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HDR for live sports

The next step to delivering a better pixelled UHD live picture is HDR, with outside broadcasters testing workflows to introduce it. At IBC, Technicolor claims to have cracked the problem.

“Pay-TV operators rely on premium movies and live sports and while Hollywood has proved it can make movies in HDR for cinema and the home, no-one is doing HDR for live sports – except us,” said Mark Turner VP, business development and relationships.

The firm is showing a live capture (of table football) at 4K p60 up-converted from standard dynamic range to HDR using Technicolor’s intelligent tone management (ITM) – the same algorithm used by Hollywood colorists and now running in realtime on a server.

The signal output is 1000 NIT P3 in a rec2020 container “which is a close proxy to the UHD Alliance open standard for UHD”, said Turner.

Importantly, the upscaled signal is routed through an Elemental encoder which spits out a single stream which can be received in HDR and SDR; for a broadcaster reaching the mass of households with plain old SDR screens this is a must.

“You can’t justify the cost of running two infrastructures so the distribution system needs to be combined. The cheapest way of implementing HDR live is for the mix to happen as normal with the final mix upscaled.”

To receive HDR viewers will need a STB or TV set fitted with Technicolor’s decoder. The company is talking with a number of vendors and that its own HDR-enabled STB is being tested by pay-TV operators such as BT Sport and Sky. 13.MS5