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UHD Alliance sets standards for 4K

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As of now, the industry has been slowly moving towards higher resolution acquisition in the form of 4K, that process of transitioning was handed a significant boost (theoretically speaking) with UHD Alliance setting down the parameters for standardization of 4K capture, mastering and broadcast in UHD or Ultra-HD.

For those who don’t know, 4K comes in 2 flavours depending on where it would finally be shown-

1. 4K DCI- 4K for cinema is denoted with DCI (Digital Camera Initiatives) in the suffix. It’s parameters are set down by a major motion picture studios such as MGM, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures etc. It differs mainly in aspect ratio (of 17:9 as compared to 16:9) to allow for anamorphic lenses and 3D capture and in its colour bit depth of 12bit.

2. 4K UHD- 4K for television and broadcast is termed as UHD or Ultra HD. Its is also called 2160p and has an aspect ratio of 16:9.

Till now, parameters for UHD have remained, just that much, till now. UHD alliance, an intra-industry organisation, aims to standardise the Ultra HD ecosystem with its new specifications. The alliance has many companies on board in many different capacities including camera manufacturers such as Sony and ARRI and even distribution companies such as Netflix and Amazon. (See the full list below in the press release)

This step has been keeping in mind that the group has estimated that the Ultra HD market will grow to around eight times its current size by 2019 and wants to lay the ground work for building an efficient eco system.

The group has also unveiled a logo to identify devices capable of displaying Ultra HD content.

UHD Alliance_LOGO_Horiz

In the same way that the standardisation of HD with a resolution of 1920×1080 at a colour sub sampling of 4.2.2. recorded at a minimum bit rate of 50mbps changed the entire ecosystem of High Definition, these new specifications affect all stages of 4K UHD production, from acquisition, to mastering and broadcast as well as all devices from professional cameras to consumer TV and even mobile phones.

In order for a device to receive the UHD Alliance premium logo, the device must meet various minimum requirements:

– Colour bit depth: 10-bit
– Colour palette of REC. 2020/BT.2020 (wide colour gamut)
– Display reproduction: more than 90 per cent of P3 colours
– High dynamic range
– SMPTE ST2084 EOTF
– A combination of peak brightness and black level either more than 1,000 nits peak brightness and less than 0.05 nits black level, or more than 540 nits peak brightness and less than 0.0005 nits black level

Content master and distribution channels must support:

– Image resolution: 3840×2160 pixels
– Colour bit depth: minimum 10-bit
– Colour space: BT.2020/REC.2020 colour representation
– High dynamic range: SMPTE ST2084 EOTF

The most crucial specification from this is ofcourse the bit-depth of 10 bit as most of the popular compact 4K cameras have a bit depth of 8bit be it the smaller Sony a7 series or even bigger cameras such as the FS5. 10 bit colour is not found until you switch to a camera with a much bigger form factor such as the FS7 or the C300mk2 from Canon.

Now this does imply better, more colour accurate cameras in the future for sure, however these changes are not expected to made quite to quickly or rapidly in much the same way it happened with HD. BBC and SMPTE locked down the specifications for HD but it took a long time for those complete specifications to show up in cameras. (Please also see our chat with Philip Bloom where we discuss all these transitions that the industry is slowly making towards 4K)

 

 

Read the entire 4K alliance press release below-

LAS VEGAS–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Enjoying a premium, full-featured Ultra High Definition in-home experience has been simplified for consumers as the UHD Alliance (UHDA), the inter-industry group charged with fostering the Ultra HD ecosystem and promoting the benefits of Ultra HD entertainment technology, today unveiled a consumer-facing logo to identify devices, content and services capable of delivering a premium experience to an exploding Ultra HD market that is expected to grow eightfold by 2019. The UHDA also announced the start of licensing of its ULTRA HD PREMIUM logo.

Developed through the collaborative efforts of leading film studios, consumer electronics manufacturers, content distributors and technology companies, the Ultra HD Premium specifications reflect collective expertise from across the Ultra HD ecosystem, as well as significant input gleaned from experiential consumer testing.

The UHDA’s ULTRA HD PREMIUM logo is reserved for products and services that comply with performance metrics for resolution, high dynamic range (HDR), peak luminance, black levels and wide color gamut among others. The specifications also make recommendations for immersive audio and other features. These advances in resolution, contrast, brightness, color and audio will enable certified displays and content to replicate the richness of life’s sights and sounds and allow in-home viewers to more fully and accurately experience the content creator’s vision.

“The diverse group of UHDA companies agreed that to realize the full potential of Ultra HD the specs need to go beyond resolution and address enhancements like HDR, expanded color and ultimately even immersive audio. Consumer testing confirmed this,” said UHD Alliance President Hanno Basse. “The criteria established by this broad cross section of the Ultra HD ecosystem enables the delivery of a revolutionary in-home experience, and the ULTRA HD PREMIUM logo gives consumers a single, identifying mark to seek out so they can purchase with confidence.”

To ensure products bearing the ULTRA HD PREMIUM logo are certified and conform to the organization’s specifications, the UHDA has designated multiple, independent centers around the globe to handle testing. Companies throughout the ecosystem will work directly with these centers to have their products tested and certified.

The UHDA’s new ULTRA HD PREMIUM specifications cover multiple display technologies and reference established industry standards and recommended practices from the Consumer Technology Association, the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers, the International Telecommunications Union and others.

“Ever-rising consumer adoption of Ultra HD TV sets will fuel strong growth for the entire Ultra HD ecosystem over the next few years,” noted Paul Erickson, senior analyst at IHS Technology. “Annual worldwide shipments of Ultra HD TVs are expected to grow nearly 719% over the next several years according to IHS’ forecasts, from nearly 12 million in 2014 to nearly 96 million in 2019, with over 300 million in use by the end of 2019. For the many mainstream consumers looking to make sense of the various terminologies, acronyms and feature descriptions at retail, standardization efforts such as the UHDA’s “ULTRA HD PREMIUM” can reduce consumer confusion and help ensure consistency of both buyer expectations and the delivery of the end experience – benefiting not only consumers, but also the industry as a whole.”

Founded in January, 2015, the UHDA, has grown to more than 35 companies in two membership categories – Board and Contributor. In 2016, the UHDA will add a third member category, Adopter, for those who wish to license the Ultra HD Premium specifications. Collectively, the UHDA member companies will continue to lead the charge into this new era of home entertainment through advances in resolution, brightness, contrast, dynamic range, color and audio.

Companies interested in the UHDA specification and the associated licensing terms can obtain the UHDA Information Agreement and/or licensing terms by going through:http://www.uhdalliance.org/contact-us/.

ABOUT THE UHD ALLIANCE:

The UHD Alliance (UHDA), comprising more than 35 member companies, is a global coalition of leading film studios, consumer electronics manufacturers, content distributors and technology companies aligned to foster the creation of an ecosystem that fully realizes and promotes the next generation premium in-home entertainment platform. Key characteristics of a robust next generation experience should offer 4K resolution as well as a mix of other features that include high dynamic range, wide color gamut, high frame rate and immersive audio, among other features. UHDA Board members are executives from: The DIRECTV Group Inc, Dolby Laboratories, LG Electronics, Netflix, Panasonic Corporation, Samsung Electronics, Sony Corporation, Technicolor, The Walt Disney Studios, Twentieth Century Fox, Universal Pictures and Warner Bros. Entertainment. To learn more about the UHD Alliance, please visit: www.uhdalliance.org

“ULTRA HD PREMIUM” Logo
“ULTRA HD PREMIUM” logo is trademark of the UHD Alliance, Inc.

UHD Alliance Technical Specifications Overview

The UHD Alliance has developed three specifications to support the next-generation premium home entertainment experience. The three specifications cover the entertainment ecosystem in the following categories:

  • Devices (currently, television displays, with other devices under consideration)
  • Distribution
  • Content

A high level overview of each technical specification can be found below. Please join the UHD Alliance for full access to all technical and test specifications.

Devices

The UHD Alliance supports various display technologies and consequently, have defined combinations of parameters to ensure a premium experience across a wide range of devices. In order to receive the UHD Alliance Premium Logo, the device must meet or exceed the following specifications:

  • Image Resolution: 3840×2160
  • Color Bit Depth: 10-bit signal
  • Color Palette (Wide Color Gamut)
    • Signal Input: BT.2020 color representation
    • Display Reproduction: More than 90% of P3 colors
  • High Dynamic Range
    • SMPTE ST2084 EOTF
    • A combination of peak brightness and black level either:
      • More than 1000 nits peak brightness and less than 0.05 nits black levelOR
      • More than 540 nits peak brightness and less than 0.0005 nits black level

Distribution

Any distribution channel delivering the UHD Alliance content must support

  • Image Resolution: 3840×2160
  • Color Bit Depth: Minimum 10-bit signal
  • Color: BT.2020 color representation
  • High Dynamic Range: SMPTE ST2084 EOTF

Content Master

  • The UHD Alliance Content Master must meet the following requirements:
  • Image Resolution: 3840×2160
  • Color Bit Depth: Minimum 10-bit signal
  • Color: BT.2020 color representation
  • High Dynamic Range: SMPTE ST2084 EOTF

The UHD Alliance recommends the following mastering display specifications:

  • Display Reproduction: Minimum 100% of P3 colors
  • Peak Brightness: More than 1000 nits
  • Black Level: Less than 0.03 nits

The UHD Alliance technical specifications prioritize image quality and recommend support for next-generation audio.

UHDA Member Companies

Company Membership Level
The DIRECTV Group, Inc. Board Member Company
Dolby Laboratories, Inc. Board Member Company
LG Electronics Board Member Company
Netflix, Inc. Board Member Company
Panasonic Corporation Board Member Company
Samsung Electronics Corporation Board Member Company
Sony Corporation Board Member Company
Technicolor Board Member Company
The Walt Disney Studios Board Member Company
Twentieth Century Fox Board Member Company
Universal Pictures Board Member Company
Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. Board Member Company
Amazon.com Contributor
ARRI, Inc. Contributor
Dreamworks Contributor
DTS Contributor
Fraunhofer Gesellschaft Contributor
Hisense Contributor
HiSilicon Technologies Contributor
Intel Corporation Contributor
Koninklijke Philips N.V. Contributor
MStar Semiconductor, Inc. Contributor
Nanosys Inc. Contributor
Novatek Contributor
NVIDIA Contributor
Orange Contributor
Realtek Semiconductor Corp. Contributor
Rogers Communications Contributor
Sharp Corporation Contributor
Shenzhen TCL New Technology Co., Ltd. Contributor
Sky UK Ltd Contributor
THX Ltd Contributor
Toshiba Lifestyle Products & Services Corporation Contributor
TP Vision Europe B.V. Contributor

 


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