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BBC to Test Ultra High-Definition TV at London 2012 Olympics

BBC and NHK will use the world's only Super Hi-Vision equipment to film a variety of Olympic sports and broadcast them to the public.

If you think 1080p is impressive, just wait until you feast your eyes on Super Hi-Vision, an ultra-high definition television format with 16 times the image resolution of the 1080p HDTV standard. The BBC will conduct Super Hi-Vision trials during the London 2012 Olympics, which run from July 27 through August 12.

A digital video format developed by Japanese broadcaster NHK, Super Hi-Vision has a resolution of 7680-by-4320 pixels and 22.2-multichannel surround sound. It's also known as 8K, 4320p, and UHDTV.

Super Hi-Vision trials aren't new--NHK, in fact, has been testing the TV format for several years--but the London Olympics is the most high-profile test of the technology to date.

"Experienced on a big screen, the effect is of feeling like actually being at an event," writes Tim Plyming, the BBC executive leading the Super Hi-Vision project, in a Monday post on the BBC Internet Blog.

A crew made up of BBC and NHK staff will use the world's only Super Hi-Vision equipment to shoot a variety of sporting events at the Olympic Stadium, Aquatic Centre, Velodrome and Basketball Arena, as well as live coverage of the opening and closing ceremonies.

What's the best way to experience the London Olympics in Super Hi-Vision? You can't rush out and buy an 8K TVs, of course, and your viewing options will be limited to three public viewing theaters in the UK: BBC Broadcasting House in London; BBC Pacific Quay in Glasgow; and National Media Museum in Bradford.

If you don't reside in the UK and have no plans to travel there for the Olympics, well, HDTV really isn't all that bad.

Contact Jeff Bertolucci at Today@PCWorld, Twitter (@jbertolucci) or jbertolucci.blogspot.com.

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