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HDR Vivid: What is it, and why should the media tech industry care?

TVBEurope investigates the new standard which has recently been released in China

Earlier this month, the China Ultra HD Video Alliance (CUVA) released the official specification documents for its HDR Vivid standard, which offers 40 times higher brightness than traditional standard dynamic range.

Developed to a large extent by Hauwei, the new standard builds on the foundations used by HDR video formats in the rest of the world, namely the Perceptual Quantiser and Hybrid Log Gamma formats.

What does this new format mean for both technology vendors and content producers? According to industry analyst Yoeri Geutskens, it probably won’t require dedicated new silicon but instead vendors may need to make adaptations to their software.

For content producers, HDR Vivid means they will need software tools that support the new format, but the way of working will not be different from other HDR formats. It will just be another option to choose in the workflow,” he tells TVBEurope.

However, Geutskens warns that the whole chain will need to adapt: “Perhaps not camera manufacturers, because metadata (static or dynamic) is simply not used in this part of the production chain, but grading and editing tools, encoders, decoders, playback equipment including set-top boxes, dongles, smartphones, tablets, TV sets, all that.”

While the format may not reach viewers on European shores, it may impact technology vendors who want to sell products in China. “It’s meant to throw up another barrier to keep the markets separated, to make it more difficult for foreign companies to access and compete in the Chinese market,” says Geutskens.

So, while HDR Vivid’s biggest impact may be in China, there are other standards on the horizon that could have an impact on the European market. “Dolby Vision profile 8.4 is based on HLG, the HDR format developed by BBC and NHK. Dolby embraces it by adopting it into their Dolby Vision tool kit and adding some proprietary sauce (in the form of dynamic metadata). This is the HDR format that the iPhone 12 can shoot video in. Apple TV 4K doesn’t support it yet but that’ll likely come in the next major tvOS update, I expect.”