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Japan to start 4K TV broadcasts in July 2014

Japan will start the world’s first 4K TV broadcast in July 2014, two years earlier than originally planned, to coincide with the FIFA World Cup finals in Brazil.

According to the Asahi Times the Japanese ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications has decided on the new timing and announced that the first broadcasts will be transmitted via the Japan’s communication satellites rather than direct broadcast satellites as the new format will require far more bandwidth than current high-definition broadcasts. The usage of BS satellites is planned at a later stage.

Originally, Japan planned to launch 4K broadcasts in 2016. The latest move, to bring the world’s first regular 4K broadcasts forward by two years, means that Japan should now beat technology rival South Korea in the race to offer next generation TV. The move would also give Japan’s major consumer electronics makers – Sony, Sharp, Toshiba and Panasonic, an advantage in the fiercely competitive market.

Japan’s public broadcaster NHK has been developing its 8K Super Hi-Vision system, which it demonstrated at public showings of footage from the London Olympics last year, with a view to bringing it online by 2016. The planned date for 8K broadcasts had been 2020, but that too has been recently brought forward.  

Current high-definition broadcast images are made up of approximately two million pixels (4K increases that to eight million), while 8K systems will double that again. 8K is understood to be at the limit of what the human eye can process.