TOKYO (AP) — The World Cup will showcase the latest in TV technology that industry leaders hope will usher in a new era in sports broadcasting.
Japanese electronics giant Sony, in partnership with FIFA, will produce a World Cup film in ultra-high definition 4K, the next generation of broadcast and media resolutions.
Developed in 2003 by the technical research division of Japanese national broadcaster NHK, ultra-high definition, also known as 4K, delivers more nuance and detail than high definition TV.
Niclas Ericson, FIFA's director of TV, said "4K will propel fans around the globe into a whole new viewing dimension and it marks the dawning of a new era in the broadcasting of sport."
Companies like BSkyB and ESPN are considering the potential of a dedicated 4K sports channel.
Ultra-high definition displays have eight million pixels, four times the number of pixels for high definition TVs, making it ideal for sports broadcasting. A pixel is the smallest single component of a digital image. The more pixels that comprise an image, the clearer it becomes.
The World Cup film will include a selection of games, including the final, and will be available for purchase online after the World Cup. In addition to the World Cup film, one match from the round of 16, one quarterfinal match and the final will be produced in ultra-high definition.
"We are very excited to offer an entirely new viewing experience at the greatest sport event in the world," said Soichi Kawachi, vice president in charge of the FIFA Partnership at Sony. "We will deliver a unique and totally compelling entertainment experience, conveying the excitement of the matches in Brazil with the depth and vividness that the ultra-high definition of 4K delivers."
While 4K replaces high definition as the highest-resolution signal available for in-home movies and television, there are obstacles to overcome before the format becomes the industry standard.
There is little consumer 4K content currently available, and the technology is still pricy. A 55-inch ultra-high definition TV in Japan sells for about $3,400 while a high definition TV costs about $600.
While the new format will get some good exposure from the World Cup venture, the timing, at least as far as the Japan market goes, is not ideal.
Japan raised its sales tax on April 1. While some better-off Japanese have splashed out on luxury goods and vehicles, most consumers remain wary.
Still, the future of 4K is bright. While 3D TV sales are sluggish, industry analysts expect 4K to be a success once prices come down.