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Alibaba claims first 8K live stream via Internet

Chinese multinational e-commerce, retail, Internet, AI and technology conglomerate Alibaba claims to have streamed the world's first 8K live stream via the Internet.

In a statement, the company said its cloud-computing arm had used its own network to carry out a three-minute broadcast on 28 March from its headquarters in Hangzhou to its Cloud Computing Conference in Shenzhen, 1300 kilometres away.

The live stream delivered a definition of 33 million pixels per frame and a resolution of 7680 by 4320 pixels, double what is obtainable in a 4K stream. It is about 16 times that of a typical HD video.

The company said that while 8K broadcasts had been carried out before, they were done via satellite. Additionally, while Alibaba Cloud provided the network to deliver the 8K stream, separate 8K hardware, including both a camera and a display, was needed to achieve a successful broadcast.

It said it used proprietary software for video playback and live streaming, a dedicated live broadcast centre, high-speed video channels and elastic computing servers to provide end-to-end 8K streaming.

Uses for 8K technology range from gaming and entertainment to medicine. Japanese doctors are already using 8K instruments in some surgeries, while 8K live streaming is expected to enable doctors to conduct surgeries remotely.

“Alibaba Cloud’s 8K Internet live streaming heralds a new era for high-resolution video cloud solutions, just as 4K resolution did in 2013,” Zhaoyuan Zhu, head of Alibaba Cloud’s Content Delivery Network business, said.

“We will continue to develop our services to support these different applications,” Zhu said.


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Sam Varghese

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A professional journalist with decades of experience, Sam for nine years used DOS and then Windows, which led him to start experimenting with GNU/Linux in 1998. Since then he has written widely about the use of both free and open source software, and the people behind the code. His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.


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