Japan is showing off its lead in a new generation of television technology this week, beaming a national high school baseball tournament to viewers in cinema-quality "high-definition" images.
For an hour a day during the 10-day tournament, Japan's public television network, NHK, is broadcasting via satellite the wider, crystal-clear pictures with sound quality similar to that of compact discs.Millions of Japanese were expected to watch the tournament, but only viewers watching on a few hundred specially equipped sets will see the sharper images.
"Because of the extra screen width, a broadcast of a baseball game can show the pitcher winding up to throw to a batter and runners on first and third base, all in the same picture," said Sosuke Yasuma, director of high-definition TV programs for NHK. "TV cameramen will need to relearn how to compose their pictures."
The technology creates its sharper images by using twice as many horizontal lines and five times as much "information" as current Tv.
Industry officials say the technology, known as HDTV, will revolutionize other industries such as printing, graphic design and movie-making.
Some parts of the Olympic Games in Seoul, South Korea, were broadcast on HDTV last fall. But this week's broadcast represents the beginning of regular programming.