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Sunday, January 19, 2014

Ultra HD TV - More Than Just Pixels, 4K Blu-ray Coming This Year?


Without a doubt, the topic of Ultra HD TV dominated this year's CES 2014. There were sets, demos, and more sets. There were even affordable sets. Also, companies such as Sony, Netflix and Amazon talked up plans of delivering new 4K content this year.

However, there's so much more work to be done in the Ultra HD TV realm.


Earlier this week, Big Picture Big Sound attended a seminar held by video maven Joe Kane at CES. The video guru made a strong case that Ultra HD TV must be more than just "more pixels." In fact, for Ultra HD to be really successful, Kane said that the industry must take a new look at things like extending the color gamut of the existing video standards and allowing for resolutions above and beyond the common 4K standards.

Kane said that the proposed BT.2020 color standard cannot reproduce the full digital cinema color spectrum, so it should not be the ultimate color standard used for the fledgling format. Kane felt that the best solution would be to aim high, toward vastly expanded color space and 10-bit panels capable of really capturing the colors that exist in the real world. Also, since many early displays will not be able to deliver the full spectrum of features of Ultra HD, he proposed an output format converter -- an outboard or integrated hardware box -- that would identify the capabilities of the display and would deliver the appropriate video content to the attached display.
At CES, Joe Kane talked about what it will take for Ultra HD to be really successful.
The Hollywood Reporter also reported on many of the proposed enhancements to Ultra HD that are going on now. As mentioned, there are multiple companies, including Dolby (with their Dolby Vision technology) and content provides like VUDU and Netflix, currently preparing for the onslaught of Ultra HD TV content. THR even said that the BDA (Blu-ray Disc Association) has confirmed that they will have 4K Blu-ray Discs by the end of 2014, thanks to extensions to the format.

A task force, which includes reps from 17 companies including Sony, Technicolor, Dolby, Fox and Disney, are working on making the magic. THR says that any sort of optical media would probably need additional layers to accommodate Ultra HD -- which boasts four times the pixels of Full HD. "A more efficient compression algorithm" would also be needed, in order to get all of that content on that tiny disc.

Also worth noting is that this possible new format would require new equipment. In other words, you'd probably have to replace your Blu-ray player, along with your TV.

The Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem (DECE), the group behind UltraViolet, is also working on adding 4K and other new streaming features:

"4K (Ultra HD) is on our roadmap, and this will need to be a standard since it needs to work on a variety of devices and platforms," DECE general manager Mark Teitell told The Hollywood Reporter. "We're also looking at high dynamic range, color space and frame rate. It's likely to be a combination of those attributes that will represent the next generation. We are looking at what we need to do and take the best combination."

What this all will look like in practice remains to be seen, but it makes us optimistic about the future of Ultra HD TV.

View the original article here

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