Home Analysis Ultra HD: What is it and when will we see it

Ultra HD: What is it and when will we see it

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The expectation from the TV and media industries is that UHD TV has the potential to provide a dramatically improved user experience – based on an extended color palette, increased dynamic range, better audio, and faster frame-rates, as well as greater resolution.

This Videonet webinar, hosted by the Ultra HD Forum, examined how these different elements can be phased in in an orderly manner, and analyse how the different players, from standards bodies to studios, and from TV set manufacturers to broadcasters, see their combined efforts leading to an immersive user experience which is predicted to be a step-change as radical as the transition from black-and-white to color TV.

Joining the panel will be top experts from across the UHD TV eco-system, including:

  • Ultra HD Forum board member David Price, who will explain the work he is carrying out in tandem with the UHD Alliance to co-ordinate and publicise industry efforts;
  • Ericsson’s Matthew Goldman, Senior Vice President Technology, TV Compression, who will update everyone on the current positions reached by standards bodies such as SMPTE, MPEG, DVB, and the CEA;
  • Skip Pizzi, Senior Director, New Media Technologies at the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), who will describe how North American terrestrial broadcasters are planning to incorporate UHD into the ATSC standard; and
  • Nandhu Nandhakumar, Senior Vice President at the LG Technology Center of America, who will discuss how the Consumer Electronics industry is working to meet the needs of consumers with respect to interoperability.
  • Andy King, Head of Technology, TV Productions, TV Technology, BBC Engineering

Their contributions will be followed by an extended Q&A moderated by Videonet Contributing Editor, Barry Flynn, who will be interrogating the panellists as well as fielding questions live from the audience.

A basic knowledge of TV production and distribution technologies is assumed.

Q&A from the webinar. During the debate, there will several important questions which the Ultra HD Forum have responded to.

1.       Will Ultra HD replace the existing 4K?

UltraHD in terms of resolution is equivalent to 4K and/or 8K. But UHDTV, is a new premium TV experience powered by a set of next-gen video & audio technologies that create the UHDTV signal and playback devices. On the video side, it is a combination of resolution (like 4K or beyond), plus things like HDR, WCG, 10/12 bit, BT2020, and Higher Frame rates. Some of these video features were not available until recently, but will become typical in premium display devices. On the audio side, it is immersive audio, dialog control, layout adaptability, and personalized/interactive audio experience enabled by object-based audio.  4K largely was a CE intiative, representing the first step in the industry in the march toward the UHDTV experience of the near future.

2.       Matthew referred to “Conformance Point” A (HDR & WCG) and B (HFR), can you please repeat the target roadmap?

Conformance Point A (HDR ) is for 2017-2018 system deployments. CP B (HFR) is for 2019-2020 system deployments. MG

3.       When do you believe the standards for HLG will be defined?

HLG is already standardized under ARIB B67. HDMI likely will include in version 2.1. What is not clear yet is the use of HLG in an end-to-end ecosystem. The ITU-R WP6C is currently looking at this. Hopefully the use of HLG will be resolved during 2016. MG

4.       Where do proprietary HDR specifications such as the likes of Dolby and Technicolor sit within the content space? Do they have a place?

The Ultra BD players support “enhanced” HDR  systems such as Dolby Vision and Technicolor. The baseline for both of these is the so called “HDR10 Media Profile” that we discussed on the call. These “enhanced” systems claim to create a better, more immersive viewing experience than that available using the HDR10 only. MG

5.       When will I be able to buy a TV set that will be compatible with everything you are talking about?

Starting the end of this year, but maturing in a few years out. Sets are already available from several manufacturers and content is available by network delivery.  UHD-BD titles have been announced for early 2016 and will delivery excellent picture quality.

6.       My question is whether a TV which is capable of (arbitrarily) 1000 nits maximum brightness and minimum 100 nits but the content is (again arbitrarily) only produced for 600 to 200 nits. Would a TV be able to effectively upscale that to the 1000 to 100?

Yes, each programme will be produced with a min and max range (say 0.01 nits to 1000 nits. A display likely will give some flexibility to display exactly as the artists intended — but it could also be “upscaled” to expand the dynamic range. One has to be careful, however, because (as noted on the call) it’s not about making everything brighter — it’s about making small areas have more contrast (specular light reflections, for example).

7.       Higher frame rate = variable frame rate?

Higher frame rates (greater than today’s conventional 50 or 60 fps) enable the capture of more realistic detail in high motion video, such as sports and some nature content. HFRs being considered for UHD-1 Phase 2 are 100 and 120 fps. HFR is independent of the concept of variable frame rates, which would be more of a delivery mechanism to save bandwidth. MG
8.

9.       Higher frame rate = variable frame rate?

Higher frame rates (greater than today???s conventional 50 or 60 fps) enable the capture of more realistic detail in high motion video, such as sports and some nature content. HFRs being considered for UHD-1 Phase 2 are 100 and 120 fps. HFR is independent of the concept of variable frame rates, which would be more of a delivery mechanism to save bandwidth. MG


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