Light Reading
A look at the jaw-dropping, pixelicious delights of Super Hi-Vision, a video format that's still years away from retail reality
SlideshowPhotos: Comcast/NBCU Ultra-HD Demo
Jeff Baumgartner
Slide Shows
Jeff Baumgartner
8/9/2012
50%
50%

WASHINGTON -- At a recent invitation-only demo, Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) and NBCUniversal LLC offered a peek at a possible future for TV: Super Hi-Vision (also referred to as Ultra-HD and 8K), a format that produces about 16 times the resolution of today's HDTV images.

Being pioneered by NHK, Japan's public broadcaster, 8K has gotten a couple of recent showings at the Comcast/NBCU headquarters here. The demo earlier this week (following a similar event here last week) used a sampling of Summer Olympics coverage from the BBC that was shot with Super Hi-Vision cameras. (See A Glimpse of Ultra-HD .)

And it was quite the undertaking just to get that content into the building and onto glass. They used Internet 2 to ship the video across the ocean and a dedicated Comcast fiber to take it the rest of the way. And Super Hi-Vision sure gobbles up the bandwidth. The special camera pours out video at 48Gbit/s. The compressed transport stream (using H.264 compression for this demo) that was eventually fed to the 85-inch NHK/Sharp prototype 8K display still weighed in at 360Mbit/s.

Click on the image below to start a slideshow of the demo and some of the brains and gear used to power it.



Executives and engineers running the event stressed that this was strictly a technology demonstration run with prototype equipment -- as you can see in some of the later photos in the slideshow.

A smattering of 8K prototype sets emerged at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, but the technology isn't expected to become a retail phenomenon for a while. NHK, which supplied most of the prototype equipment used for the demo, doesn't expect to roll out Super Hi-Vision services commercially until 2020. However, there's a recent report suggesting that the broadcaster could start those transmissions up to four years earlier than expected.

There's still no telling when U.S. cable operators will roll out 8K. At The Cable Show this year, much of the discussion was around 4K and hopes that the industry could offer some video in that format in roughly the same bandwidth that they use today for an MPEG-2 HD channel.

Engineers acknowledged that they'll need a lot of help getting there. For starters, they'll need High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC), also known as H.265, a more efficient compression technology standard that's in the works. And they'll likely have to take advantage of perceptual modeling techniques that can subtract bits away from areas of the TV screen that don't get much attention from the human eye.

In case you missed it, here's a brief video blog about the event:



— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

(13)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Page 1 / 18 Next >
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Page 1 / 2   >   >>
paolo.franzoi
50%
50%
paolo.franzoi,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:24:19 PM
re: Photos: Comcast/NBCU Ultra-HD Demo


 


:) but seriously....


They probably have to have new camera, encoding, decoding and transmission systems.  I guess this will break the current QAM model if they try to run it over cable as currently organized.


seven


 

Pete Baldwin
50%
50%
Pete Baldwin,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:24:19 PM
re: Photos: Comcast/NBCU Ultra-HD Demo


48Gbit/s? Wow.


So, when they say it's coming in 2020, is that because it takes that long to install those 22.2 speakers in your house?  :)

^Eagle^
50%
50%
^Eagle^,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:24:18 PM
re: Photos: Comcast/NBCU Ultra-HD Demo


Craig,


yes, this kind of video requires new cameras, new software to stitch together the images (no camera out there can capture this kind of image, so folks use several and stitch together the image), new codecs, new display technology, etc.


I noted that this presentation used h.264 as the codec.  For real world applications, I am fairly sure a new codec will be required.  (NOTE: we are major participants in the standards bodies for codecs and were one of the key inventors of h.264)


So many years away from any practical application.


But yeah, very cool to see it working in person.  I love going into our demo labs to see what they have been working on for video display.


sailboat 


 

Jeff Baumgartner
50%
50%
Jeff Baumgartner,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:24:17 PM
re: Photos: Comcast/NBCU Ultra-HD Demo


There's definitely a discussion going on with this and H.265 being a compression technology that could help operators squeeze this down a bit.  At The Cable Show , the talk about 4K and 8K also got into some of the use cases beyond homes with high end home theaters - like opening up new markets with commercial venues and at restaurants and bars that will want to get patrons in the door.  down the road, we'll have to see how many US programmers adopt it in the early going. ESPN was out in front with HD , so i'd have to guess that 8K is defintiely on their radar.   Might be an argument that perhaps there will be only a small 8K tier, and that some channels (the news nets, for example) won't want or need to make the leap.  JB

^Eagle^
50%
50%
^Eagle^,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:24:16 PM
re: Photos: Comcast/NBCU Ultra-HD Demo


Jeff,


you should see what we have running in our labs.


sailboat

Jeff Baumgartner
50%
50%
Jeff Baumgartner,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:24:15 PM
re: Photos: Comcast/NBCU Ultra-HD Demo


Sailboat, Sure, would be happy to take you up on it. Send me an email (jbaumgartner@lightreading.com) with some details and perhaps we can pull something together. JB

paolo.franzoi
50%
50%
paolo.franzoi,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:24:15 PM
re: Photos: Comcast/NBCU Ultra-HD Demo


 


Just one comment on CODECs and compression.


Most of the methods to date work best in static like environments.  Talking heads for example.  They work the worst in sports - particularly NBA basketball.  I have spent time watching compressions and quality and from that standpoint you have to be very careful about (marketing) compression ratios (marketing).  Often they are quoted with talking heads...but as you point out that is NOT the same as with full motion sports (which I would guess would be the starting point).


seven


 

^Eagle^
50%
50%
^Eagle^,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:24:14 PM
re: Photos: Comcast/NBCU Ultra-HD Demo


Brook,


you are exactly correct.  Coding / Decoding (codec) is often mashed up with compression.  both encoding and compression have their own challenges and limits.  


For 8k, or other advanced video or imaging ideas, folks need to be very careful with compression.  especially for sports, as you pointed out.


h.265 is not the solution for this.  h.265 ads an adaptive scalable bit to the video codec with the idea that it will give you the ability to stream video to all kinds of devices, even low fidelity ones like a smart phone..... and by using 265, be able to use less bandwidth for reasonable QOS. 


This is not really what is needed for 8k video.  Especially for sports or other high motion images.


we are actively working on all these subjects in our labs.


sailboat

Jeff Baumgartner
50%
50%
Jeff Baumgartner,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:24:13 PM
re: Photos: Comcast/NBCU Ultra-HD Demo


If I'm Google, I'd start to think that 8K is a great thing to showcase in my 1-Gbit/s fiber "experiment" in the Kansas Citiies.  Witih Super Hi-Visiion still  in the prototype stage, here's a chance to  opportunity how these new , lofty speeds can be applied with an app/service that qualified for the longer-term future.


Cable, too... the new Intel D3 chips get them within a whisker of 1-gbit/s, so they could do some testing too and not look like they're behind on anything. but smart of these guys to at least show this off...demonstrates the kind of thing that's at least on the radar. JB

MMQoS
50%
50%
MMQoS,
User Rank: Light Sabre
12/5/2012 | 5:24:13 PM
re: Photos: Comcast/NBCU Ultra-HD Demo


I'm amused reading this story about the Comcast/NBCU demo while watching the London Olympics broadcasts this week and last.  As Brookseven has noted, sports are the toughest content type for digital codecs and the Olympics is always a good test.  When I worked for Nortel labs we could measure the signal stream b/w and the 2008 China Olympics were running about 15.xxx Mb/s and I could still see pixelization around the diver's feet in the water events.  For the 2012 version I can still see this error type but it seems even worse than 2008.  For these types of sporting events I go to my out-of-the-air antenna where bandwidth is unlimited (we don't have FiOS TV here) and will watch in both prime time (rebroadcast) or the real time events in my afternoon (I'm in California).  Having worked on IPTV QoE for many years I have a good eye for errors and my overall impression of the video quality being provided from London is that it is not even as good this year as it was 4 years ago.  Has anyone taken a measurement of what is the actual video signal streaming b/w?


So to NBCU's 8K demo, today's terrestrial networks struggle to deliver a decent 1080 HD signal and in most cases the ATSC 19.3 Mb/s signal is being further compressed to accommodate the non-broadcast network limitations.  This year this also seems to include the feeds to the NBC over-the-air stations and this is too bad.  


So as someone else said, talking about and demoing 8K is just marketing (higher resolution Xfinity?) and until we get a lot more FTTH, pointless in my estimation.  Meanwhile though NBC, if you are throttling the video stream for your cable customers, don't do the same to your affiliated over-the-air broadcast partners.  


MMQoS


 

Page 1 / 2   >   >>
Educational Resources
sponsor supplied content
Educational Resources Archive
Flash Poll
From The Founder
It's clear to me that the communications industry is divided into two types of people, and only one is living in the real world.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Dr. Dong Sun Talks About Carriers' Digital Transformation & Huawei’s Telco OS

1|29|15   |   6:28   |   (0) comments


Dr. Dong Sun, Chief Architect of Digital Transformation Solutions at Huawei, discusses how telecom operators can become digital ecosystem enablers and deliver optimal user experiences that are in real-time, on-demand, all-online, DIY and social (ROADS).
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei's Chief Network Architect Talks about Network Experience & Operators’ Strategies

1|29|15   |   3:39   |   (0) comments


In the digital age, network experience has become the primary productivity especially for telecom operators. In this video, Wenshuan Dang, Huawei’s Chief Network Architect, discusses how carriers can tackle the challenge of infrastructure complexity in order to enhance business agility and improve user experience.
LRTV Documentaries
The Rise of Virtual CPE

1|27|15   |   01:38   |   (5) comments


As NFV strategies evolve from tests and trials to production telco networks, expect to hear a lot about virtual CPE (customer premises equipment) rollouts during 2015.
LRTV Documentaries
Optical Is Hot in 2015

1|23|15   |   01:56   |   (2) comments


Optical comms technology underpins the whole communications sector and there are some really hot trends set for 2015.
LRTV Custom TV
Policy Control in the Fast Lane

1|22|15   |   2:57   |   (0) comments


What's making policy control strategic in 2015 and beyond? Amdocs talks with Heavy Reading's Graham Finnie about the key factors driving change in the data services landscape. Find out what his policy management research reveals about the road ahead for policy control – and sign up for
LRTV Documentaries
Highlights From the 2020 Vision Executive Summit

1|21|15   |   4:33   |   (2) comments


In December 2014, Light Reading brought together telecom executives in Reykjavik, Iceland to discuss their vision for high-capacity networks through the end of the decade. The intimate, interactive meeting was set against the backdrop of Iceland's spectacular natural beauty. As one of the event's founding sponsors, Cisco's Doug Webster shared his company's ...
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Pay-TV Partner Harmonic, Helping Carriers Accelerate 4K Video Deployment with Huawei

1|20|15   |   5:42   |   (1) comment


At IBC, Peter Alexander, Senior Vice President & CMO at Harmonic, speaks about the growing interest in pay-TV service and its branching into multiple devices.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Sony Marketing Director Olivier Bovis Discusses the Outlook for 4K and Cooperation With Huawei at IBC 2014

1|20|15   |   6:50   |   (0) comments


At IBC, Olivier Bovis, Marketing Director of Sony, speaks about the coming of the 4K era.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Pay-TV Partner Envivio, Helping Carriers Accelerate 4K Video Deployment

1|20|15   |   2:57   |   (0) comments


At IBC, Olivier Bovis, Marketing Director of Sony, speaks about the coming of the 4K era.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Pay-TV's Networked Future

1|20|15   |   6:29   |   (0) comments


At IBC, Jeff Heynen, Principal Analyst at Infonetics, speaks about the future of the pay-TV industry and its transition.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Jeff Heynen: Distributed Access Will Help MSOs Compete in the Future

1|20|15   |   2:26   |   (0) comments


At IBC, Jeff Heynen, Principal Analyst at Infonetics, speaks about moving to distributed access and the future trend of cable business.
LRTV Interviews
Cisco Talks Transformation

1|20|15   |   13:02   |   (0) comments


In December 2014, Steve Saunders sat down with Cisco VP of Products & Solutions Marketing Doug Webster at Light Reading's 2020 Vision executive summit in Reykjavik, Iceland. They spoke about Cisco's approach to network virtualization as well as how service providers can begin to monetize high-capacity networks through the end of the decade.
Upcoming Live Events
February 5, 2015, Washington, DC
February 19, 2015, The Fairmont San Jose, San Jose, CA
March 17, 2015, The Cable Center, Denver, CO
April 14, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City, NY
May 12, 2015, Grand Hyatt, Denver, CO
May 13-14, 2015, The Westin Peachtree, Atlanta, GA
June 8, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9, 2015, Chicago, IL
September 9-10, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 29-30, 2015, The Westin Grand Müchen, Munich, Germany
November 11-12, 2015, The Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
December 1, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
December 2-3, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
Infographics
Hot Topics
Google Continues Gigabit Expansion
Jason Meyers, Senior Editor, Gigabit Cities/IoT, 1/27/2015
Cablevision's New WiFi Try – Freewheeling Enough?
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 1/26/2015
Comcast Apologizes to 'A**hole' Brown
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 1/29/2015
Overture Builds on NFV Foundation
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 1/27/2015
Bumper iPhone Sales Boost Apple Profits
Iain Morris, News Editor, 1/28/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Weekly Executive Interview
Join us live for Light Reading's interview with Jay Samit, the newly appointed CEO of publicly traded SeaChange International Inc. With a resume that includes Sony, EMI, and Universal, Samit brings a reputation as an entrepreneur and a disruptor to his new role at the video solutions company. Hear what he has to say about the opportunities in video, as well as the outlook for cable, telco, OTT and mobile service providers.