Japan’s NHK Launches 8K Network Via Satellite

On December 2, Eutelsat Communications helped Japan’s national broadcaster NHK launch the world’s first 8K network, transmitting live images of the from the Vatican. The new NHK network, called BS8K, uses a broadcast link to Tokyo via the EutelSat 12 West B satellite to broadcast images live, 12 hours a day.

Both companies said the live transmission proved that 8K contribution via satellite is technically possible, with satellite links providing the large amount of bandwidth required.

NHK relied on DVB-S2X modulation, in 16APSK, and HEVC encoding. The images (7680 pixels over 4320 lines, or 33.3 million pixels per image) were shot at 60 frames per second in BT2020 color space, with 10 bits of color depth (1 billion colors) and high dynamic range HLG (Hybrid Log Gamma), combined with 22.2 channel audio. M-three Satcom provided a mobile uplink.

Currently airing in Japan, BS8K features 8K Ultra HD footage of major cultural and sporting events, museums and natural landscapes, providing viewers with a fully immersive experience. Gerry O’Sullivan, Executive Vice President, Global TV and Video of Eutelsat, said the new channel 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.

“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,” he said.

Based in Paris, Eutelsat relies on a global network of offices and teleports to broadcast nearly 7,000 channels. These channels are operated by a variety of television groups, reaching an audience of one billion television viewers equipped for satellite reception or connected to land networks.

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