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How 8K UHD Is Pushing the Industry Forward

[Beijing, China, May 7, 2021] The China Media Group (CMG) kicked off the launch of a public service 8K UHD TV platform on May 7, 2021 in Beijing, China.

Shen Haixiong, Head and Editor-in-Chief of the CMG, attended the event, together with other key stakeholders. In his speech, Shen Haixiong hammered home the importance of spurring the development of the 4K/8K UHD industry, noting, "It is vital for meeting people's growing needs, spurring the intelligent transformation of video-centric industries, and bolstering the overall strength of China's information and cultural industries."

The CMG will work closely with a range of partners to build the public service 8K UHD TV platform, bring 8K TV channels into more homes, and formulate a comprehensive transmission mechanism using the content, platforms, channels, and services currently available. Starting in June 2021, China will deploy 8K UHD on an increasingly broad scale, and the CMG will use 8K UHD technology to produce and air reports on major events. In December, the CMG will officially launch an 8K UHD TV channel, giving its audience its opportunity to watch the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in 8K splendor. Experts have noted how these achievements demonstrate that the CMG is at the forefront of technological deployment, spearheading development throughout the entire global UHD industry.

How 8K UHD Is Pushing the Industry Forward

The launch ceremony was followed by the Beijing International Television Technology Conference (ITTC), which was hosted by CCTV. Veni Shone, President of HiSilicon (Shanghai), delivered a keynote speech that morning, pointing out that 8K can occupy a mutually-reinforcing relationship with 5G and AI, with 8K UHD spurring those technologies to new heights. He advocated making a concerted effort to build world-class information and smart industry clusters.

Making premium 8K content broadly accessible is key for the industry in its quest to hit the mainstream. Currently, exorbitantly-priced, non-Chinese devices still dominate the space in 8Kp60 content production tools. In the realm of 8Kp30 content production, quasi-professional cameras from Z CAM, BOSMA, and other Chinese manufactures have emerged as serious contenders. Stakeholders will need to drive Chinese 8Kp60 camera solutions forward, in order to fill the gap in the 8K TV broadcast field. In addition, AI super resolution (SR) technology can be used to upgrade traditional videos to 8K, so that consumers can experience the stunning effects of 8K as soon as possible.

Reliable transmission is a bridge between 8K content from the central office to the user side. During the 2020 Spring Festival Gala, 120 Mbit/s 8K AVS3 streams were transmitted thousands of kilometers from the CCTV hall to nine cities across China, over the IP network, demonstrating the feasibility of long-distance transmission of 8K streams. Cable networks are an important asset in the broadcast and television system. HiSilicon and Jiangsu Broadcasting Cable Information Network Corporation Limited (JSCN) jointly developed a multi-frequency 8K transmission solution based on the cable network, which was successfully verified with the 8K live broadcast of the 2020 final for the Chinese Super League.

Access to high-performance broadband is the last major hurdle for 8K content delivery. CCTV requires 8K streams to be transmitted at 80 Mbit/s to 120 Mbit/s. In China, the proportion of fiber to the home (FTTH) accounts for 94%. The FTTH rate is generally in excess of 100 Mbit/s, which indicates that most Chinese households support 8K 100 Mbit/s 8K streams. For 8K outdoor screens, 5G can be effective in locations where wired access is difficult or impossible. According to the tests conducted by the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology (CAICT) in 2020 on key road segments in 10 major cities, the 5G download speed exceeds 600 Mbit/s, which is sufficient for outdoor 8K content transmission.

The value of 8K is how it enhances the viewing experience across the board, notably, with improved picture quality, 3D audiovisuals, and 3D XR. First, with regard to picture quality, 8K facilitates giant leaps in frame rate, color reproduction, and latitude, as well as resolution. Advances in 3D audiovisuals include adaptive zoned sound field optimization for large screens, and intelligent 3D rendering of the head, with automatic tracking in XR scenarios. Thanks to powerful audio and video decoding capabilities, 8K devices also allow consumers to switch to a desired angle of view — a feature that's ideal for sporting events, concerts, and important events. In terms of 3D XR, 8K is the jumping-off point for a display interaction mode that combines virtual and real worlds, and has been widely used in games, online education, and SOHO scenarios.

How 8K UHD Is Pushing the Industry Forward

When it comes to core technology, there is no cutting corners. Money cannot buy the best technology; only painstaking effort can make it happen. In recent years, China has blazed new trails in 8K-related fields. AVS3 is the first-ever 8K/VR video encoding and decoding standard, and outperforms HEVC/H.265 by 30%. HDR Vivid is a leading dynamic HDR standard, with a viewing experience and brightness adaptation that meets international standards. The ChinaDRM standard system has become a standard for the industry at large. The core patents are granted free of charge, which greatly reduces the barrier of entry. HiSilicon's 8K AI chipsets have led the way in incorporating AVS3, HDR Vivid, and ChinaDRM standards. HiSilicon has also participated in defining and developing new standards, such as next-generation high-speed multimedia interfaces and 8K large-screen P2P interfaces. All of these developments are intended to help make the latest standards-compliant chip products more accessible to partners throughout the industry.

The journey may have been arduous, but we will reach our destination one step at a time. As a participant in China's media industry, HiSilicon has long been committed to developing next-level solutions. From China's sluggish start in the 4K competition, to its sizable lead in the 8K race, HiSilicon has witnessed China's emergence as a major player in audio and video technologies, AI, display interactions, smart devices, and application innovation. It will continue to work with stakeholders to build 8K UHD into another standout high-tech field in China, alongside 5G and high-speed rail.