Bigger video, bigger headaches by Doug Mohney
NHK "filmed" the 2012 Summer Olympics in a mind-whopping 7,690 x 4,320 (8k x 4k) pixels. Its Super Hi-Vision (SHV) format has been kicking around since 2006, with the first transmission requiring a 1 Gbps connection to handle the uncompressed 22.2 sound signal at 28 Mbps with a "compressed" UHD video signal of 600 Mbps. Uncompressed signals are 24 Gbps. Care to think how many petabytes that would be for any large amount of programming?
The ITU has made NHK's Super Hi-Vision format into a world-wide broadcast standard, along with the "lower" resolution 4K (3,840 x 2,160) format, with supports for frame rates starting at 24p and going up to 120p. TV manufacturers are already showing around 4K and 8K TV prototypes, with Sony planning to roll out sets for the holiday season for well-heeled viewers - the 84 inch Sonly XBR-84X900 is listed at 25,000 euros, so it isn't cheap.
NHK is planning to start broadcasts in the new format in 2020 -- so you don' t have to scrap your TV just yet. However, the company is already amassing video in the format; it was at the final launch of the U.S. space shuttle program in July 2011. I'm hoping that I'll get the opportunity to view the SHV format of the launch and compare it to my experiences of being there to witness it in person.
NHK's Yoshiaki Shishikui is Head of Advanced Television Systems Research Division , will speak on the storage aspects around 8K video out at the Storage Visions event in January. Storage Visions' theme this year is "From terabytes to petabytes," so you have to figure NHK is already starting to store petabytes of video in its SHV format.
How much space? There are some rough calculations for 8K video shot at the 2012 Olympics done over at the No Film School website that estimate anywhere between 1.2 gigabytes per second and 1.4 gigabytes per second, which puts you in the range of 4.3 terabytes to 5 terabytes per hour.
Recording a paltry 200 hours or so of raw video gets you to a petabyte. Live streaming of the 2012 Games ran over 3,500 hours, so if you filmed all of the games in uncompressed SHV, you'd run to 17.5 petabytes. And this is before we start talking about backups and adding in compressed derivative formats for faster streaming on line and via "standard" HDTV.
Being able to store, manage, and backup petabytes of data is the challenge of the next decade. It will require advances in core networking technology to boost speeds from today's 1 Gbps/10 Gbps average and 40 Gbps/100Gbps highs to making 100 Gbps the new "normal" and 1 Tbps the desired high-end speed between and within data centers. The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) only recently established a roadmap to get to 400 Gbps, but users wanted to get to 1 Tbps sooner rather than having to aggregate slower speed connections together to get throughput.