Japan to Broadcast in 4K in 2014?
What do you do when you want to sell a lot of 4K televisions but there's no content? Simple. You just have the government mandate 4K broadcasts. At least, that seems to be Japan's solution. The Japanese government has scheduled July 14th as the date is will produce the worlds first 4K TV broadcast. While that may seem like a long way off (it doesn't to us) it's actually a full 2 years ahead of schedule (Japan's Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications had planned to begin 4K TV service in 2016). Japan has a high stake in the success of the new 4K televisions as it represents a potential for increased consumer demand and, unlike the 3D bombstravaganza, may be a legitimate reason for existing HDTV owners to upgrade. The news about the ultra high-definition broadcast comes, unfortunately, from a Japanese newspaper that didn't cite any specific sources.
To facilitate the early transition, initial 4K broadcasts will come directly from communication satellites. After that, 4K will eventually work its way to satellite broadcasting and ground digital broadcasting. The reason for that is simple–4K broadcasting technology will require the updating of a myriad of hardware in order to facilitate the increased resolution and bandwidth. That includes editing and preview monitors, digital storage and editing, and of course the towers and bandwidth requirements.
Japanese manufacturers like Sony, Panasonic and Sharp are already hot and heavy into the new 4K "ultra high-definition TVs" and South Korea's Samsung and LG Electronics are getting into the game as well. Can Japan push the US into a faster adoption rate? It's doubtful, but it can't hurt. We remember the rather advanced pace of HDTV adoption back in the early 2000's, but 4K doesn't have the same jaw-dropping appeal as going from standard definition to 1080p (at least not at the size of TVs most consumers use in their homes).
Why July 2014? The final match of the 2014 football World Cup is set to take place in Brazil and so that seems to be the leading reason or coincidental event. What's really crazy is that in Japan, the development of super high-definition 8K TVs is already in progress. And what does the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications plan on that front? It's going to launch the test 8K TV broadcast in 2016, bringing that two years ahead of schedule as well.