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Eye-to-Eye 2011 Highlights by David Kirk “ Broadcasters must climb up the ladder into high definition or they’ll get their ankles chewed by the computer industry”. Memorable quote from a manufacturer of video standards converters nearly 30 years ago when NHK was trying to establish its original 1125- line (1080-active) 5:3 aspect-ratio ‘Hi-Vision’.  Well it happened. 2011 was the year ‘high- definition’ became the new ‘standard-definition’ thanks to the push effect of competitive HD production equipment pricing and the pull effect of bigger, better and more affordable display screens. 2011 was also the year when the internet showed its potential to become the most cost-efficient route for delivery of television content to the home. The transition will take several years and will enormously widen viewer choice, not least in the context of ‘catchup TV’. Whether the internet completely replaces terrestrial and satellite delivery for the national public-service channels will probably depend as much on national topography as on technology. 30 | TV-BAY MAGAZINE The year of 3D? From 2 via 8 to 33 megapixels  The ankle-chewing continues, not because the broadcast industry is in competition with the computer trade but because both are part of a single industry (electronics) in which, earthquakes included, nothing stands still. 1080-line HD looks set to have a healthy future but not in isolation. This was the year when Canon, JVC, Panasonic and Sony rolled out a viable route from today’s 2 megapixel HDTV into a 33 megapixel Super Hi-Vision future. This is a 3820 x 2160 (4 x 2K if you prefer approximations) 8 megapixel bridging format. Panasonic’s 4 x 2K 152 inch plasma, introduced in prototype at IBC and shown again at SATIS, looked hugely impressively. At nearly 2 metres high, it is compact enough to pass through a standard doorway provided the supplier has a big enough vehicle to make the initial delivery. The total number of regular 3D broadcast television channels accessible via traditional terrestrial, satellite or cable reached 31 during 2011:  Australia 1, Belgium 1, Brazil 1, Canada 1, Europe-wide 3, Finland 1, France 1, Germany 2, India 1, Israel 1, Japan 2, Mexico 1, Poland 4, South Korea 1, Spain 1, Sweden 1, Turkey 1, UK 1, USA  6. Sky 3D was the pioneer, having started officially on 1 January 2010. This figure excludes experimental ‘one-offs’ by several broadcasters putting their toes into the 3D pond. 3D sells very badly in high street stores, being the one fuzzy screen among an array of clean and attractive 2D displays...unless you ask to try the obligatory nose-wear. If you are not accustomed to wearing specs, the polarising filters are a nuisance. And if you do wear them, a bigger nuisance. Autostereoscopic screens are the obvious way to go but they form no part of this year’s story. NHK continued to promote the 7680 x 4320 pixel (8 x 4K) ‘Super Hi-Vision’ concept which it hopes broadcasters will eventually adopt to deliver IMAX sized images to the home. So what kind of domestic environment would accommodate an IMAX screen? Maybe that’s missing the point. Super-Hi-Vision seemed absurdly high resolution when first demonstrated at NAB and IBC back in 2006. Five years on, its 33 megapixel resolution is what any desktop computer user will be expect to be working with 10 to 15 years from now though not necessarily in 16:9 aspect ratio.