EBU: U-HDTV coming into focus

Last week an EBU-sponsored meeting took place in London under its umbrella ‘Beyond HD’ programme.  “Combining the professional forces of the EBU and the DVB project helped to draw all major players to the workshop, which was held at Dolby’s London premises to allow a number of companies that are active in DVB and BeyondHD, including the BBC, to offer key demonstrations,” to interested parties, says the EBU.

One of the key topics discussed was that of frame rate, that is the image refresh rate which is considered optimum for Ultra-HD transmissions in 4K.

“The higher the frame rate, the more realistic the picture, particularly for sports; but equally, the more complex the technology in the TV set, the more costly it becomes. This is one of several tricky trade-offs to be made between viewing experience quality and the likely cost of televisions. Others include the dynamic range of the image, colours and audio system.

Thanking Dolby for providing the venue, EBU Head of Media Fundamentals and Production Technologies Hans Hoffmann said: “We knew we couldn’t resolve all the issues in one conference, but we now have a much better understanding of what needs to be done and the time it will take.”

He added: “Most broadcasters have not yet made firm plans for broadcasting U-HDTV; many are still investing in the transition to HD. But they can rest assured that when the time comes the system will have been carefully chosen through this week’s meeting and the development work of the EBU, with partners such as DVB, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE).”

Under the EBU’s action plan the next events will be a July 2nd meeting of the national HD Forums, in Geneva, under the Forum for Advanced Media in Europe (FAME) umbrella. A further EBU workshop, tentatively scheduled for 26th – 28th November, will offer a further opportunity to examine any new findings and align the industry, service providers and broadcasters.

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