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Saturday, June 28, 2014

CEA Updates Ultra HD TV Specs With Emphasis on Picture Quality, Interoperability

Getting confused when it comes to the topic of Ultra High Definition (UHD)? The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) wants to clear things a few things up for you.

The CEA just debuted "updated core characteristics" for UHD TVs, monitors and projectors for the home. Also known as the CEA's Ultra High-Definition Display Characteristics V2, the newly announced guidelines were designed to address things like picture quality and to help move towards interoperability. They will also make the whole topic of UHD a little clearer for consumers and retailers alike.

Building upon the first-gen characteristics that were released back in October 2012, the new guidelines were devised and approved by the CEA's Video Division Board and will go into effect in September 2014.

Under the new voluntary guidelines, a UHD TV, monitor or projector needs to have a resolution of at least eight million active pixels, with at least 3840 horizontally and at least 2160 vertically. As far as aspect ratio, the product needs to have a width-to-height ratio of the display's native resolution of 16:9 or wider. Each product must also be able to upscale HD video and display it at an UHD resolution.

The guidelines also cover HDMI inputs (at least one has to support a 3840x2160 native content resolution at 24p, 30p and 60p frames per second and one of those same inputs has to include support for HDCP revision 2.2 or equivalent content protection); "Colorimetry" (processes 2160p video inputs encoded according to ITU-R BT.709 color space and may support wider colorimetry standards); and bit depth (which needs to be a minimum of eight bits).

The CEA feels that a lot of viewers will get their first taste of native 4K through streaming services such as Netflix, Sony and others -- so they've also created new characteristics for Connected Ultra High-Definition displays. Those options need to meet all of the above requirements, as well as decode compressed IP-delivered video of 3840x2160 resolutions using HEVC, as well as receive, reproduce and/or output multichannel audio. How the IP-delivered UHD video is received (the type of web connection and service) is left up to the manufacturer.

"Ultra High-Definition TV is the next revolution in home display technology, offering consumers an incredibly immersive viewing experience with outstanding new levels of picture quality," said Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of the CEA. "These updated attributes will help ensure consumers get the most out of this exciting new technology and will provide additional certainty in the marketplace."

The CEA is also working with its member companies to develop a UHD logo, so consumers will see which products meet all of these new guidelines. Expected to launch later this year, that logo will be made available for voluntary use for product packaging, marketing materials and promotional activities.

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