The test was a "great success," said Yoshiaki Shishikui, head of the advanced television systems research division at NHK's science and technology research laboratory. The response from viewers, who said the broadcasts gave the impression of being there in person, helped confirm to NHK that its bet on Super Hi-Vision would pay off, he said speaking at the Storage Visions conference on Sunday morning.
The event is taking place alongside CES in Las Vegas. The technical hurdles NHK has to overcome in its development are many. An uncompressed Super Hi-Vision signal runs at around 24 gigabits per second, making routing and editing of the signal inside a TV station a challenge. Getting the signal compressed and transmitted to viewers in realtime is a further challenge, but one that NHK is working on.
While NHK still plans on satellite broadcasts from 2020 in the 21GHz frequency band, initial broadcasts could begin in 2016 in the 12GHz frequency band for viewers in Japan, said Shishikui.
While not a household name to many in the west, NHK has a long history of innovation in broadcasting research and development. The broadcaster, which is funded by the Japanese government and a TV license fee, began research into high-definition TV in 1964 and became the first broadcaster in the world to begin regular high-definition programming in 1991 when it launched an analog high-def format. Most of the early high-definition footage of the Olympics and World Cup were shot using NHK cameras as other broadcasters didn't have the capability at the time.