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4EVER: Testing the UHD ‘wow’ factor

A big debate in technology vendor and pay TV operator circles is not whether to move to UHD TV but whether to skip phase one, which is based on resolution alone, and wait for a fuller fat version in phase 2.

This version, recently advocated by the EBU, includes provision for High Dynamic Range for better contrasts, high frame rates for improved clarity of motion; and wide colour gamut for, naturally, better colours. Consumers are more likely to buy new sets and subscribe to emergent 4K content services if they can better perceive the difference from HD.

French collaborative research group 4EVER (Enhanced Video ExpeRience) has conducted a number of experiments into UHD phase 2 and presents its findings here.

“All of the three demonstrations are new and shown from an objective point of view,” said Maryline Clare-Charrier, project leader. “We do not sell cameras, we do not sell displays. Phase 2 is so new that no broadcast cameras are capable of acquiring such content in realtime. And hardly any TVs are capable of displaying it.”

4EVER says its subjective evaluations show that UHD phase 1 by itself does allows a new improvement, but only up to 10 points on a scale of 100. “So we want to see how other dimensions than spatial resolution can help the quality of experience,” she added. These include no blur in motion, better contrast sensations to match reality (important in news or documentaries) and a wider gamut of colours “to reach what the human eye is capable of identifying.”

A further innovation from the group, which comprises France Télévisions, Globecast, Orange Labs and ATEME, is realtime decompression of HEVC HD at 100 frames per second and possibly up to 200fps. It can also lay claim to being the only, perhaps the first and only, booth at IBC gathering HDR, HFR and WCG demonstrations in one place.