The BBC's Olympics boss Roger Mosey today announced that Super Hi-Vision coverage of the Olympics will be shown on three specialist screens during the 17-day Games, with the locations expected to be London, Bradford and Glasgow.
The initiative is part of a partnership with Japanese public service broadcaster NHK and the available content is expected to be highlights of the opening ceremony and some live coverage of events. The 600-inch screens (around 50 foot) capable of showing Super Hi-Vision are being specially produced in Japan.
The broadcast will not be beamed to homes as there are no TV sets in the UK that can support the 4320x7680 pixel signal, as current 'full HD' sets only display 1080x1920 pixels. The transmission will run at 60 frames per second, but Super Hi-Vision could operate at up to 120fps.
Last September, the BBC teamed up with NHK to broadcast a gig by The Charlatans in Super Hi-Vision between London and Tokyo, the corporation's first ever live transmission using the technology.
NHK has worked with the BBC to compress the massive video signals for Super Hi-Vision to 350Mbps using the JANET network, down from the usual transmission rate of 24Gbs.
The BBC believes that Super Hi-Vision could be a "better long-term prospect" than 3D, but that would depend on bringing down the currently massive cost of producing sets that can handle the signal, along with the heavy bandwidth requirements of the broadcasts. NHK expects to offer Super Hi-Vision to homes in Japan by 2022.
Over the years, the Olympics has proved a breeding ground for new broadcast technologies - from the first televised events at the 1948 Games to HD captures in Los Angeles in 1984 and 3D in Barcelona in 1992.
Alongside Super Hi-Vision, Mosey confirmed that the BBC has a "long-term aspiration" to broadcast live 3D coverage of London 2012, following the 3D transmission of this year's Wimbledon Finals.
He said that the BBC is aware that there is a "trade off" between serving the mainstream need for high definition coverage of the Games and the "minority" interest in 3D.
Only 140,000 people watched the 3D coverage of the men's Wimbledon final last month on the BBC HD channel, suggesting that the appetite for sport in 3D remains relatively small.
However, Mosey expects that the BBC will offer some 3D coverage of the Games next year, and further announcements are likely to come "by the end of the year".
The Olympics in London coincide with various momentous moments for Britain in 2012, including the Diamond Jubilee and the shift from analogue to digital TV signals in the capital.
For the London 2012 Games, the BBC has committed to broadcasting all the events "from first thing in the morning to last thing at night". This means bringing masses of content to four screens - TVs, connected TVs/Red Button, mobiles and tablet computers - to allow viewers to "watch what they want, when they want".
There will be 24 live streams during the Games showing a range of events online, to smartphones and tablet computers using a new carousel-style, video-rich website.