Ultra High Definition Television

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by Leo Kerr, Apr 29, 2006.

  1. Leo Kerr

    Leo Kerr Screenwriter

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    First off, I've looked over the list of forums, and this seems to be the best space for this thread/review. If it isn't, my apologies.


    Last week, I was at the NAB 2006 conference/trade show (National Association of Broadcasters), where NHK and their partners had an Ultra High Definition Theater set up for demonstration purposes. Some of the details that follow are approximate; others are personal opinions. Your milage may vary. That said:

    The theater was a "small" theater, with perhaps 175 chairs on a flat floor, in about 8 rows. There was, perhaps, 15 feet all around the chairs to the pipe-and-drape that made up the walls and ceiling (remember, this is installed within the Convention Center's main exhibition space.) The east wall butted up against the actual concrete of the convention center; the other three walls were just drapery. The screen was, I recall, a Stewert screen, approximately 16 feet high, giving it a width of about 30 feet. The base of the screen was about five or six feet above the floor.

    The sound system was the customized 22.2 surround sound system, consisting mostly of speakers around the middle of the height, but with some ringing the top and bottom of the theater. Two subwoofers were placed below the screen, spaced about equally apart. All of the speakers were Bose - the "mains" looked like Bose 402-Series II speakers from their pro line. I don't see an obvious match on the website for the Bose Subwoofer cabinet that was on the floor. They were largish, and cubish, at about a cubic yard, each.

    The image is 7680x4320 pixels. In theory. They do a lot of tricks to try and make it work, more on that later. I'm not sure what the frame rate was, I suspect it was either 24 or 30 progressive frames per second.

    To make the picture work, they have to do a number of things. First is aquisition. They use 4 Micron Devices 8 megapixel sensors, rather than the conventional 3 for a profesisonal camera. (Side note: consumer video equipment and digital cameras tend to use a single sensor chip, filtered with a Bayer pattern yielding a 4:1:1 or 4:2:2 color space, where there is considerably less red and blue information than there is green. A typical professional camera uses a prism block and three monochrome sensor chips, giving red, blue, and green information at every pixel.) In this camera, the prism block drives four images: red, blue, and two green panels.

    Now, those of you who are math inclined will note that they have an actual 24 megapixel camera here, that they are using to create a 33 megapixel image. And, if one subtracts out the "color" channels, they've only got 16 megapixels. There's some serious interpolation going on here to make this work, but realize also that there's a fundamental 4:2:2 chromatic resolution going on here.

    Moving right along, the signal out of the camera is carried on 16 parallel HD-SDI lines. There is a tremendous bank of hardware to do any additional processing - such as recording and playback. (As yet, there are only two of the cameras in existance; both were in Nevada last week.)

    The projector is similarly... unusual. The system actually uses two highly modified JVC digital cinema D-ILA projectors. Projector 1, mounted on the top, has two imaging chips, both filtered green. Projector 2, mounted on the bottom, also has two imaging chips, one filtered red, the other blue. Oddly enough, this kind of matches the camera. Except that I believe that they are using the prototype 4k D-ILA chips. This yields the required 33mega pixels - once one realizes that they're using a 4:2:2 projection system - very unusual, that.

    So, accepting that there is a boat-load of smoke and mirrors going on, here, how'd it look and sound?

    D---ed impressive. Not flawless, but impressive, none-the-less. Water, for example, looked a little odd. (Water included shots of the New York City harbor spaces, as well as a Sea-World type park with orcas in Japan.) The camera they shot some NBA stuff with had some issues: a few stuck pixels, and something that was really funny. Imagine that the MPEG macro-blocks were fine - except that the blocks themselves were outlined? It was something like that. I wonder if that was something that was fixed with a firm-ware update after shooting had started.

    The up-close-and-personal shots in the sumo-wrestling arena were much too close and detailed. A serious case of "too much information"!

    Blacks were pretty good. CG elements (titles, for instance) were pin-sharp. Gray-scales looked pretty good, but a little crushed at the black end.

    Some bits had some noise, but again, firmware updates, and, in some cases, merely the amount of gain that they may have needed for the amount of light they had - it happens.

    I don't know how much the presence of 22 channels of full-range sound mattered. I liked the fact that there were speakers above the audience; I didn't really notice anything from those at floor level. The subwoofers, well.. transients were very bad, but they rumbled nicely.

    I saw the demonstration twice; once from the middle of the front row, and once from about the middle of the house. Front row for me was not unlike where I like to sit in an Imax hall - at least for width. Stuck camera pixels were visible, but apart from that, it was everything one expected from an insanely high resolution D-ILA projector. JVC should be proud of those units. Actually, most of the companies involved in this aught to be proud of their acomplishments.

    One of the interesting side demonstrations was they had the second camera on the roof of the convention center, pointed out over the parking lot at the street and Las Vegas monorail tracks in front of the LVCC. They had a PlayStation sized controller hooked up in the demo area, and a 1920x1080 LCD monitor. One of the joysticks controlled the 16x digital zoom; the other one was a "pan and tilt" control. You could zoom all the way in to "native" resolution for the 1920x1080, or pull back to the full image area. Panning and tilting was smooth and fast. I'd hate to think how much processing power was running that little display!

    All in all, most impressive. Not ready for prime time yet, of course, but impressive.

    Leo Kerr
     
  2. ChristopherDAC

    ChristopherDAC Producer

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    I'm assuming there was nothing with rapid motion shots? As I recall, this is the format which caused severe nausea in early test audiences, because of the detail and field-of-view. IMAX has been known to cause similar problems, I guess.
     
  3. Leo Kerr

    Leo Kerr Screenwriter

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    Hm. Now that you mention it, they sort of cheated - the camera didn't move that much, or did only very slow moves and zooms. Now, often the subjects moved, and did so rapidly (traffic in NYC, for example.)

    They often did "deep depth of field" shots. In either case, the motion was good. The only "troublesome" bit was a shot of a field of sunflowers with the wind blowing.

    Crazy, cute Japanese women in wet-suits leaping off of leaping orcas moved very well.

    Leo
     
  4. Dave Moritz

    Dave Moritz Producer
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    Sounds interesting Leo, I would liked to have seen that demo. I am suprised that they selected Bose however. I mean how many people actually pick Bose for any demonstrations? If I am not mistaken Bose will not even show up to the CES show in Vegas. The JVC D-ILA projector seemed like a good choice though. How ever it sounds like the audio part was what I would expect from a bose system.
     
  5. Leo Kerr

    Leo Kerr Screenwriter

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    Perhaps one of the most surprising things was also the line for the demonstrations. All through the show week (Mon-Thu) there was a line waiting to get in. Normally, by Thursday afternoon, there are no lines. There were lines right up to the 3:45 showing (last show.)

    Leo
     
  6. Garrett Lundy

    Garrett Lundy Producer

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    Isn't UDTV supposed to replace film? I thought they never considered it for regular TV use....
     
  7. Leo Kerr

    Leo Kerr Screenwriter

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    I heard somewhere that the original reason for its development was to "cheat." If you've got the pixels to spare, why send a truck and 20 cameras to a sporting event, when you can send a truck with two cameras, and generate a bunch of virtual cameras by doing a "pan-n-scan" out of the master frame? You can get a 16x digital zoom and still be at a pixel-per-pixel for 1080p.

    Leo
     
  8. Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Executive Producer

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    Bumping this thread because I have a question that might be relevant.

    I had some friends over last night and one of my friends was checking out my HT hardware. We were discussing what we were looking to upgrade to next, given when we have the cash!

    One thing we discussed was my plasma and his desire for a higher res projector. I wanted to go with a newer bigger one. And he was saying that whatever I get, don't get the super duper fancy one because he says that very soon, Ultra High Definition TVs will be coming. So I'll need to eventually upgrade to that.

    I never heard of this before. I did a Google search and didn't find anything. He describes it as the next HD resolution TV standard of 1400p. I only found one mention of it on an Endgadget thread from 2007. It describes a new resolution that was either 1440 or 1400p.

    Anyone know anything about this? Thanks!
     
  9. Bob_L

    Bob_L Supporting Actor

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    Seeing as it has taken about a quarter century to get the current HD standard in place, I don't think I'm inclined to wait for Ultra HD.
     
  10. TravisR

    TravisR Studio Mogul

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    That would be my thinking as well.
     
  11. Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Executive Producer

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    And I would agree!

    My friend and I didn't get into that aspect. I was feeling he was implying that the higher resolution would be part of new media as well, be it Ultra hi def Blu Ray or other ray. But I don't see that happening as BD could very well be replaced by the next format or file format that you download.

    Plus we don't seem to have a final outcome on the vote to delay digital TV yet.
     
  12. KevinJ

    KevinJ Supporting Actor

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    Ultra HD should be used only for showing special events like the Super Bowl/Grammys/etc in movie theaters and places like that.Regular HD's good enough for home viewing imho.
     
  13. chris.big.money

    chris.big.money Stunt Coordinator

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    It's funny that this is mentioned, because I was reading through some forums the other day and this was mentioned as a side note. It seems that everything is progressing exponentially nowadays, so i would assume that we could see Ultra HD within the next 6-10 years. The people on that forum (speaking of computers and blu-ray) noticed that Japan is already talking of Ultra HD broadcasts and we will probably see more and more TVs with this capability in the near future. Just my two cents, of course.
     
  14. chuckg

    chuckg Supporting Actor

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    Yup, and nobody will ever need more than 640K memory in their computer.....
     
  15. chuckg

    chuckg Supporting Actor

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    The best highest def I've seen is "fulldome" in planetarium theaters. Imagine a hemisphere forty or sixty feet across with a 4k x 4k image. I've even heard there is a theater with 8k x 8k image....
     

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