Aug. 9 - The British Broadcasting Corporation, Japanese public broadcaster NHK and Olympic Broadcast Services are running a joint trial of a new ''Ultra HD'' television format during the Olympic Games in London, offering viewers the chance to see events in 16 times the resolution of normal high definition. Matt Cowan reports.
Inside one of the world's most storied broadcasting landmarks, a new vision for the future of television is on display. NAT SOUND OF VIDEO PRESENTATION Super Hi Vision is a new Ultra HD TV format that offers 16 times the resolution of today's high definition television. The audio experience is also a major step up, with 22.2 multichannel surround sound. During the Summer Olympics in London, the BBC is partnering with Japanese public broadcaster NHK to test out the technology. Due to rights restrictions, we're not able to show you the full screen, and the truth is there's no way your current TV screen or video monitor could do it justice. The BBC's Tim Plyming explains what's happening. SOUNDBITE: Tim Plyming, BBC Super Hi Vision Project Executive saying (English) "We have one crew working four venues at the Olympic Park and we're capturing stuff and either showing it live or in highlight at viewing theatres around the world. So three in the UK, three in Japan and one in Washington D.C." In trialling a forward looking TV technology during the Games, the BBC are following in the footsteps of Olympics past. SOUNDBITE: Tim Plyming, BBC Super Hi Vision Project Executive saying (English) "For the first time ever in the history of the modern games, we took a games into people's homes and this is the Emitron camera that was actually in Wembley stadium for the opening ceremony in 1948." The Tokyo Games in 1964 were the first to be sent around the world in colour, over satellite. The 1984 games in Los Angeles were shot in high definition, though only a select view ever saw those images. NHK's head of advanced television research Yoshiaki Shishikui says the hope is that Super Hi Vision will ignite interest among TV manufacturers. SOUNDBITE: Yoshiaki Shishikui, Head of Advanced Television Systems, NHK saying (English) "As a broadcaster our goal is to provide service to the home so people can see a very beautiful picture and sound at home." Super Hi Vision screenings are also taking place in Japan and the US. (two other locations in the UK, three venues in Japan and one in the Washington D.C). SOUNDBITE: Tim Plyming, BBC Super Hi Vision Project Executive saying (English) "Here's a few of things I think we can learn through this project. One - how do audiences react to this technology. Do they love it? Do they see it as a leap forward or not? What are the camera angles that work? How do we manage audio to make that work best on the 22.2 surround sound? So all of those things we will learn about public appetite and that is shared among broadcast partners but also some of the manufacturers as well and I think Olympic broadcasting services is constantly looking at what's the next thing, and they're interested. And shipping this amount of data around the world has required an IP network you've never seen before." And while Super Hi Vision is 2D rather than 3D, it presents images in such clarity and sound in such an immersive manner that it's almost like being there. This is a vision of the future that is still some way off, but the BBC and NHK say they're encouraged with the public response...and will be pursuing the technology further. Matt Cowan, Reuters.