The next evolution of UHD development is coming, and at NAB 2018 it is possible to experience phase B technologies first-hand, as the Ultra HD Forum and UHD Alliance showcase future UHD solutions.
The release of the Phase B Guidelines, an 80-page technical document that you can download and keep on your computer desktop for reference, marks the debut of all NAB 2018 activity around the future of UHD, serving as the base to introduce and demistify five key areas of the future of UHD:
- Content Aware Encoding
- Dual-Layer HDR Technologies
- Dynamic HDR Metadata Systems (Dolby Vision and SL-HDR1)
- High Frame Rate (100/120 fps)
- Next Generation Audio (Dolby AC-4 Audio and MPEG-H Audio)
Madeleine Noland, Chair of the Guidelines Work group said, on launching the document, “Phase A Guidelines address technologies that were solidified in 2015 and 2016, then in the summer of 2017 we ran a survey with Operators to guide the choice of the next phase of technologies.”
Noland added, “Our Guidelines are regularly updated, and further technologies will be addressed. Also, as with the Phase A guidelines, we remain strongly focussed on backwards compatibility so that the introduction of new solutions doesn’t break what’s already in place. Phase B Guidelines will soon include end-to-end workflows for all distribution systems including OTA, MVPD and OTT, which is a hallmark of the Forum’s work”.
According to the document now available (Ultra-HD-Forum-Phase-B-Guidelines-v1.0), the Ultra HD Forum Guidelines are intended to serve the public interest by providing recommendations and procedures that promote uniformity of product, interchangeability and ultimately the long-term reliability of audio/video service transmission. While the Phase A Guidelines were focused on UHD technologies that were commercially deployed as early as 2016, this Phase B Guidelines document focuses on the next generation of UHD technologies, some of which are already commercially deployed, while others are being actively tested and nearing commercial deployment.
The Phase B technologies document results from a survey conducted in August 2017, to learn which technologies had captured the interest of service operators, and this version is a preliminary look at the future, having as goal “to introduce and demystify the technologies and provide information to operators that are considering incorporating one or more of these advanced features into their UHD services.”
To experience phase B technologies first hand, NAB 2018 visitors are invited to the Futures Park in LVCC in North Hall, on booth N1131FP, where UHD Alliance and the Ultra HD Forum showcase a range of solutions for UHD broadcast with HDR, including:
- Universal HDR building dynamic metadata solutions on existing static metadata solutions, without breaking them
- Next Generation Audio (NGA) making sound more personal and more immersive
- High Frame Rates (100/120 FPS) with HDR for better-looking fast-motion images
- Content Aware Encoding maintaining quality while reducing required bandwidth
- System Monitoring providing visibility under the hood for UHD operations
- Broadcast HDR content in the Ultra HD Premium ecosystem
- Interoperability solutions to provide a seamless experience for consumers
Thierry Fautier, President of the Ultra HD Forum, said, “After three years focused on already-deployed technology, we are excited to be showing key UHD technologies of 2018 and beyond.” For the Forum, Fautier added, “Complementing our industry-focused interop effort, it will be great to see the Alliance address consumer-facing interop issues at the booth.”
“From the outset, our focus has been defining a premium UHD with HDR experience for consumers, and broadcast is a significant piece of the content equation,” said UHD Alliance Chairman Michael Zink. “We are looking forward to showcasing how broadcast, and particularly live broadcast, can enrich our Ultra HD Premium ecosystem.”
The presentations by UHD Alliance and the Ultra HD Forum started Saturday, with the Global UHD Conference, offering seven different presentations given by Forum and Alliance members on a variety of UHD topics, some of which were covered by Adam Wilt for ProVideo Coalition.
Formed in 2015, the Ultra HD Forum is the global organization responsible for promoting market adoption of Ultra HD by defining industry best practices for the phased introduction of the wide set of technologies facilitating the next-generation television experience. The organization facilitates interoperability testing and collaborates with industry standards bodies to align standard development activities.