IBC2017: Deep dive into a new generation of audio, better HDR and HFR were on the agenda when executives assembled during the Ultra HD Forum Masterclass.

Uhd forum

The UHD Forum: Ian Nock presenting

The Ultra HD (UHD) Forum looks at the end-to-end specifications and interoperability across the industry for UHD.

The session at IBC focused on these specifications that ultimately centre around the user experience (UX) - the direction the industry is moving towards.

UHD Forum Chairperson and President Thierry Fautier told delegates during the session the industry is moving at different paces from OTT, broadcast and MVPD (multichannel video programming distributor).

“The model is going to shift, they have different architectures. The possibilities of UHD are evolving.

“Today it is exciting and mandatory as we talk about interoperability and technology,” Fauiter said.

The UHD Forum is concerned with end-to-end solutions and looking to the future and what is going to shift.

UHD Work Guidelines Chair Madeleine Noland explained during the technical session the Phase A and B guidelines that have been developed with input from service providers from across the world have helped shape the regulations.

Noland said: “Phase A guidelines describe processes providing linear UHD services by 2016.

“Phase B guidelines cover new UHD technologies which were not commercially viable by 2016, but have become available since then.”

The following technologies have met Phase B inclusion criteria:

  • Technicolor SL-HDR1
  • Dolby Vision
  • High Frame Rate (120/100 fps), for HD resolution content
  • Next Gen Audio
  • Scalable HEVC (SHVC)

“Most people found you could have competent colour across the SDR and HDR presentations,” Noland continued.

“People were concerned with the automatic conversion of HDR to SDR for live production may impact the quality of SDR production.”

Noland said: “The message is getting out there, it’s up to the Ultra HD Forum to inform the ecosystem.

“Cost of infrastructure and availability of UHD content were the highest barriers respondents saw to UHD services.

“The survey is telling us help the industry needs to come together and bring UHD services to consumers” - Madeleine Noland

Noland explained there are not too many real-world deployments of HFR currently, however with high definition (HD) it is entirely possible with trials and demonstrations happening in the background.

“Our goal is to help the industry adopt UHD,” Noland explained, “The guidelines are there to help demystify the alphabet soup”.

Ian Nock Managing Director of Fairmile West Consulting joined the technical discussion focusing on HDR. He told delegates about the Forum’s outlook on capabilities of displays and interoperability of content and distribution technologies.

Nock said: “We’ve come to a mature region..we look forward to the future and bringing in television sets utilising the formats and capabilities across the industry specifically with SL HDR 1.”

Dolby Laboratories and UHD Forum Vice President Patrick Griffis added to the discussion, he said, the pandora’s pixel box lid has been taken off with HDR.

“There are many ways to make HDR, as we improve on the production side we have the challenge of how do we map that into the rendering environment,” Griffis said.

Stephan Heimbecher Director Innovations and Standards Technology Sky Deutschland Fernsehen, joined Griffis in a panel discussion on the delivery aims and advances across the industry with Apple’s announcement on 12 September that all new products will be released in HDR.

Heimbecher said the consumer and interoperable silos can absolutely work together.

Dolby’s Simon Gauntlett took to the stage and shared a few of the HDR summer trails, notably BT Sport first to launch with Dolby Atmos, next-generation audio.

On the trials, Gauntlett said: “It showed a lot of these things can come together.

“We can make a service that runs today to devices and there was a transmission between the [Dolby] Atmos and 2.0 stereo for the ad break.”

Gauntlett summarised: “We saw a shift from isolated camera trials to real trials and multi camera live trials. We are still learning how to get the best experience for our SDR and HDR viewers.”

“Which experience do we want to deliver to our customers is core to all discussions?” Director Hypermedia Labs Ludovic Noblet asked. “It is not necessarily about delivery audio it’s about delivering the best UX.”