Just before the Olympics started I had heard of rumour that the BBC would be screening some of the sporting events, as well as the opening and closing ceremonies, at its Broadcasting House using some very special technology. As it's a screening you’d be right in assuming that it’s going to be some sort of screen and broadcasting technology. What's so special about this is that the BBC are showing off Super-Hi Vision TV, which is basically a branded way of saying UHDTV. UHDTV in simple terms is 8K television accompanied by 22.2 3D surround sound on a 300 inch screen. There are only 3 cameras functional in the world and are developed by NHK (the Japanese national broadcaster) and they are all in London. NHK have been developing this technology since the 1990's with the aim of creating a camera with a higher level of fidelity than the human eye and a screen that encompasses your entire field of view, and as a result create the ultimate visual experience.
Now some reporters and other members of the public who were given access to see this kit in action were blown away. To put it in to perspective 8K is 16 times the definition of the standard 1080p we use today! The detail available makes people’s faces and expressions visible, even within a crowded Olympic Stadium, offering a crispness of detail similar to looking out of your window on a clear day.
An excellent article on the BBC's R&D blog outlines the precautions they have to take with setting up such valuable and advanced equipment as well as the internet infrastructure needed to stream such a huge amount of data at a reliable and constant rate. Every piece of equipment developed for Super-Hi Vision was shipped to London for the Olympic Games to gain a more thorough understanding of what the results can be at such a huge event.