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DVB approves ‘milestone’ UHD spec

The 84th meeting of the DVB Steering Board (SB) has approved the latest specification for Ultra High Definition Television, UHD-1 Phase 2. The industry consortium says the new specification is a major milestone for the industry, guaranteeing interoperability and enabling broadcasters and CE manufacturers to provide UHD-1 Phase 2 products and services. This could mean that the first DVB UHD-1 Phase 2 services, that include the new features, would be available from next year.

The specification covers various elements for the improvement of video and audio quality for broadcast TV services including High Dynamic Range (HDR) which significantly increases the contrast ratio and results in pictures with more ‘sparkle’. The DVB solution supports Hybrid Log Gamma (HLG) and PQ (Perceptual Quantizer). Furthermore, the new specification defines Higher Frame Rates (HFR), going beyond the current 50/60 Hz. HFR offers sharper images of moving objects. When it comes to audio, DVB has added the latest Next Generation Audio (NGA) schemes supporting object- or scene-based audio. These new features can be combined with HD and UHD resolutions. The specification will be published as BlueBook A157 and will be passed to ETSI for formal publication as TS 101 154 v2.3.1.

“Today’s approval of the specification is the result of enormous effort from the contributors, and further evidence of DVB’s leadership in the broadcast industry,” DVB Chairman Peter MacAvock. “DVB views the Phase 2 specification as a key enabler for exciting products and services.”

The specification was a massive team effort with over 30 companies and other interested parties participating through the DVB Commercial Module, the Technical Module and the Steering Board. It is estimated that some 36 online meetings and 14 physical meetings took place over the three years. This commitment by DVB Members bears testament to how standards bodies play an important role and emphasises the importance of getting consensus and wide approval for new standards.

David Wood, Chair of the DVB Commercial Module for UHDTV who oversaw much of the work on the specification, commented: “When they draw up the history of television, the agreement by the DVB Steering Board to the UHD-1 Phase 2 specification will surely be writ large. It marks the culmination of many years’ work by scores of DVB Member engineers, and is probably the tipping point for the new age of UHDTV.”

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