Parts of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, will be broadcast in 8K resolution in Japan and VR (virtual reality) in other regions. Tests with wide color gamut and high dynamic range will also be carried out.
Japan shows the way
This is certainly not the first time the industry has experimented with 8K. Four years ago, parts of the London 2012 Olympics were broadcast in 8K to large screens set up in public spaces in London.
This time, it will be on a grander scale. The Olympic Broadcasting Services (OBS) will shoot 130 hours (out of a total of 7000 hours) in 8K resolution during the games, including live coverage of opening and closing ceremonies, as well as swimming, judo, athletics, basketball and football. So far, Japan is the only country to confirm that it will broadcast the 8K signal, likely on large screens in public spaces.
OBS will supplement its 8K broadcasts with 22.2 channel audio.
OBS will also create 4K material, which will be down-converted from the 8K signal. It appears that the 4K material is for test and evaluation purposes only. Additionally, OBS will conduct experiments with video in wide color gamut and high dynamic range.
All of the 7000 hours will be captured in HD resolution and 5.1 surround sound.
Olympics in virtual reality
For the first time ever for the Olympic Games you will be able to enjoy parts of the games in virtual reality if you own a VR headset. Supported headsets have not been confirmed.
OBS says that viewers can be “virtually transported to the heart of the Olympic action with VR coverage including the Opening and Closing Ceremonies and one key event per day”.
The VR material will be available as live broadcast and for video-on-demand streaming. The VR content will also be available to users without VR headsets. YouTube and others are already allowing users to watch 360 videos on regular 2D screens.
The Rio 2016 Rio Olympic Games will kick off in August 2016.