NHK Science and Technology Research Laboratories (STRL) is to receive the International Honour for Excellence at this year's IBC for its contributions to broadcasting, including current development of the 22.2-channel immersive surround sound format for Super Hi-Vision television. The award is the highest presented by the IBC and is given annually to "an outstanding individual or organisation who has fostered or contributed to the relationship between technology and creativity in the broadcast, movie or media industries." Past recipients include British broadcast Sir David Attenborough (2011), film director and 3D evangelist James Cameron and the BBC Natural History Unit. The STRL is part of Japanese public broadcaster NHK and has been at the forefront of research into new broadcast techniques and technologies since it was established in 1930. The labs were founded five years after radio broadcasting began in Japan and include soundless areas and reverberation rooms. A key part of NHK's current research into Super Hi-Vision, which grew out of its pioneering work on HDTV in the 1960s, is 22.2 audio. This is intended to go beyond conventional surround sound and create a fully immersive experience, with height and depth as well as width and length. A full sonic picture is created by nine channels for the upper level, ten for the middle, three on the lower and two low frequency outputs. The award has been made by the IBC Council, whose chair, Peter Owen (pictured), comments, "The contribution to broadcasting technology made by NHK cannot be underestimated. Their work has always been revolutionary but equally important NHK has been generous with its efforts, collaborating with international bodies like the ITU and SMPTE, along with its contribution to global standards like MPEG." www.ibc.org
Super Hi-Vision and 22.2 audio tests for London 2012
The London 2012 Olympics mark the end of SD transmissions for major sporting events but even though HD is now the dominant format these Games are the test-bed for the next generation of technology, Super Hi-Vision video with 22.2 sound.