Spain’s UHD future “already proved”
January 25, 2024
By Chris Forrester
Spain’s UHD Association held a briefing at the headquarters of the Spanish Confederation of Business Organisations (CEOE) in Madrid, on the pioneering test of UHD-HDR broadcasting and next-generation audio (NGA), using 5G technology at different points of the chain, carried out in October 2023.
The Association says that the event was “a milestone that opens the way to the future of these technologies and culminates the work of a whole year in which the association has been committed to 5G technology.”
The test aimed to assemble a UHD workflow with HDR-HLG from the camera to the user’s device, using various broadcast media and technologies such as 5G, edge and cloud processing, and all available broadcast media: DTT (DVB-T2), satellite (DVB-S2), Internet (OTT, HbbTV) and the new 5G Broadcast system, with simultaneous Dolby Atmos sound.
To develop the test, a live broadcast of a concert by singer Israel Fernández held at the Real Observatorio Astronómico de Madrid with the collaboration of Radio 3 was chosen, which could be viewed on TVs, PCs, tablets or mobile devices through the official website of UHD Spain and other broadcasting systems.
The general manager of SAPEC, Miguel Ángel Cristóbal, one of the promoters of this novel idea, has been in charge of presenting a meeting that has served to explain the challenge that UHD Spain sets every year. He commented: “This time we wanted to see the possibility of combining the acronyms UHD and 5G because we wanted to see how far we could go to make an end-to-end workflow”. This test has been “one of the first experiences in the world that has mixed all these technologies, from the camera to the television or any support in which to display it.”
Pere Vila, president of UHD Spain, and Eduardo Valencia, director of Electronic Industry of AMETIC, together with Alex Gara, from Radio 3, said the test in which “more than 20 different companies have collaborated” has allowed, in the words of Vila, “to achieve the goal of networking and learning together”.
“Thanks to the collaboration of UHD Spain we were able to enjoy a milestone in broadcasting. For us it is incredible to unite talent with the evolution of technology that allows us to reach our audience in a unique way and with the highest quality,” said Gara.
Production, in which the director Jorge Alonso, from RTVE supervise, said the system was pushed to its limits – but it worked. “We walked a long way over the precipice, but as a proof of concept, setbacks – such as the rain – cannot be prevented and in the end everything was solved,” Alonso recalled.
For his part, Carlos Chaparro, from TVU Networks, admitted that “4K consumes infinite resources”. Even so, Chaparro has assured that “cloud production is already there. It is not the future, it is the present. It allows us to reduce costs, although we have to learn key aspects. We have it here and we have demonstrated it.”
In short, a teamwork with which it has been found that “this workflow is feasible for UHD-HDR with NGA”, in which the “use of private 5G networks are a real solution” and in which “the efficiency and reliability of public IP networks and protocols for transporting video over public networks has been demonstrated”. However, there are still aspects to be improved, since “the process in the ‘cloud’ must be optimised and improved for UHD-HDR”.