This year is the first time the World Cup is being broadcast in 4K, thanks to the BBC's ongoing trials. But what if I told you that it is actually possible to watch the games in 8K? Some games are being broadcast in the ultra-ultra high resolution, but you'll have to go to Brazil to tune in.
The broadcasts, which are being beamed out with 7680 x 4320 resolution, are the result of a partnership between satellite TV operator Intelsat and Latin American broadcaster Globo. The two will be showing the games in an exhibition at Rio de Janeiro’s Museu de Amanhã (Museum of Tomorrow) until the World Cup ends on 15th July.
Given some of the issues people have had with the BBC's 4K streams, it's safe to say that doing it in 8K would be beyond the capabilities of a regular broadcaster streaming the video into the homes of football fans - hence the single location. The feed itself is being transmitted as a 200Mbps stream to Tokyo from the International Broadcast Center in Moscow, where Intelsat use point of presence to send it to New York. From there it's transmitted to Atlanta, via the IntelsatOne terrestrial network, where it's encoded at 90 Mbps using a NTT 8K HEVC real-time encoder, compressed, and modulated by a Newtec MDM6100 Broadcast Satellite Modem in DVB-S2. Finally it's uplinked to the company's newest HD distribution platform Intelsat 14.
I will level with you, I have absolutely no idea what I just said. There are reasons why I'm doing this, and not working as some sort of engineer after all. It sounds annoyingly difficult, though, especially since 8K is barely a thing yet. In fact it's probably the first commercial 8K video test outside of Japan. Always being ahead of the times, the Japanese Broadcaster NHK has been doing tests for several years and has plans to launch the first 8K channel by 1st December this year.
Don't expect 8K TV to arrive here anytime soon, though. Live 4K TV has only been around for a couple of years, if you paid for Sky Q, and live 4K HDR has only a few months old, so it's going to be quite a long time before broadcasters have anything ready to go. Plus 8K TVs are rare, large, and expensive, so pretty much nobody has one. But it's coming, eventually. [What Hi-Fi]