Video: UHD – commercial success or work in progress?

Where is UHD? Whilst the move to HD for US primetime slots happened very quickly, HD had actually taken many years to gain a hold on the market. Now, though SD services are still numerous, top tier channels all target HD and in terms of production, SD doesn’t really exist. Is UHD successfully building the momentum needed to dominate the market in the way that HD does or are there blockers? Is there the will but not the bandwidth? Can we show that UHD makes financial sense for a business? This video from the DVB Project and UltraHD Forum answers these questions.

Ian Nock takes the mic first and explains the UltraHD Forum’s role in the industry ahead of introducing Dolby’s Jason Power. Ian explains that the UltraHD Forum isn open organisation focused on all aspects of Ultra High Definition including HDR, Wide Colour Gamut (WCG), Next Generation Audio (NGA) and High Frame Rate (HFR). Jason Power is the chair of the DVB Commercial Module AVC. See starts by underlining the UHD-1 Phase 1 and Phase 2 specifications. Phase 1 defines the higher resolution and colour gamut, but phase 2 delivers higher frame rate, better audio and HDR. DVB works to produce standards that define how these can be used and the majority of UHD services available are DVB compliant.

On the topic of available services, Ben Schwarz takes the stand next to introduce the UltraHD Forum’s ‘Service Tracker‘ which tracks the UHD services available to the public around the world. Ben underlines there’s been a tripling of services available between 2018 to 2020. It allows you to order by country, look at resolution (from 2K to 8L) and more. Ben gives a demo and explains the future plans.

Paul Bray focusses on the global television set business. He starts looking at how the US and Europe have caught up with China in terms of shipments but the trend of buying a TV set – on average – an inch larger than the year before, shows little sign of abating. A positive for the industry, in light of Covid-19, is that the market is not predicted to shrink. Rather, the growth that was expected will be stunted. The US replaces TVs more often than other countries, so the share of TVs there which are UHD is higher than anywhere else. Europe still has a large proportion of people who are happy with 32″ TVs due to the size and HD is perfectly ok for them. Paul shows a great graph which shows the UHD Penetration of each market against the number of UHD services available. We see that Europe is notably in the lead and that China barely has any UHD services at all. Though it should be noted that Omdia are counting linear services only.

Graph showing UHD Penetration per geographical market Vs. Number of Linear UHD services in that Market

Graph showing UHD Penetration per geographical market Vs. Number of Linear UHD services.
Graph and Information ©Omdia

The next part of the video is a 40-minute Q&A which includes Virginie Drugeon who explains her work in defining the dynamic metadata that is sent to the receiver so that it can correctly adapt the picture, particularly for HDR, to the display itself. The Q&A covers the impacts of Covid-19, recording formats for delivery to broadcasters, bitrates on satellite, the UltraHD Forum’s foundational guidelines, new codecs within DVB, high frame rate content and many other topics.

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Speakers

Jason Power Jason Power
Chair of the DVB Commercial Module AVC Working Group
Commercial Partnerships and Standards, Dolby Laboratories
Ben Schwarz Ben Schwarz
Chair of Ultra HD Forum Communication Working Group
Paul Gray Paul Gray
Research Director,
Omdia
Virginie Drugeon Virginie Drugeon
Senior Engineer, Digital Standardisation,
Panasonic
Ian Nock Moderator:Ian Nock
Chair of the Interoperability Working Group of the Ultra HD Forum
Principal Consultant & Founder, Fairmile West

Video: Extension to 4K resolution of a Parametric Model for Perceptual Video Quality

Measuring video quality automatically is invaluable and, for many uses, essential. But as video evolves with higher frame rates, HDR, a wider colour gamut (WCG) and higher resolutions, we need to make sure the automatic evaluations evolve too. Called ‘Objective Metrics’, these computer-based assessments go by the name of PSNR, DMOS, VMAF and others. One use for these metrics is to automatically analyse an encoded video to determine if it looks good enough and should be re-encoded. This allows for the bitrate to be optimised for quality. Rafael Sotelo, from the Universidad de Montevideo, explains how his university helped work on an update to Predicted MOS to do just this.

MOS is the Mean Opinion Score and is a result derived from a group of people watching some content in a controlled environment. They vote to say how they feel about the content and the data, when combined gives an indication of the quality of the video. The trick is to enable a computer to predict what people will say. Rafael explains how this is done looking at some of the maths behind the predicted score.

In order to test any ‘upgrades’ to the objective metric, you need to test it against people’s actual score. So Rafael explains how he set up his viewing environments in both Uruguay and Italy to be compliant with BT.500. BT.500 is a standard which explains how a room should be in order to have viewing conditions which maximise the ability of the viewers to appreciate the pros and cons of the content. For instance, it explains how dim the room should be, how reflective the screens and how they should be calibrated. The guidelines don’t apply to HDR, 4K etc. so the team devised an extension to the standard in order to carryout the testing. This is called ‘subjective testing’.

With all of this work done, Rafael shows us the benefits of using this extended metric and the results achieved.

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Speakers

Rafael Sotelo Rafael Sotelo
Director, ICT Department
Universidad de Montevideo

Video: Deployment of Ultra HD Services Around the Globe

In some parts of the industry UHD is entirely absent. Thierry Fautier is here to shine a light on the progress being made around the globe in deploying UHD.

Thierry starts off by defining terms – important because Ultra HD actually hides several, often unmentioned, formats behind the term ‘UHD’. This also shows how all of the different aspects of UHD, which include colour (WCG), HDR, audio (NGA) and frame rate to name only a few, fit together.

There’s then a look at the stats, where is HDR deployed? How is UHD typically delivered? And the famed HDR Venn diagram showing which TVs support which formats.

As ever, live sports is a major testing ground so the talk examines some lessons learnt, and features a BBC case study, from the 2018 World Cup. Not unrelated, there is a discussion on the state of UHD streaming including discussion of CMAF.

Leading nicely onto Content Aware Encoding (CAE), which was also in use at the world cup.

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Speaker

Thierry Fautier Thierry Fautier
President-Chair, Ultra HD Forum
VP Video Strategy, Harmonic

Video: Intro to 4K Video & HDR

With all the talk of IP, you’d be wrong to think SDI is dead. 12G for 4K is alive and well in many places, so there’s plenty of appetite to understand how it works and how to diagnose problems.

In this double-header, Steve Holmes from Tektronix takes us through the ins and outs of HDR and also SDI for HDR at the SMPTE SF section.

Steve starts with his eye on the SMPTE standards for UHD SDI video looking at video resolutions and seeing that a UHD picture can be made up of 4 HD pictures which gives rise to two well known formats ‘Quad split’ and ‘2SI’ (2 Sample Interleave).

Colour is the next focus and a discussion on the different colour spaces that UHD is delivered with (spoiler: they’re all in use), what these look like on the vector scope and look at the different primaries. Finishing up with a roundup and a look at interlink timing, there’s a short break before hitting the next topic…HDR

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High Dynamic Range is an important technology which is still gaining adoption and is often provided in 4K programmes. Steve defines the two places HDR is important; in the acquisition and the display of the video then provides a handy lookup table of terms such as HDR, WCG, PQ, HDR10, DMCVT and more.

Steve gives us a primer on what HDR is in terms of brightness ‘NITS’, how these relate to real life and how we talk about it with respect to the displays. We then look at HDR on the waveform monitor and look at features of waveform monitors which allow engineers to visualise and check HDR such as false colour.

The topic of gamma, EOTFs and colour spaces comes up next and is well explained building on what came earlier. Before the final demo and Q&A, Steve talks about different ways to grade pictures when working in HDR.

A great intro to the topics at hand – just like Steve’s last one: Uncompressed Video over IP & PTP Timing

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Speakers

Steve Holmes Steve Holmes
Former Senior Applications Engineer,
Tektronix