Representatives from 21 companies, including Japan’s largest broadcast company NHK, convened on June 17th in Tokyo to discuss the future of television broadcasting in the country.

The goal of the meeting was to establish a think tank to help launch and promote the next generation of television technology. The collective, now known as NexTV-F, is mostly comprised of electronics manufactures (Sony, Sharp), broadcasters (NHK), cable companies, government officials and a few advertizing agencies.

If this government backed initiative is successful, Japan will be setting itself up to be the world leader in high definition programming. 4k TVs have a standard resolution of 3840×2160 (or 2160p) – just over double the resolution of 1080p televisions. 8k televisions have a jaw dropping 7680×4320 resolution (or 4320p) – over 4x the resolution of current HD TVs.

Japan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications has laid out a technological road map which aims to have 4k programming on TV in 2014. They will be testing 8k broadcasts sometime in 2016 and hope to have full 8k broadcasts on TV by the year 2020.

Sudo Osamu, the Tokyo University Professor Chairman, said, “I believe it will strengthen Japan’s industrial competitiveness“. He continues, “Japan will be the first. UHDTV Difference
It will be a model that the rest of the world can follow“. NHK President, Masayuki Matsumoto said, “I had a chance to watch the London Olympics in Ultra HD last year. My first thought was that I wanted to achieve that as fast as possible, and by any means necessary.”

Sony’s President and CEO Hirai Kazuo said, “We recently recorded a Kabuki stage play in Ultra HD at the Sony Building in the Ginza District. I was definitely impressed. There will definitely be a demand for ultra-high definition television.

One of the biggest hurdles facing Ultra HD programming is the massive bandwidth requirements UHDTV requires. Broadcasters are allocated a spectrum in which they can broadcast digital signals and the current infrastructure is not large enough to support dedicated 4k or 8k streams. To give you a general idea of the requirements, an 8k stream (33.1 million pixels) would require 48-50 Gbps of bandwidth.

One temporary solution involves using satellite transmissions to supplement TV broadcasts until they find a more permanent and reliable way to deliver such huge amounts of data. The group is very optimistic and believes they can meet the challenge – the population density of the larger cities in Japan make laying down an entirely new infrastructure a considerably easier task than it would be in countries like the U.S.

Source: News.Nicovideo.jp (Japanese)