Olympic Hi-Vision trial underway

The BBC, NHK and the London 2012 host broadcaster OBS are collaborating on a major test of the next generation Super Hi-Vision transmission system. Hi-Vision offers a picture resolution 16 times that of current high definition transmissions.

All three of the only Hi-Vision cameras in existence have been put into action, initially capturing Friday’s opening ceremony, before moving on to the swimming competition.

Broadband TV News was invited to a screening at Broadcasting House in London, while there have also been screenings elsewhere in the UK, the United States and Japan.

“The principal of this is the idea of immersion and transmitting it in Bradford and Glasgow is something the BBC wants to do, so it is seen as a UK Olympics and not just London,” said Matthew Postgate, controller BBC Research & Development.

Japanese public broadcaster NHK is making a substantial contribution, providing the majority of the crew for the venture, which resulted from a dinner during a BBC vision to the NHK research and development department.

“All the Hi-Vision equipment is now reliable enough to use in the everyday environment and this has been achieved in 10 years as opposed to the 36 years it took to develop HDTV,” Dry Keiichi Kubota, director-general, Science & Technical Research Laboratories, NHK.

The transmissions are without commentary and virtually devoid of graphics as the partners look to build the immersive experience.

The BBC is enjoying something of a multiscreen Olympics. As of Monday evening (July 30) there had been 1.7 million views of the opening ceremony on iPlayer, while the BBC Olympic app has so far received over one million downloads. Significantly, over 55% of accesses have not been from a desktop browser.