ITU announces broadcast standard for HDR TV, ending HDR compatibility chaos

posted on Tuesday, 5th July 2016 by Steve May

4K  Broadcast  HDR 

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In a move that could have far reaching implications for TV production and distribution, the ITU has announced a standard for High Dynamic Range Television, dubbed ITU-R HDR-TV BT2100. HDR-TV builds on the already established UHD Recommendation BT.2020, approved in October last year. 

The standard has been developed by the ITU’s Radiocommunication Sector, in collaboration with experts from the TV industry and broadcasting organisations as well as the ITU’s Study Group 6.

“High Dynamic Range Television will bring a whole new viewing experience to audiences around the world,” declared ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao.

“High Dynamic Range Television represents an important step towards the virtual-reality quality of experience to be delivered by future broadcasting and multimedia systems,” comments François Rancy, Director of the ITU Radiocommunication Bureau.

The recommendation provides a long awaited green light for TV production, and details two options for producing High Dynamic Range TV images. The Perceptual Quantization (PQ) specification offers guidelines for mastering and post production of 4K and HDR images, while the Hybrid Log-Gamma (HLG) specification ensures a degree of backwards compatibility with legacy displays. The Recommendation also outlines a conversion process between the two HDR-TV options.

BT.2100 also allows TV producers to choose from three levels of detail or resolution: HDTV (1920 by 1080), and UHDTV 4’ (3840 by 2160) and 8K (7680 by 4320) with extended colour gamut and range of frame-rates in ITU’s UHDTV Recommendation BT.2020.

Andy Quested (1)

“This Recommendation is the culmination of three years of intensive work by dedicated image experts from around the world. HDR images are stunning and this is another major step forward in television quality,” announced  Andy Quested, Chairman of ITU-R Working Party 6C (pictured above), which developed the new standard.

“Programme makers today need a much wider range of options in order to meet the expectations of the different platforms they must supply, and this need for flexibility is catered for within the framework of a stable ITU-R Recommendation.”

Steve May

Steve is a veteran of the UK consumer electronics industry, having covered it for
various media outlets for more than 20 years.

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