& cplSiteName &
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  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
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   >   >>
From The Founder
Light Reading today starts a new voyage as part of a larger Enterprise.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
LRTV Interviews
Can Cable Climb Upmarket?

12|7|16   |     |   (0) comments


Carol Wilson and Alan Breznick assess cable's prospects for winning more enterprises in a landscape rocked by corporate M&A activity.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
TalkTalk Exec: Find Your North Star at Work

12|7|16   |   3:38   |   (0) comments


Women need to find their purpose, a professional North Star, and create a personal board for themselves, according to Alex Tempest, director of partners at TalkTalk Business.
LRTV Interviews
Verizon: Beware Unknown Unknowns

12|7|16   |   04:58   |   (0) comments


Chris Novak, director of the Verizon Enterprise Solutions Risk Team, explains that enterprises who don't conduct a thorough audit of their assets often leave some things unprotected because they don't know they exist. Many times these unprotected assets are part of corporate M&A activity but left unshielded they can become a hacker's playground, he tells Light ...
LRTV Interviews
ETSI's CTO Talks NFV, 5G & NGP

12|5|16   |   09:45   |   (0) comments


Adrian Scrase, CTO at standards body ETSI, talks about the various initiatives and specifications developments related to NFV, 5G and NGP (next-generation protocols) that will underpin next-gen networks.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Korn Ferry Consultant: How to Find, Cultivate & Be the Best Talent

11|30|16   |   4:10   |   (2) comments


Erin Callaghan, a managing consultant for Korn Ferry Futurestep, shares strategies for companies to improve how they recruit and for women to ensure they don't get lost in the pipeline.
LRTV Custom TV
We Can Make the World More Sustainable

11|29|16   |     |   (0) comments


GeSI is a global e-Sustainability Initiative organization bringing together 40 big multinational companies around the world. According to GeSI's report, information and communication technology can make the world more sustainable. Luis Neves, chairman of GeSI, shared with us his opinion at Ultra-broadband Forum (UBBF2016).
LRTV Custom TV
Finding a New Way to Engage Customers & Drive Revenue

11|29|16   |     |   (0) comments


Mobile revenues are declining. Digicel, a player in the Caribbean telecommunications/entertainment space, has found a new way to engage customers and drive revenue. John Quinn, CTO of Digicel, shared with us its story at Ultra-broadband Forum (UBBF2016)
LRTV Custom TV
Do You Really Need Gigabit Infrastructure?

11|29|16   |     |   (0) comments


Altibox is the biggest fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) player and the largest provider of video and TV in Norway. They started out with zero customers in 2002. Now they have close to half a million households and companies attached to their FTTH business. Nils Arne, CEO of Altibox shared with us their story and insight on 5G at Ultra-broadband Forum (UBBF2016).
LRTV Custom TV
BTís Openreach Strategy & Its Updates in 2016

11|29|16   |     |   (0) comments


A lot of developments at Openreach this year in terms of strategy and planned investments. Peter Bell, CIO of Openreach BT, shared with us the updates of Openreach at Ultra-broadband Forum (UBBF2016).
LRTV Custom TV
ITU: The Broadband Is Our Future

11|29|16   |     |   (0) comments


At Ultra-broadband Forum, Houlin Zhao, Secretary General of ITU, discussed how important it is for countries, companies and everybody to be working together to help to build the broadband and digital economies (UBBF2016).
LRTV Custom TV
Tackling 5G in Dallas

11|28|16   |     |   (0) comments


Here are our highlights of the 5G North America show in Dallas, Texas with Light Reading's Dan Jones.
LRTV Interviews
Cox Prepping for Virtualization Trials

11|14|16   |     |   (0) comments


In this video interview, Cox's Jeff Finkelstein discusses MSO's plans to test managed business services in early 2017 and tackle Distributed Access Architectures.
Upcoming Live Events
December 6-8, 2016, The Westin Excelsior, Rome
May 16-17, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Hot Topics
Cable Nodes Becoming a Choke Point
Brian Santo, Senior editor, Test & Measurement / Components, Light Reading, 12/5/2016
WiCipedia: After-School Coding, Salary Probing & Pro-Parenthood Companies
Eryn Leavens, Special Features & Copy Editor, 12/2/2016
Consolidated Snaps Up Fairpoint for $1.5B
Iain Morris, News Editor, 12/5/2016
Altice FTTH Bill Could Hit Almost $9.6B in US
Iain Morris, News Editor, 12/1/2016
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Eyal Waldman, CEO of Mellanox Technologies, speaks to Steve Saunders, CEO of Light Reading, for an exclusive interview about the 100 GB cable challenge, cybersecurity and much more.
Join us for an in-depth interview between Steve Saunders of Light Reading and Alexis Black Bjorlin of Intel as they discuss the release of the company's Silicon Photonics platform, its performance, long-term prospects, customer expectations and much more.
Animals with Phones
Live Digital Audio

Even when there's a strong pipeline of female talent in the comms industry, it tends to leak all the way to the top. McKinsey & Company says women experience pipeline leakage at three primary points: being unable to enter, being stuck in the middle or being locked out of the top. Each pipeline pain point presents its own challenges, but also opportunities to stop the leak. Wireless operator Sprint is making a conscious effort to improve its own pipeline from new recruits to the C-suite, and it wants the rest of the industry to do the same. In this Women in Comms radio show, WiC Board Member and Sprint Vice President of Enterprise Sales Nelly Pitocco will give us her take on the industry's pipeline challenges. Pitocco, who joined Sprint in May and has spent 20 years in the comms industry, will also offer solutions, share how Sprint is tackling the challenge within its own organization and take your questions live on air.