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Ultra HD HDR Interoperability and the World Cup

This year we experienced the first mass market UHD HDR event that was a truly World scale and it highlighted both the maturity and immaturity of UHD HDR. This was the 2018 World Cup in Russia. It exercised the state of art in HDR live production, contribution, distribution and consumption, all the way through to the TV. During the Ultra HD Forum Masterclass on “UHD Take-up in the Field: A year of Olympic and FIFA World Cup success”, I offered forth views and understanding of how the consumer experienced the World Cup and the challenges that were seen by them. During the conversation I offered only a small window on our understanding, which I expand on in this blog post.

A significant number of consumers across multiple countries (up to 10% according to Joerg Sander, CTO HBS) were able to receive and enjoy the HDR delivered content in either PQ (HDR10) or HLG. The days where consumers were concerned as to what HDR format was being used is definitely over, with post 2016 HDR displays supporting both formats with equal measure. However a number of interoperability ‘snagging’ issues were identified that we have been investigating and continue to investigate/resolve.

The Ultra HD Forum took an active role in reviewing the experience that consumers had across the world (this was done by reviewing and monitoring multiple online video forums, where active consumers shared their experiences), combined with our interoperability experience of the last three years and specific work undertaken during a Big Interop event that was run in London in parallel with the DTG/DTVP 8th UHD Plugfest. It was focused on multiple interop angles of broadcast and streaming delivery of UHD HDR, alongside work on HFR, and also allowed the viewing of the World Cup from multiple providers in the same location (via SDR and HDR).

Some of the ‘snagging’ issues that were seen from all these sources were:

Operational/Production Issues

General HDR TV Display issues

STB oriented Platforms

Over the Air / Free to Air

Streaming

Next Steps

Since the end of the World Cup, I have been involved in analysis of the causes of the issues that were seen. This is something that is ongoing in the Ultra HD Forum and is feeding into future Interop work which the Forum will report on in due course.

As we reiterated in the panel, although it may seem that we are bringing up a number of issues that affected the experience by consumers, the vast majority of consumers of the UHD HDR delivery had a good/great experience of the World Cup and did not see the issues we describe in this post which is a record of the perfectionism that we as an industry have for what we do. The World Cup experience was an excellent outcome for UHD HDR and will surely drive more services and events taking place in HDR.

Ian Nock is the Founder of Fairmile West, which is a Consulting company focused on working in the Consumer Device and Video arena. We work with clients on technology strategy and product delivery through key practices in Consumer Devices and Video Services. If you are interested in learning more about what we do, please do get in touch via our website – Contact us. You can also keep track with what interests us in the industry by following our Link blog at TV Tech News, and you can specifically follow news on Ultra HD via the following link – Ultra HD News.

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