Ultra HD Forum tracks 150 commercial UHD services
April 16, 2020
By Colin Mann
In what would have been the week of Ultra HD Forum’s fifth NAB, the non-profit UHD advocate has shared some encouraging findings from its all-new UHD Service Tracker. The Forum is also releasing V2.3 of its Guidelines, which have become an essential resource for UHD purveyors and observers alike.
Now tracking 150 commercial consumer-facing Ultra HD television services worldwide, this online resource collates information from three billion subscriptions worldwide. 300 million of these have access to UHD.
The Forum’s latest data shows that three-quarters of the world’s UHD services are predominantly linear, serving over 125 million viewers. The other quarter of VoD-based UHD services serve 180 million viewers. According to the Forum, half of all the UHD services now offer HDR, while almost a quarter include some form of Next Generation Audio.
Since its inception in 2015, the Ultra HD Forum has published free Guidelines for the UHD community. The Guidelines use the concept of a ‘foundation layer’ of readily available mature technologies, and an ‘enhancement layer’ including newer, more leading-edge technologies. Throughout five years of Guidelines development, more than 35 member companies have contributed to the effort.
Many updates and new details on UHD, such as elements of the SMPTE ST2110 and ATSC 3.0 standards and the South American roadmap to UHD are included.
Future versions of the Guidelines will continue to add features and address pressing issues still requiring further documentation, such as the OTT distribution of HDR with live services.
With respect to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the Ultra HD Forum is keen to point out that technologies in its Guidelines such as Content Aware Encoding (CAE) can help companies through this global crisis by drastically lowering required bitrates.