Total Video Immersion
UHDV is in the labs right now, and 1080p - literally - isn't the half of it
By Cliff Roth
Move over, high-def: there's a new kid on the block.
Just when you were beginning to think the public was finally catching on to the nuances of high-definition television, along comes something even better: ultra high-definition.
Though not a commercial reality yet, this new super high-resolution video format does offer a taste of things to come. At the same time, it has the potential to add yet another layer to the mess of consumer confusion that surrounds advanced TV technology.
Linguistically, it was inevitable, just as high frequency radio led to very high frequency (VHF) and then ultra high frequencies (UHF). High-definition television, though quite good for home viewing, was never really "high" enough for movie theaters or other demanding theatrical-screen size applications. Ultra-high definition video, or UHDV for short, takes HD to the next level.
Boasting picture resolution of 7680 x 4320 pixels, UHDV detail is roughly comparable to the world's best 4K (4,000 scan line) digital projection systems for big-screen movie theaters. (4K is also considered the gold standard of film-to-computer conversions, for image processing and subsequent rendering back onto 35mm film; in other words, it is roughly the detail of 35mm film.) UHDV features 33 million pixels with a 60 frame-per-second (fps) progressive scan format.
Sound tantalizing? NHK, the Japanese broadcasting giant behind the UHDV format, says it may be a long time before home theater UHDV becomes reality, but they're working on it. After all, NHK also pioneered plain old HDTV, using analog video technology, back in the 1980s.
The Broadcast Limits
In the mid-1990s, when the FCC approved some 19 different formats for HDTV broadcasting in the U.S., its list was topped with 1920 x 1080 resolution. This was not because of any belief that this resolution was the ultimate amount of picture detail anyone would ever want. Rather, 1920 x 1080 was considered to be about the maximum resolution that could fit, using MPEG-2 compression, into a standard six-MHz television channel.