Monday, October 21, 2013


 The first day of the SMPTE conference symposium split into two streams – one on UHDTV technology and the other on Business aspects. 

You blogger joined the technology stream, where two issues predominated mostly about the lower UHDTV quality level UHD-1 (otherwise 4k). 

The first was about what ‘brightness’ should be assumed for UHDTV displays.  Display brightness used to be measured in ‘candelas/sq metre’, but a new shorter term ‘nit’ (which by the way means ‘idiot’ in colloquial English) is coming into fashion.   There were two schools of thought.  One was that UHDTV should be more like the real brightness range we see in nature, with 10-20000 nits.  The other was that if we did that, when a TV show was set on the beach, viewers in their living rooms would need to wear sun-glasses.    This is linked to the ‘opto-electronic transfer characteristic’ we need in the UHDTV standard.   The debate will no doubt be continued in the ITU later in the year.  Let’s hope for compromise.

The second was about the number of images per second needed (frame rate).  Though UHDTV sets going on the market today accept a frame rate of up to 60 frames/second – the frame rate used for HDTV today – evidence was presented showing that there would be a really dramatic improvement in image quality or sports if the frame rate were increased to 100 or 120 frames/second.  This quality jump could even outshine the jump in quality due to the increased resolution going from HDTV to UHD-1.   However true this is, it looks like we may have to wait some years before receiver encoders can cope with higher rates than 60Hz.

The discussion showed that we may have some way to go before all the i’s are dotted for UHD-1.

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