Did you watch the Olympics 2012 opening ceremony last Friday?
I've seen the main part of it three times now (geek that I am) and
it gets better with each viewing: outstanding music, a feat of
human engineering and the eccentric, corny, mildly subversive brand
of humour that only the British can get away with. I loved it!
Last night however I was treated, along with some other people,
to a special 25-minute edited highlights version of the event at
the BBC's New Broadcasting House in London. The corporation was
showing off something called "Super Hi-Vision" TV. This, we were
told, has sixteen times the resolution of regular HD television
(7,680 x 4,320 pixels) accompanied by a 22.2 multichannel
3-dimensional sound system. There are only three SHV cameras in the
whole world - they were all there at the opening ceremony, seconded
from Japan's national public broadcaster, NHK - and yesterday's
presentation was only the fourth time that SHV technology has been
displayed to anyone.
Our hosts promised that the experience would be "just like being
there" and, crikey, they were right. It was repeatedly,
goose-bumpingly brilliant. Admittedly, it helped that we were
watching on an 8x6 metre screen but still, it felt utterly
realistic; as if you were surveying the scene in person. The BBC is
now holding public screenings of SHV at three locations: London,
Bradford and Glasgow -
find out more here; scroll down to 'Where can you experience Super
Hi Vision?' - and I urge you to find time to
go to one.
Incidentally, in the Q&A we learnt from the NHK team that
'Ultra HDTV', the brand name for Super Hi-Vision, could be used in
public broadcasts as soon as 2016.
Here's more about the technology from Tim Plyming, the
project lead for the BBC's Super Hi-Vision trials taking place
during the London 2012 Olympics.