Japan broadcaster trialling 8K video for Rio 2016 Olympic Games

2 Aug 2016

Japanese broadcaster NHK is testing 8K video at the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympic Games, with a view to widespread rollout in 2018, as well as airing the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in the ultra-high-definition technology.

While 2018 is the year 8K will creep into households, NHK – the state broadcaster in Japan – is planning ahead as it eyes a four-year lead-in to the opening ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Sporting resolution four-times as sharp as 4K, and 16-times as sharp as 1080p, the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games will be shown today as one of the early examples of 8K footage.

Future Human

8K Rio Olympics

As nobody has 8K-ready devices at home – again, 2018 will bring those screens into the mainstream – NHK has set up viewing hubs at its broadcast stations around the country.

At six locations in Japan – and one in Brazil – NHK will screen 8K footage of the upcoming Rio 2018 Olympic Games, with the opening ceremony and a selection of disciplines to be aired in the new format.

“This will be the first step for viewers to be able to enjoy ultra-high-quality broadcasts at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games,” Katsuto Momii, president of NHK, said.

“This summer’s Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games will see 8K live broadcasts, and preparations are moving forward for all of the NHK stations around Japan to have 8K receivers in place so that everyone can experience watching it.”

The Olympic Games are proving a pivot for technology more and more of late. The Seoul 2018 Winter Olympics could prove the staging point for a 5G global rollout, following a report into the next stage of connectivity technology earlier this year.

Research company 451 claimed the uptake and evolution of 5G will be driven from Asia, which has the biggest appetite for the next generation of internet, with Seoul (and Tokyo 2020, too) worth keeping an eye on.

Rio Olympics image via lazyllama/Shutterstock

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic