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HDR: UHD’s wow factor

Technology companies are this week showcasing how high-dynamic-range (HDR) content can be added to UHD broadcasting to bring what many believe is the missing ‘wow’ factor for the second generation (phase 2) of UHD services.

HDR is a new standard for the contrast between the lighter and darker colours on a digital display screen like a TV. Some in the industry regard it as more important than enhancements in resolution like 4K.

Thomson Video Networks is demonstrating the encoding of a live UHD TV signal to distribute HDR content. At IBC it is showing two examples of its technology using proprietary services from Dolby and Technicolor.

The ViBE 4K realtime compression solution for UHD enables media enterprises to make use of HEVC to provide a better video experience to consumers through live compression of UHD sources at up to 60fps and in 10-bit colour. ViBE 4K with HDR support will be commercially available in early 2016.

Eric Gallier, VP marketing at Thomson Video Networks, said the goal is to make the same leap from HD to UHD that was achieved with the move from SD to HD.

Gallier noted that both the EBU and Japanese standards authorities will soon begin requiring HDR for UHD broadcasts, adding that the first HDR-compatible TV sets are already on the market. He expects the standardisation process to start in 2016, also raising the possibility that the industry could end up with two standards for UHD with HDR.

Stand 14.A10