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NHK taps Eutelsat for ‘world first’ 8K network

Japanese broadcaster NHK has partnered with satellite operator Eutelsat Communications to launch what the pair claim to be the world’s first 8K network; BS8K.

The initial live broadcast of the channel took place on December 2 from the Vatican with images transmitted to Tokyo via the Eutelsat 12 West B satellite via a mobile uplink provided by M-three Satcom.

NHK relied on DVB-S2X modulation, in 16APSK, and HEVC encoding for the transmission. The images, comprising 7680 pixels over 4320 lines, were shot at 60 frames per second in BT2020 colour space, with 10 bits of colour depth in HLG-based HDR, combined with 22.2 channel audio.

Airing in Japan, BS8K features 8K Ultra HD footage of major cultural and sporting events, museums and natural landscapes. The channel will broadcast 12 hours a day. The service will allow for further experimentation with 8K prior to the large-scale deployment of the format for the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics games in 2020.

Gerry O’Sullivan, EVP, global TV and video of Eutelsat said: “Eutelsat has been a pioneer in delivering HD and Ultra HD formats since their inception, and this broadcast confirms satellite’s unique position as one of the vital technologies capable of broadcasting 8K signals. We look forward to working hand in hand with customers such as NHK as they continue to raise the bar higher for the broadcasting industry, to deliver the best possible video experience to viewers.”