection speed needed for  transmitting video signals (from 24Gbs to 350Mbps).

The BBC are stating a belief that Super Hi-Vision can become a ‘better long-term prospect’ than 3D broadcasting depending on further reducing production  and operation costs, though NHK believe they can achieve this (and bring Super Hi-Vision to home use in Japan) by the year 2022.

The relatively slow growth of 3D is noted by the BBC, who claim that their coverage of the 2012 Olympic Games will require a key balance between ‘minority’ innovation such as 3D (the recent experiment of Wimbledon Tennis in 3D drew a peak of 140,000 viewers), and the more mainstream coverage, including, digital, HD, online and interactive services.

The broadcaster recently stated that they intend to broadcast every event: “From first thing in the morning to last thing at night.” With up to 24 live online streams available to users of desktop, smartphones, and tablet computers through a newly-designed website.

Regarding 3D and Super HD, though it is not the first time that the Olympics has been used as a platform for broadcasting innovation, with a potential global audience seen as the perfect chance to premeire features such as televised events in colour (1948 in London (England)), HD filming (1984 in Los Angeles (USA)), and trials of 3D (1992 in Barcelona (Spain)).

With the 2012 Olympics likely to witness athletes attempt to push the boundaries of their sports to new limits (with the world especially wanting to see dominant Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt break his 100m record (9.58 seconds)), will similar efforts be seen in the broadcasting technology studios next summer?


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