NHK has unveiled the prototype of its new Super Hi-Vision (SHV) camera.

The device is similar in size and weight to current high definition cameras, but delivers images which are 16 times clearer than HD.

“The launch of this innovative, compact and practical new camera design represents a significant step forward towards our aim of marking SHV a viable television format,” said NHK executive director general for engineering Keiichi Kubota.

“Now that we have developed a camera and projectors and screens, the next challenge is to develop compression technology so rich images can be sent around the world via satellite and fibre optic.”

The SHV camera head, which weighs 4kg, has a 33 megapixel head and uses a single-plate colour imaging mechanism, which relies on single-chip sensors to obtain a colour image.

NHK said the single-plate colour image mechanism’s Bayer filter array means each pixel is filtered to only one of the three red-green-blue colour intensities, with the missing colours interpolated to provide the full colour image.

To accompany the dramatically clearer pictures NHK is also developing a 22.2 surround sound system which uses a smaller number of speakers.

The Japanese broadcaster said it hoped that domestic trials of SHV would begin by 2016.

NHK is trialling SHV with the BBC, with the London Olympics providing material for the latest round of viewings and demonstrations of the technology.

The BBC has not been involved in the development of the camera, but its R&D team also took part in transmission tests in 2008 and 2010.

A spokesman for the broadcaster said no decision had yet been made on how it would use the technology.