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January 29, 2013

Japan Two Years Ahead of Schedule to Begin 4K Broadcasting in 2014

By Jody Ray Bennett, TMCnet Contributing Writer

The government of Japan has plans to launch the world's first 4K TV broadcast in July 2014. This comes two years ahead of schedule, and is thought to be motivated by a desire to stir demand for ultra-HD televisions. Asahi newspaper provided no sources for this information.

The service is set to begin transmitting from communications satellites, and then by satellite and ground digital broadcasting shortly thereafter, Yahoo reports.

4K televisions are characterised by their very high screen resolution, estimated at being four times the resolution of current high-definition televisions. These high-cost TVs are currently on sale in Japan, being produced by manufacturers such as Panasonic (News - Alert), LG Electronics and Sony.

4K Ultra high-definition televisions (UDHTV) have a resolution of 3840 × 2160 (8.3 megapixels) (2160p), four times the pixels of 1080p HDTVs.

Although original plans for starting 4K broadcasting were set by Japan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications in 2016, that plan has been fast-tracked to July 2014, in time for the final match of the soccer World Cup in Brazil.

Not content with just 4K, the development of 8K televisions is already underway in Japan, and according to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, broadcasting at that resolution is set to launch in 2016. This broadcasting is similarly ahead of schedule.

8K UHDTVs have a resolution of 7680 × 4320 (33.2 megapixels) (4320p), 16 times the pixels of current 1080p HDTVs, putting it roughly alongside the cinema format IMAX. While Japan is usually at the forefront of electronic entertainment, as a market, other 4K broadcasts are set to take place in other parts of the world in 2013. The British Broadcasting Channel, for instance, has announced plans to produce, broadcast and shoot its wildlife TV series, Survival, in 4K resolution.

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Edited by Brooke Neuman
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