NHK 8K TICO Codec

Posted by Charbax – June 18, 2020

TICO codec for 8K ultrahigh-definition TV (8K-UHDTV). The bitrate of an 8K uncompressed stream can reach 48 Gb/s (59.94 Hz, 10 bits, 4:2:2), and interfaces consisting of 16 bundled 3G-SDI cables have been used for its transmission. However, increasing the cable count can sometimes complicate the wiring-up of production systems. The novel developed codec works at a compression rate of 1/4, and the resulting 8K code stream can be transmitted with a single 12G-SDI cable. Not only is TICO well known for its visually lossless video quality and very low latency, but is also characterized by a quality degradation that is almost independent of the number of successive encoding/decoding operations, which makes it suitable for production systems. The benefits of decreasing the cable count are exponential. We estimate that, when compared to systems of a comparable scale based on uncompressed 3G-SDIs, the use of the proposed codec will reduce the cable count to less than 1/5, and the number of cross-points in the matrix switcher to less than 1/200. Although in this study 12G-SDIs—which have become internationally available—have been adopted, 8K-TICO is fit to be used with IP interfaces, an option that may become mainstream when the problems of interoperability between different formats are overcome, or when unified standards emerge. In this paper, we will discuss the specifications and image quality of the developed codec, and present a plan for 8K-UHDTV production systems. We will also discuss the expected emergence of an adequate IP interface, a technology which has the potential to become mainstream in the future.