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KTH in Sweden makes TV history once again

On Saturday 10 November KTH in Sweden will do a direct TV transmission jointly with Keio University from the Kyoto Prize ceremony in Japan, using picture format 4096 x 2160 pixels. This resolution is far better than that employed in commercial HDTV, and the first time such a transmission is done live into Europe.

– This is the start of a global joint effort to exchange events between both countries and continents, says Mats Erixon at KTH´s Centre for Sustainable Communications, who is responsible for the Swedish part of the transmission. Seeing this event in an absolutely genuine manner, when and where it is actually taking place, is a fantastic experience!

This is a joint effort with the Inamori Foundation, which is backing the Kyoto Prize, Japan´s largest research award. This picture imaging type, named 4K, has four times higher resolution than an ordinary digital cinema. The technology for achieving this has been available in lab scale for some two years; the first real-time public demonstration of it took place in San Diego in 2005.

– Now the next step is to transmit it in non-compressed mode via IP below two oceans, says Mats Erixon. 4K is the higher standard chosen for cinema use, yet it has so far only been used for local server transmissions. What we do now is demonstrate that it is possible to take part in a big event without having to be there in person – yet you may have an experience that comes very close to being there yourself!

The receiver is HP´s latest switch solution, the 8212, that distributes the incoming IP signal to NTT´s uncompressed I-Visto HD system and 2 different JPEG2000 compressed systems from Norwegian T-VIPS and NTT. The 4K camera technology comes from Olympus, the 4K LCD display from Astro design, and the projector is a Sony 4K. Apart from the technical equipment at Kyoto and KTH, all this is technically possible thanks to today´s global and virtual fibre network administrations, notably GLIF (the Global Lambda Integrated Facility), which are enabling research and education bodies to test new technologies together.

The transmission goes via the sophisticated 10 Gbit/s networks installed between Japan and the USA (ten thousand million bit a second), across USA, further over to Europe, and finally landing in Stockholm via optical Nordunet/Sunet, which was completed earlier this year. The transmission requires 8 Gbit/s, and the remaining bandwidth is used to maintain a HDTV connection used as an internal walkie-talkie by the technicians who are operating the whole thing from Japan to Sweden.

Practical applications of this technology will soon be utilised everywhere – in medicine, in distance teaching, for business meetings and cultural events of every kind. Very large film productions that normally would require thousands of travels and transports all over the world could now be performed entirely in digital mode of sufficiently high quality. A film scene could now be produced in Australia, edited in Vienna, colour-matched in Toronto and then demonstrated in Hollywood the same afternoon – with full resolution and little delay all through the process.

– Yet 4K for home use is still a number of years in the future, Mats Erixon explains. First we have to adopt HDTV at all, then it must be upgraded to full HDTV – and this alone doubles the need for bandwidth. After that the network capacity will have to be quadrupled. And then we can finally enjoy 4K!

The differences between national time zones necessitates sending the programme in Sweden at 06.00 early on Saturday morning.

– A bit early, says Mats Erixon laconically. But this is a golden chance to come along as TV history is written! Welcome here, everybody, but please register first – see below.

A repeat recording of Saturday´s transmission will also be sent here at KTH on Monday 12 November, starting at 15.55. This will also take place in the same hall as Saturday´s performance; se below.

About the Kyoto Prize and the Inamori Foundation
Since 1985 the Inamori Foundation has been awarding Kyoto Prizes to individuals as well as groups who have contributed to human improvement. The prize categories include Advanced Technology, Basic Science, and Art & Philosophy; these are all open to every person irrespective of nationality, race, sex, age or religion.
Time: Saturday 10 November at 06.00 hours.
Place: Hall E1, Lindstedtsvägen 3, KTH Campus Valhallavägen, Stockholm.
Contact for technical matters: Mats Erixon, 08–790 9281,
Registrations: Emma Källblad, 08-790 6667,

Magnus Myrén | alfa
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