Japan In Online 4K Television Trial

Japanese telecoms firm NTT West is conducting tests in a bid to prove that it is possible to stream 4K-resolution video to television set-top boxes over the internet.

The company believes it is the first trial of its kind. The experiment runs until tomorrow (June 14).

A new video compression standard is being used to reduce the amount of data that needs to be transmitted.

Four times the amount of detail as 1080p high definition content is available with 4K broadcasts.

Compressing technologies enable broadcasters to transmit material using a significantly lower amount of data than would otherwise be needed while minimising the drop in picture quality.

For video use a variety of algorithms are deployed to establish how colour is distributed across images and the changes which take place between each frame.

This method is used to enable redundant information to be discarded, leaving only the relevant data to reconstruct a sequence based on an understanding of how each frame and pixel are related to each other.

The H.264/MPEG-4 codec is commonly used to broadcast digital television. At the turn of the year the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) gave the green light for a new format to succeed it - the .265 High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) standard.

This enables 4K and 1080p videos to be streamed whilst using only around half of the bit rate, meaning half as much data needs to be transmitted due to the use of more advanced algorithms.

Despite the fact that 4K ultra-high definition television sets are on the market, content is few and far between and the majority of owners rely on the television's ability to upscale existing HD signals.

Japan aims to become the first nation to broadcast 4K programming over satellite from next year, in time for the FIFA World Cup.

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