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HDTV? You Ain't Seen NOTHING Yet!!!
by: Bob Wood

Remember the Osborn? Or was it the Osborne? Actually, I knew it existed, but didnt care. This thing was a personal computer. Like wed ever need one of those? Those new electric typewriters with memory were the rage. THAT was something!

Flash forward and we are upon the reverse engineered UFO goodies. Oh, wait, no, thats not exactly right.

Its the dawning of the age of Aquarius, age of Aquarius, Ah QUAR EEEE USSS. Um, no, that was some time ago.

Its the age of $3 US Gas. Not a good milestone

The age of HDTV!!! Remember when high definition included the terms stems and seeds? You do? You rascal.

No, this is about High Definition TELEVISION. Personally, I feel the word TELEVISON is so. Fifties. We need a new one there. So did you jump for the Plasma? Or the LCD projector? The DLP? Have you got the home theater with all the tricked out electronics?

Dont put your ear directly on the high tech train tracks, then, because theres another train coming, and youll hear it down the line.

UHDV is in the pipeline. On the track. In the lab. In the electron wind. Want to guess? Times up. ULTRA HIGH DEFINITION.

Remember the movie where they invent this skull cap that would capture your emotions and immediately the bad guy looped someone having how shall we say some very intense happy times and turned himself into peak experience broccoli? Is that where all this is headed? Not for a while, if ever. HOWEVER: UHDV is close to the detail of 35mm film. With 7680 x 4320 pixels, this isnt far from the 4K (4,000 scan line) digital projection systems for big-screen movie theaters.

Donald Trump will be able to see how bad his hair looks like never before.

UHDV features 33 million pixels with a 60 frame-per-second (fps) progressive scan format.

NHK, the Japanese broadcasting giant who had HDTV in the 1980s is behind the UHDV format, but reassures us it may be a long time before home theater UHDV becomes reality. Thats corporate talk for, Dont let the competition know how close we really are!

With 32 times the bandwidth demands of HDTV, UHDV would be prohibitive for todays broadcast, cable and satellite technology. NHKs demo required a data rate of 24 Gbps. That was a few years back in Amsterdam where some people were close to hurling lunch because the moving car video hi-jinx was that real.

How real?

NHK cobbled together a custom camera of four CCD image sensors; then to show the output built a LCoS projector combining four eight-megapixel panels. Data storage, using 16 synchronized HDTV recorders, provided roughly 18 minutes of recording time, using 3.5 terabytes of total capacity and a screen about 12 feet high and 22 feet wide. NHK researchers called this the sensation of reality saturation point, in the hopes of providing a completely immersive experience: 100 degrees of visual field angle, viewing from a distance of three-quarters of the height of the screen (about nine feet) with at least 60 pixels required for each one degree of visual field angle.

And speakers? UHDV offers 24-channel sound, or 22.2, containing vertically arrayed surround sound speakers: nine above ear level, 10 at ear level, three below ear level and two low-frequency subwoofer channels.

The format, according to NHK, is not so much intended for home use as for museums, public spaces and theaters. You tell The Donald.

Once upon a time there was SHOWSCAN. Special effects pioneer Douglas Trumbull had his demo unit in a suburb of Dallas, behind a Chucky Cheese, if memory serves. I saw the demo.

The equipment and the Showscan Film Process of producing and projecting Showscan films are justifiably proprietary and patented. At the time, Showscans discovery was hailed as the most significant advancement in film technology since the introduction of sound in the 1929 film The Jazz Singer. (Not the one with Neil Diamond.) However, it remained as little more than a technological curiosity until the company developed new camera, high speed projectors, and built special theaters to showcase the revolutionary Showscan images. There was a catch-22 at work. Theaters weren't equipped for this state of the art projection so they couldn't convince investors to make films in that format. Solution: do it all in house.

I cant remember the specs but it was scarily real, 3-D, multi channel and way ahead of multi channel or HDTV. I do remember it ran film through the gate much faster than normal projection speeds.

Today the companys simulation and specialty theatres are open or under construction in 24 countries around the world, located in theme parks, motion picture multiplexes, expos, worlds fairs, resorts, shopping centers, casinos, museums, and other tourist destinations where somebody wants a rush.

If NHK can even come close, well

Enjoy your puny HDTV now while you can, citizen.

About The Author

Bob Wood's website,, covers the video and audio fields as they apply to home theater and home entertainment. Bob spent many years in the US and Canada at popular radio stations and recording studios as programmer, producer, and talent.

This article was posted on October 07, 2005


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