HEVC is DNA of 4K
Sky Deutschland, along with a panel of experts, showed its 4K test material to a packed room of delegates at IBC, with Stephan Heimbecher, the broadcaster’s head of innovations & standards, suggesting that 50/60 fps was a minimum for sports coverage in 4K.
Tom Cosgrove, president/CEO of 3net Studios, showcased ‘Space’ a CGI production now being wrapped in 3D, 4K and eventually for IMAX release. “We have 20 hours of 4K production underway. We might argue that we are at the beginning of the production chain, but we are also at the end and what each of us has to remember is to ask whether the viewer is having a good experience in the home. Our goal is to provide that top-notch experience and help drive the sector.”
Harmonic’s Ian Trow (senior director/emerging technology) said that while there had always been a drive to improve resolution and that cinema resolution at 24 fps had more than satisfied cinematographers and audiences, and attempts to push that to 48 fps left some audiences unhappy. “The real litmus test for us all is whether 4K migrates from the very high-end ‘man cave’, where the biggest and best might dominate, and into the mass-market living room and that move depends on more than pixels, but frame-rate, bit-depth, colour imagery and so that we can genuinely manage rapid motion.”
Thomas Wrede, VP/reception systems at SES, while recognising that there was still much to do, also argued passionately for urgent progress to be made on a branding campaign for retailing 4K displays in order not to confuse or disappoint the buying public. “We at SES love innovation, are already showing 4K on satellite. We must all support HEVC which I believe is the absolute DNA of 4K because this allows high-quality transmission within 20 Mb/s of transponder space. We all recognise that satellite is the natural first step for 4K. But as an industry we must ensure that UHD is a true improvement in the TV experience. We must work beyond just the addition of pixels.”