Broadcaster

So real, it's sickening

9/30/2003

AMSTERDAM - A recent web report says that a prototype digital video system under development produces images of such high quality that the human eye struggles to distinguish them from reality.

The system, called ultra high definition video (UHDV), according to www.e4engineering.com, boasts resolution 16 times greater than even the most advanced HD technologies now available.

"Its developers at the Japan Broadcasting Corporation (NHK) said the system could be used to provide an ultra realistic 'immersive' viewing experience when, for example, showing sporting events," says the report.

UHDV displays images with 4,000 horizontal scanning lines, compared to the 1,000 offered by the current state-of-the-art high definition television (HDTV) technology and just 625 for standard TV broadcasts.

NHK unveiled details of UHDV for the first time at IBC in Amsterdam earlier this month. It said engineers had to custom-design a video camera, data-storage device and projection system, as nothing on the market could cope with what they wanted.

According to e4engineering.com, "the camera was built by aligning four 2.5-inch charge coupled device (CCD) image-capture panels. The projector system uses four liquid crystal-on-silicon panels, two of which process green light while the other two each handle red and blue. These must be aligned to an accuracy of within 0.5 of a pixel - there are 33 million pixels on display - to achieve ultra high definition results."

Recording the enormous amounts of data needed to produce this UHDV meant NHK engineers were originally only able to make 34 seconds' worth of recording. They have now built a disc recorder system made up of 16 HDTV recorder units with a capacity of about 3.5 terabytes, allowing them to shoot 18 minutes of UHDV footage.

"NHK researcher Dr. Kohji Mitani said the project team had shot a three-minute demonstration video by attaching the camera to the front of a vehicle and driving it around the streets," says the story. "The footage was then shown to members of the public on a 4x7m wide-angle screen provoking, according to Mitani, gasps of astonishment. Some viewers even experienced nausea because of the ultra realistic visual effect of speed without the usual physical sensation of movement."

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