The UHD Alliance (UHDA), the inter-industry group charged with fostering an ecosystem that fully realises and promotes the consumer benefits of Ultra HD with HDR entertainment technology, has confirmed the completion of the ULTRA HD PREMIUM specifications for additional content delivery devices such as Streaming Media Players, set-top boxes and Desktop PCs. The expansion of the ULTRA HD PREMIUM family of certified products, which includes Ultra HD TVs, Computer Monitors and Ultra HD Blu-ray players, will offer consumers more ways to enjoy a premium UHD experience and open new pathways for the delivery of premium content to the rapidly growing global installed base of 4K Ultra HD displays.
“With 4K UHD TV shipments increasing by 42 per cent to 81 million in 2017, the one constant in a continually and rapidly changing content delivery environment is the consumer demand for a premium content experience regardless of the delivery platform,” noted UHD Alliance Chairman, Michael Zink. “To that end, whether they are viewing content delivered by a disc player, cable or satellite box, or a streaming media player, they can look for the ULTRA HD PREMIUM logo to identify products that deliver a premium experience in 4K UHD with HDR.”
“UHD Television shipments will increase from 12 million units in 2014, to more than 100 million units by 2018 worldwide,” noted Paul Gagnon, Director for TV Sets Research and Technology, Media & Telecom at IHS Markit. “We expect that continued growth in UHD source devices and UHD content will greatly contribute to the expected UHD TV growth.”
Beyond the expanded ULTRA HD PREMIUM certification programme, the Alliance also announced it is broadening its mission to include monitoring and maximising interoperability between product categories. The organisation has already conducted an initial review of interoperability issues raised by consumers to identify common trends with an eye toward providing consumer, retail and manufacturer education to help ensure consumers get the best UHD experience possible. Further, the group is augmenting its consumer education efforts to encompass the overall promotion of 4K UHD with HDR entertainment and the underlying technologies such as wide color spectrum and immersive audio.
“Our primary focus has been establishing ULTRA HD PREMIUM as the benchmark for excellence, and not only does it remain a core part of our mission, but we’re pleased that many companies are building their products to meet or exceed our specifications.” said UHDA President, Mike Fidler. “That said, a lot of technology is coming at consumers very quickly, and often disparately, making it hard for them decipher what each of these technologies mean. As such, we think it’s critical that the Alliance take a broader view of consumer education and to expand our efforts for the benefit of the entire category.”
As part of its broadened educational efforts, the Alliance will launch a new consumer facing website as well as a series of educational videos and a new retail/consumer brochure focusing on UHD technologies such as HDR, Wide Color Spectrum and other features. Additionally, the Alliance will continue to engage with individual manufacturers, leading industry organisations and retailers to help craft and disseminate uniform information to help consumers understand and identify products that deliver the best in 4K UHD with HDR performance.
For each of the new content delivery device categories to bear the ULTRA HD PREMIUM logo, the products must deliver the same performance requirements in 4K resolution, high dynamic range, colour spectrum and colour bit depth that were established for Ultra HD TV’s and Ultra HD Blu-ray players. The specifications and testing requirements have been completed and the Alliance anticipates product testing and licensing will begin in early autumn 2107.