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2014年9月 8日 (月)

次世代テレビ 無理せずに普及を進めよう

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Spread of next-generation TV services should be encouraged, but not hastily
次世代テレビ 無理せずに普及を進めよう

What should be done to help spread next-generation, ultrahigh-definition TV broadcasts? The introduction of the new broadcasting services should be undertaken steadily, but in no particular hurry, by taking into full account the needs of viewers and the costs necessary for the introduction of the emerging formats.
 次世代の高画質テレビをどう普及させるか。視聴者のニーズやコストを勘案し、無理のない導入を図るべきだ。

There are two next-generation TV video formats: 4K, in which images are four times as detailed and sharp as the current full high-definition TVs, and 8K, offering 16 times the current levels. Of the two, 4K programming has been broadcast on a trial basis on CS (communications satellite) channels since June.
 次世代テレビには、現行のフルハイビジョン映像より4倍きめ細かい「4K」と、16倍の「8K」の2規格がある。このうち4Kは、CS放送で今年6月から試験放送が始まっている。

Broadcasting of 4K and 8K programming on BS (broadcasting satellite) channels, which have considerably more viewers than CS channels, was scheduled to start in 2020. The Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry, however, has just made a major change in policy, bringing forward the schedule significantly, with 4K and 8K experimental broadcasts on BS to start in 2016, paving the way for full-scale broadcasting of both in 2018.
 CS放送より視聴者の多いBS放送は、2020年に4Kと8Kの放送を開始する予定だった。総務省は計画を大幅に前倒しして、16年に試験放送、18年には本放送を始める方針に切り替えた。

The ministry’s policy change is apparently aimed at spurring demand for ultrahigh-definition TV receivers prior to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, with a view to helping spread next-generation TVs.
 20年の東京五輪・パラリンピック前に需要を喚起し、普及に弾みをつける狙いだろう。

This may encourage Japan’s electronics makers to enhance their imaging technology so they can regain international competitiveness in TV production, which was once referred to as this country’s specialty in the global market.
 日本メーカーが映像技術をさらに磨き、かつてお家芸と言われたテレビで国際競争力を復活させるチャンスでもある。

No 4K or 8K broadcasts, however, are planned for terrestrial digital television channels because of the congestion of wave frequencies. Broadcasting under the current format will continue for both CS and BS channels, according to the communications ministry.
 ただ、地上波テレビは電波に余裕がなく、4Kと8Kを放送する予定はない。CSとBSも現行規格の放送は継続するという。

The ministry says it will not press viewers to replace their TVs if they prefer not to view ultrahigh-definition TV broadcasts.
 総務省は、より高画質な放送を希望しない視聴者に、テレビの買い替えなどの負担を強いることはしないと説明している。

Many challenges remain

On the other hand, the ministry has come out with a bullish projection that the penetration rate of 4K TVs, which accounted for 2 percent of the nation’s households in 2013, will likely shoot up to more than 50 percent in 2020. There are, however, many challenges that must be resolved before the projected spread of higher-definition TVs.
 一方で、13年に2%だった4Kテレビの世帯普及率が、20年に50%を超えるとする強気の予測も示している。だが、見込み通りに普及を進めるには課題も多い。

The actual ultrahigh-resolution images on 4K TVs will not be easily discerned unless a TV has a screen size of 50 inches or larger. And many people are sure to be satisfied with their current high-definition TVs.
 4Kの映像は、50型以上の大型の画面で見ないと、持ち味の鮮明さを実感しにくい。現在のハイビジョンで十分満足、という人も少なくないだろう。

The prices of 4K TVs are currently around ¥400,000 for a 55-inch model, more than double that for the current flat-screen TVs. To receive 4K broadcasts, users would have to purchase a tuner sold separately, which costs about ¥100,000. It is a moot question whether the advantages of possessing a 4K TV can offset the expense.
 4Kテレビは現在、55型で40万円程度と現行の薄型テレビの2倍以上と割高だ。受信するには10万円程度の別売りチューナーも必要となる。コストに見合う魅力があるかどうかが問われる。

The key to resolving this is whether TV broadcasters can successfully boost the quality of their software services, such as creating programs using images available only with the ultrahigh-definition format.
 超高画質ならではの映像を生かした番組など、ソフトを充実できるかどうかがカギとなる。

For broadcasters, the costs of producing programs are likely to swell more than 1.5 times as ultrahigh-quality cameras and high-resolution image processing will be needed for 4K broadcasting.
 高機能カメラの導入や高画質の映像処理のコストがかさみ、番組制作費は従来の1・5倍以上かかると言われる。

Given that broadcasters made colossal investments at the time of the changeover to terrestrial digital broadcasting, the additional costs of 4K broadcasts will be a heavy burden for them.
 地上デジタル放送への移行時に巨額の投資をしたテレビ業界にとっては、重い負担となろう。

Another problem is that there has been no decision on which broadcast format, 4K or 8K, will be the mainstream one.
 次世代テレビの主流が4Kと8Kのどちらになるのか、現時点ではっきりしない点も問題だ。

There is a possibility that TV broadcasters will find it inevitable to double their investment in preparation for both 4K and 8K broadcast services. It is also feared that some people, consequently, may become disgruntled to find it necessary to frequently buy new TVs.
 放送各社は二重投資を迫られる可能性がある。結果的にテレビなどを頻繁に買い替え、不満を抱く人も出てくるのではないか。

The government should waste no time in working out details of its ultrahigh-definition TV introduction plans and give clear-cut explanations to the businesses concerned and viewers.
 政府は、導入計画の詳細について詰めを急ぎ、業界や視聴者に丁寧に説明する必要がある。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 7, 2014)Speech

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