The Ultra HD Forum has refreshed its website to better reflect its activities during this time of constrained in-person interactions. Version 2.4 of the Forum’s Guidelines includes more material on live OTT distribution of UHD. The Forum’s online UHD service tracker has received a significant upgrade, including new prominence given to Next Generation Audio (NGA). And the Forum plans to issue its first Watermarking API before the end of this year.
The Ultra HD Forum has published free Guidelines for the UHD community since 2016. The Guidelines have been a source of useful information as the television industry has launched and incrementally enhanced UHD services. The document presents 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 Forum member companies have contributed to the effort.
Version 2.4 includes many minor updates, but also some substantial additions, such as:
New UHD Service Tracker
Now tracking 190 commercial consumer-facing and B2B Ultra HD television service offerings, this online resource collates selected information from over three billion user subscriptions worldwide and presents it to the public on the Forum’s website.
According to Benjamin Schwarz, who maintains the Tracker for the Forum, “UHD service launches have continued to accelerate since 2013 when YouTube first streamed 4K publicly. Despite the COVID-related slowdown, growth this year is already at double digits again.”
Within the Forum’s Service Tracker, audio offerings can now be categorised as stereo, surround, immersive, or personalized/NGA. The Tracker also lists the audio codec(s) used by a service, whenever possible, including both “legacy” and NGA technologies.
Additionally, the Ultra HD Forum announces that it will release its Watermarking API for Encoder Integration before the end of 2020.
Laurent Piron from Nagra, who chairs the Forum’s Security Group, said, “The generic C-language API enables the interfacing of a transcoder and a watermark pre-processor (WMP). The API generates so-called A/B variants for Adaptive Bitrate content for both baseband and compressed forensic watermarking technologies.” He added, “We’re excited to provide a vendor-agnostic API that will facilitate the distribution of premium UHD content, which is one of our main missions at the Forum.”