Ultra High Definition TV could be coming to a TV near you

UHDTV, or Ultra High Definition Television, a new television format with 16 times the resolution of HDTV has been approved by the International Telecommunication Union.

The new format was designed and developed by NHK, Japan’s public broadcasting station. NHK hopes to begin significant UHDTV trial broadcasts, which it calls Super Hi-Vision, by 2020. International standards on audio specifications as well as broadcast formats have yet to be passed. NHK is advocating a 22.2 multichannel audio format.

UHDTV allows for programming and broadcasts at resolutions of up to 7680 by 4320, along with frame refresh rates of up to 120Hz, double that of most current HDTV broadcasts. The format also calls for a broader palette of colors that can be displayed on screen. The standard also includes a smaller layout of 3840 by 2160 pixels. The two arrangements are commonly referred to by their horizontal pixel counts, or 8k and 4k. The same standard will be used both in living rooms and broad public spaces, including the large screens used in movie theaters and sports venues.

Recently LG announced that it will soon begin sales of an 84-inch TV capable of showing 4k for about US$22,000, though there is little content available at that resolution. During the summer 2012 Olympics, NHK together with British broadcaster BBC showed parts of the event using the 8k format.