Some HDTV numbers

Just thinking aloud. OK, 3D TV is dead. Nothing new here. It already died couple of times throughout the history of moving pictures. But, what about higher-than-high-definition? I was quickly crunching some numbers and thinking about display capabilities.

We all know that new iPad3 has that famous ‘retina’ display, with resolution of about 260 ppi (pixels per inch). So, technology is here. My current TV has 40″ diagonal and resolution of 1920 x 1080 (Full HD), which comes to about 55 ppi. If someone make ‘retina’ display of that size, that TV would be 9064 x 5098 pixels. This is just a calculated number, not a standard.

Let’s scale back to the next standard, just a little bit. Proposed display standard, called 8K or UHD (Ultra HD) have a resolution of 7680 x 4320 pixels. That’s four times horizontal and four times vertical resolution of Full HD. As we all know, HD bit rate is about 1.5 Gb/s. And for Ultra HD, or for a pleasure to have ‘retina’ display in my living room, we need ~24 Gb/s!!! Which means, we need heck of a good compression method to push all these bits through existing infrastructure.

My guess is that it won’t be a long wait. Anyone remember days when we thought that 56 kb/s was a maximum over telephone copper wires? Is there a limit for the copper? Or should I just picture myself pulling optical cables into the racks of our TV station? We’ll see.