Ten years in, ultra-high-def gets a standard

4K-ing hell, what took you so long?

The UHD Alliance has delivered its promised spec setting down minimum standards for what constitutes 4K. While 4K of some kind has been around for a decade, it was only in 2015 that the industry decided standards were needed.

Its specification covers production, distribution and display characteristics, with a bunch of individual content line items.

While there are audio recommendations, video is front-and-centre of the spec. To pass the spec and buy the right to use the "Ultra HD Premium" logo, TVs will need a minimum display resolution of 3840 x 2160 (which, naturally enough, will be the production and distribution resolution as well).

Devices will also need 10-bit colour depth, and will support minimum specs for colour representation (based on the ITU's BT.2020 recommendation), and the SMPTE's ST2084 EOTF (electro-optical transfer function) dynamic range spec (which defines the range from black to peak brightness).

Producers and distributors have to meet the same specs – for example, if Netflix wants to brand a program Ultra HD Premium, it'll have to comply all the way from source to when it starts firing packets to the Internet.

There are also specs for the displays in mastering suites: they'll have to cover 100 per cent of the DCI's P3 colour space (consumer devices can get away with 90 per cent), and go from 0.03 nits (candela per square metre) at black to a maximum brightness beyond 1,000 nits.

Samsung is one of the first consumer TV outfits to take the brand, for its 2016 range of UHD TVs, but inexplicably the Korean giant isn't running with Ultra HD Premium for its CES-launched refrigerator with display.

The sparse UHD Alliance announcement is here. ®




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