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post #1 of 7 Old 06-05-2004, 09:25 AM - Thread Starter
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I found this on another message board. It was taken from New York times. Hope you enjoy the article.


June 3, 2004
WHAT'S NEXT
Just Like High-Definition TV, but With Higher Definition
By DOUGLAS HEINGARTNER



HIGH-DEFINITION television may be only just beginning to catch on, but researchers at the Japanese national broadcaster NHK are already working on a successor. The format, called Ultra High Definition Video, or UHDV, has a resolution 16 times greater than plain-old HDTV, and its stated goal is to achieve a level of sensory immersion that approximates actually being there.

At a picture size of 7,680 by 4,320 pixels - that works out to 32 million pixels - UHDV's resolution trounces even high-end digital still cameras. HDTV, by comparison, has about two million pixels, and normal TV about 200,000 (and only 480 lines of horizontal resolution versus 4,000 with UHDV).

Add to that UHDV's beefed-up refresh rate of 60 frames per second (twice that of conventional video), projected onto a 450-inch diagonal screen with more than 20 channels of audio, and you've got an impressive home theater on your hands.

Of course, UHDV's current dimensions make it impractical for most homes. The NHK researchers are investigating how to squeeze all those pixels onto smaller screens.

But the project aims to do more than just make home entertainment more realistic. The UHDV standard may someday find applications in museums, hospitals, shopping malls or other places where a keener representation of detail might be desirable.

All of that is a long way off, however, because the standard is still in the early stages of development. UHDV "will take many years," said Fumio Okano, a researcher with the network. But NHK is familiar with long-term projects: it began developing the HDTV standard in 1964, and the first high-definition content arrived only in 1982.

The pixel count of UHDV may be impressive, but as anyone who has tried to watch TV on a sunny beach knows, pixels are not the whole picture. "Resolution is only one of the key measurements," said John Lowry of Lowry Digital Images, a company in Burbank, Calif., that digitizes films at the highest possible quality for archival purposes. Perhaps even more important than pixels, he said, is the dynamic range of an image, which is measured in terms of contrast ratio. The eye can perceive contrasts between the brightest white and the darkest black of roughly 100,000 to one, whereas today's best projectors can only muster levels of about 4,000 to one.

To achieve truly realistic images, Mr. Lowry said, "the blacks have to be really black, while still seeing the glint off a diamond."

So while current projection technology cannot meet the demands of UHDV, the standard excels in other crucial areas, for example breadth of view. While both UHDV and HDTV use the widescreen 16:9 aspect ratio (standard TV uses 4:3), HDTV offers only a 30-degree field of view horizontally, whereas UHDV's massive screen size expands this to about 100 degrees, said Mr. Okano, who said his research indicates that this angle is where "immersive sensation" peaks.

In developing UHDV, NHK has also focused on sound. The standard calls for 22.2 sound: 10 speakers at ear level, 9 above and 3 below, with another 2 for low frequency effects. It is a setup that is well beyond the level of the multichannel systems currently in vogue, like the 5.1 surround system.

All those sound channels and all those image pixels add up to a lot of data. In test, an 18-minute UHDV video gobbled up 3.5 terabytes of storage (equivalent to about 750 DVD's). The data was transmitted over 16 channels at a total rate of 24 gigabits per second, thousands of times faster than a typical D.S.L. connection.

The realism creates other complications. The NHK is studying the physical and psychological effects of UHDV on audiences. One concern is a kind of motion sickness, which researchers attribute to a combination of the wide viewing angle, the massive image and the on-screen motion.

There are other reasons to shy away from maximum reality, some of them aesthetic. "There is a very common practice," Mr. Lowry said, "of putting a filter on a camera just to soften the image, to reduce the resolution." Movie stars are now learning the hard way that high-definition is hard on human imperfections: blemishes and bad makeup invisible to conventional TV suddenly jump to the fore when filmed in high-definition format; how will aging celebrities fare with UHDV?

But UHDV's developers do not intend the standard exclusively as a vehicle for Hollywood, or even for sports or news, where HDTV has flourished. They point to potentially useful applications in medicine, education, or art appreciation. The new format has also been designed to be compatible with other standards - unlike, for example, IMAX , a 70-millimeter film format that has unsurpassed quality but a unique infrastructure that limits its mass-market potential.

Are audiences even warming up to high-definition television? While sales of HDTV sets are gradually increasing, the growth remains less than spectacular. With only 15 million to 18 million HDTV sets currently in the United States, "we haven't even scraped the tip of the iceberg yet," said Vamsi Sistla, an analyst with the research firm Allied Business Intelligence.

Navigating the jungle of standards and terminology remains confusing, and a complete high-definition set (including tuner) costs several thousand dollars. Consumers, Mr. Sistla said, "are not too keen on the nitty-gritty. They're looking at the price point, at sexy flat screens.''

The NHK is still years from having to worry about how to sell UHDV to consumers. Perhaps the format will always be out of reach for most consumers. However, while it took 40 years, HDTV eventually gained a foothold.

"I applaud them," Mr. Lowry said of the NHK. "They are reaching off into what a lot of people might call never-never land at the moment. But why not?"
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post #2 of 7 Old 06-05-2004, 09:41 AM
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I agree with Lowery Digital. CR and Dynamic Range are going to be very important targets for the future of high def video.

One has to think that eventually the studios are going to have to create something that is a draw for moviegoers. Many of you have high end projectors that exceed the quality you get at your local cineplex. What is your incentive for watching a movie that is substandard to what you have at home?


Well Ultra High Definition is the answer. People love Imax because of the large and sharp prints. This is like Digital Imax. I'd pay to see a huge screen with a picture so sharp it makes you gasp.
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post #3 of 7 Old 06-05-2004, 09:44 AM - Thread Starter
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This article is giving us a look into the future. With how slowly things are processing I wish that new technology would come out faster. Its a never ending cycle. Super computers from five years ago are still ten times better then what we can get today. I would like the latest technology to trickle down faster, while new horizons are expanded. There are so many new things that people have not thought of yet.

Anyone else ready to see what the future will bring? Just hope you don't expect the UHDTV to come out in the next few years.

This kind of technology would be a good reason why every house with a computer could use a T1 or T3 line. Maby even a couple! When computers first came out the amount of data transfered was minimal. When new technology comes out it seems that the software, video, and audio files keep growing exponentially. Current data storage is not on par with what the future will bring. The only way we will see this kind of technology is if different ideas and groups of people come together to accomplish goals.


What do you think about this new technology? What would you like to see? In your opinion how do you think this technology should progress over the R&D cycle?


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post #4 of 7 Old 06-05-2004, 10:17 AM
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As a vet of early vendor/promoter and adopter of technology, I yawn at this announcement. Hollywood still hasn't figured out how to leverage regular ole HDTV, leaving only a few DirecTV channels that show few real HD content (few * few = very few) and a few DTheatre tapes.

So UHDTV is just another proposed technology beyond the current one that still doesn't have a clear product roadmap to mass content distribution. The industry needs to focus on HDTV of today, how to agree on a DRM scheme that consumers find agreeable, start capturing real 1080i or 720p material, shipping it over the 'net, THEN we can start BS'ing about UHDTV or XHDTV, or whatever.

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post #5 of 7 Old 06-05-2004, 10:42 AM - Thread Starter
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True. One way to help get Hollywood to start producing quality material is to write an article to the LA times. If it gets published in the entertainment you might catch the eye of someone powerful in the movie business. State the few movies that are true HDTV material and tell them what you want for future products. Discuss the crap that they are putting out and the number of HDTV sets that are being sold each day. Some time soon they need to start producing a product that will benefit the "majority". New standards need to be made. We all know that that equipment to "capture" the images is going to cost an arm and a leg, but they have the funds to purchase these products.
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post #6 of 7 Old 06-05-2004, 12:04 PM
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Cruzin, you are clearly new to this field. I spent 4 years talking to content types in the early days of streaming media. All they care about is protecting legacy revenue streams like tape and DVD rentals. They are mostly pretty ultra conservative lawyer types with zero vision. Only Apple Computer has been able to really put together a DRM and product solution that approaches what consumers want and will pay for.

Writing letters to LA Times won't catch anyones blind eye. What will happen instead is this: Netflix or Blockbuster will do to video what Apple did for music, and once that happens, then DVD bits flowing to consumer set tops will turn in HDTV bits flowing to consumer desktops. Once and IF that happens, then higher res digital formats can easily follow that path.

It will happen, just much slower than technology can enable it to.

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post #7 of 7 Old 06-05-2004, 05:05 PM
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Quote:
...how to agree on a DRM scheme that consumers find agreeable...
Bah. The only DRM that I find acceptable is no DRM.

This is an exciting glance at what's to come, but I'm certainly not holding my breath for this technology. The bandwidth to distribute this volume of information won't exist in this country for at least 5-10 years (heck, the connections from traditional hard drives to your computer's motherboard doesn't come remotely close to being able to transfer that much data), and even then it's going to be an uphill battle to get people to upgrade their equipment to the level where they can actually view it. 22.2 channel sound would be great, but I doubt that even the most hardcore AVS Forum member could do anything with all of that.

HDTV is great and will continue to evolve, probably topping out at 1080p a few years from now. Enjoy what's here now, and let the engineers have their fun developing the Next Big Thing.
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