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Old July 6th, 2014, 02:01 AM   #1
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EBU Policy Statement on UHDTV

The EBU has produced a policy statement on Ultra High Definition Television. It seems to note areas other than just a higher pixel count as part of UHDTV.

https://tech.ebu.ch/docs/techreports/tr028.pdf
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Old July 6th, 2014, 02:09 AM   #2
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Re: EBU Policy Statement on UHDTV

Mmmmm? The easy way out?


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Old July 6th, 2014, 04:17 AM   #3
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Re: EBU Policy Statement on UHDTV

They seem to be wanting more from UHDTV than just television sets that can manage a higher resolution, which seems to be the current marketing ploy by the manufacturers. Things do tend to move quickly when there aren't committees involved, although they tend to be needed when large groupings are required to stay in step for compatibility.
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Old July 6th, 2014, 07:59 AM   #4
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Re: EBU Policy Statement on UHDTV

But with parameters beyond the aspect of resolution not even standardized, it's going to be a long torturous road.
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Old July 6th, 2014, 11:56 AM   #5
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Re: EBU Policy Statement on UHDTV

A road I'm not willing to travel until it's totally paved.
I'll still be buying HD cameras for the next few years.
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Old July 6th, 2014, 04:56 PM   #6
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Re: EBU Policy Statement on UHDTV

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Originally Posted by Ed Arszyla View Post
I'll still be buying HD cameras for the next few years.
I suppose it depends what your market is, what people will pay you to use, and how much your work is of immediate value only, how much it has future value.

The document is interesting, mainly because it's a first step towards getting a debate going and eventually (hopefully) getting some sort of consensus. It's valid in so far as it recognises that UHD should be about more than just resolution - but I'm less sure about their seeming keenness for what they describe as enhanced 1080p. Personal view is that if we're going for a future standard, let's not go for half measures - let's indeed go for higher frame rates and what they describe as "better pixels" - but AS WELL as 4k resolution - not instead of it.

To come back to Ed's point, then if your material has future value, then whilst it may be ideal to shoot to any full future spec, then it can only be better to shoot 4K than HD (all else equal) can't it? Surely partial future proofing is better than none at all? Certainly for high budget material.
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Old July 6th, 2014, 05:33 PM   #7
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Re: EBU Policy Statement on UHDTV

Ugh, that thing reads like the result of a few "official" people getting together, booking an expensive weekend at a fancy retreat, getting massages, eating expensive meals and having to have "something" to show for it at the end... I'll bet that was probably a EU10K+/page "statement"... and that's letting them call the blank one a page!

By the time the EU "TC" (whoever or whatever they are?) get around to saying something meaningful, I suspect we all could be enjoying holographic 3D....

They seem to be rather annoyed that the "CE industry" is forging ahead, releasing 4K TV's and cameras without some "standards committee" having had time to schedule an expensive meeting to set "standards"... Perhaps the "redundant committee on irrelevance" needs to get with the programme?

Practically speaking, there are displays available and coming (yes some with so so specs, a little like 720p "HDTV"), the cheap one I got looks quite good for the $$ spent. The cameras are coming in various forms at various price points, and are being USED to good effect... It's working...

I'm not sure why they are worried about "higher frame rates, more contrast in images (dynamic range), better colours and immersive audio". These ALL come with the natural progress of new technology...



As those who are early adopters of 4K are finding, you may have to compromise on the frame rate (curse you 30p... even if it can be worked with!) a bit, but if the camera has good dynamic range, and good color... you get nicer results with 4K...

I'm glad they "mention" audio, but I venture that most consumers will CONTINUE to listen to a pair of tinny speakers embedded in the plastic frame bezel of their TV... MOST of the time... you're not exactly sticking a 7.1 surround system on a TV? Maybe transmission of quality audio hasn't been laid out...?

I wonder if they had a nice meeting and "position statement" between SD and HD?
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Old July 6th, 2014, 06:29 PM   #8
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Re: EBU Policy Statement on UHDTV

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Originally Posted by Dave Blackhurst View Post
They seem to be rather annoyed that the "CE industry" is forging ahead, releasing 4K TV's and cameras without some "standards committee" having had time to schedule an expensive meeting to set "standards"...
Remember what the "B" in "EBU" stands for - "Broadcasting". (And that may include via the internet.)

As such, they have to look after the interests of the Broadcasters of Europe in a technical sense - and for such, standards are VITAL. It would be no use at all France, Germany, the UK, Belgium etc all deciding to go their own way and set their own standards - it was bad enough in the PAL/SECAM analogue era, and it's unfortunate there are now two basic HD transmission standards (720p/50 and 1080i/25). At least in the 50Hz analogue world both PAL and SECAM shared the same 625 line monochrome standard.

Move to 4K, and issues around framerates, bitdepth, colour coding etc and the possibilities for confusion get even worse. And this is before we even start to think about transmission issues, DVB standards, and all the ancillary equipment that fits in the broadcast chain between the existing cameras and displays!

Does it matter? I'd argue yes, very much so.

If we were only talking about cameras and displays, it may not matter as much - though even then you'd want a display to recognise any valid signal that may get thrown at it. But with a transmission chain (such as DVB) it's a huge issue. All such receivers have to meet a given standard - any subsequent improvement (say to H264 coding, or to 1080p/50) will mean any such transmissions can't be received on ALL previous receivers. There are also huge benefits to manufacturers in being able to make TVs which are equally happy in the UK, France, Germany, any country of the EU - and why many non-EU countries tend to go along with EBU technical standards as well.

(Going back to analogue times, even though 625 line was standard, and there were only two colour systems, there were various transmission standards with differing video bandwidths, channel spacings, and sound-vision frequency separations. Buy a British TV then, and if you took it to Germany you may get a colour picture but no sound, take it to France and get a b/w picture but no sound, and etc. Please don't send us back to worse than that for lack of standard setting! :-) )

Yes, they may sound annoyed about the CE industry, but isn't that more because the latter are only CREEPING ahead? (Resolution, but nothing else?) With the EBU seeing the danger being that once too many sets are out there, a simple resolution increase does become the de facto new standard - when it could be so much more with a bit of forethought?

For some usage today I can see the merit of shooting 4K, even if only 25p - some future proofing must be better than none? But can you be sure that any 4K display bought today will be able to handle framerates better than 25/30 fps at 4K if such becomes widely adopted in the future?

It's also worth saying that organisations like the EBU or DVB will set MAXIMUM standards to any system - it doesn't mean then that all transmissions have to be such. So, for example, a current UK DVB receiver will receive SD broadcasts with MPEG2 coding as well as HD at 1080i/25 or 720p/50 (and H264). But if a broadcaster wanted to transmit 1080p/50 - tough. No receivers in the country are capable of it's reception. It would require a rewriting of the standard (and everyone in the country to buy new equipment) to enable it. That's why you simply can't rely on some things "coming with the natural progress of new technology... ". The cameras may come, the displays may come, but if a broadcaster suddenly switches to the new standard, he stands a good chance of being blacked out to most of his current viewers!

Hopefully that gives some flavour of why EBU talking about future standards is such a big thing?
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Old July 7th, 2014, 12:42 AM   #9
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Re: EBU Policy Statement on UHDTV

The EBU isn't alone. I've heard a few Hollywood technical and business people voice concern about a resolution-only next generation of video.

Say you bought a favorite film on VHS. If you're a real fan, you bought the same title on DVD and then again on Blu-ray Disc. The studios would like you to buy the next-generation version as well. But does UHD resolution alone do it for you? Will you upgrade the TV (many will)? Will you update the player (maybe it's physical, downloaded or streamed)? And then will you pay for the title again if you already own the BD?

The worry is that the mass-market won't go for resolution alone. (They'll upgrade TVs over time but will they replace titles?)

But what if there is a wider color gamut, more bits, higher dynamic range, and better audio? If the new system can noticeably improve the experience such that the average viewer can't help but notice the difference, UHD media sales will be a big success. If it takes a close gaze from an expert to see the difference, we might have another SACD and DVD-A on our hands.
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Old July 7th, 2014, 01:30 AM   #10
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Re: EBU Policy Statement on UHDTV

Of course if you walked into a store and saw a bunch of TV's that were a league apart from the rest thanks to UHD, high DR, better pixels etc you would be more likely to buy than UHD alone.

But, and this is happening right now, if you go into a store and there are a few TV's to choose from with little price difference between them and one looks a little better than the others, which do you buy?

I was in my local TV store the other day looking at the prices of 4K TV's. There were some good deals on a couple of Samsung and LG 55" 4K TV's. They were at a similar price to regular HD TV's. Guess what, I watched the salesman complete a deal to sell one of the 4K TV's. I didn't see any other TV's sell during the same period.

Give it another couple of years and 4K TV's will be no more expensive than HD TV's, just as most TV's are 3D capable today. What will these lucky 4K TV owners watch? If the traditional broadcasters don't pull their fingers out it will leave the door wide open for online services that can react faster. This will further erode the market share of the traditional broadcasters.

Maybe UHD alone isn't a huge step forwards. But (done right) the pictures are better. Yes, I'm all for "disruptive technologies" like dolby extended dynamic range too, but sometimes it take little steps to get there.
As content creators we already have the tools available to create not only UHD but also high dynamic range content. From the production side we can meet most of what the EBU are muttering about right now.
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Old July 7th, 2014, 01:54 AM   #11
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Re: EBU Policy Statement on UHDTV

I think that expressed it quite well! I've suspected that 4K may "catch fire" more rapidly than expected, and the CONTENT will be streamed over the internet rather than traditional "broadcast" channels?

Just speculation, but when the tech is charging forward, looks great, and does not cost too much more , it my well catch on rather fast! I've seen articles indicating that the actual "cost" of producing a 4K TV is very little more than for an "HD" set, the prices are just higher/premium since it's "new"... My cheap-o 4K "TV/Monitor" was actually not much of a premium over an HD model... or I wouldn't have bought it! I presumed it would be "good enough" for at least a couple years...

If "broadcasters" sit on their hands very long, they may not have much of a "seat" left? I believe that "wireless screens" over the internet ALREADY are becoming the primary "channel" for many people, at least here in the US. Just like "land lines" are moving towards irrelevance, "broadcast" could easily become a footnote. I have been switching over to watching things on web sites, I can pick the time that's convenient to me, watch just what I want, and get (most times) as good or better quality... as more of the cable "channels" offer their content on the web, I could see cutting the "TV" part of my cable (actually FiOS fiber) bill... of course the "data" part of that bill will no doubt "catch up"!

Having watched over the years as technology changes how people "do things" and leaves some things to history, I can only conjecture that the "broadcast" business model may well be a dinosaur already thrashing about in the tar pit...
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Old July 7th, 2014, 02:37 AM   #12
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Re: EBU Policy Statement on UHDTV

How the means of "broadcast" changes in the future remains in the future changes remains to be seen. There are many means of distribution, given the current bandwidth limitations of the web (the US doesn't seem to have the fastest average broadband service around), there seems to be a future for the various shades of broadcaster, many of whom produce and/or fund the premium productions that many love to view on their laptops.

Setting of high technical standards for the broadcasters is one method of giving them a premium over the the highly compressed web, as someone suggested that 4k on the web is perhaps just a means to actaully see HD.
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Old July 7th, 2014, 03:55 AM   #13
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Re: EBU Policy Statement on UHDTV

Broadcast changes are happening now, it's not a future thing. Services such as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon etc have grown exponentially in the last couple of years. We just dropped our multi-room satellite TV add on in favour of NetFlix and may well drop the satellite movie channels too. We must also remember that unlike a traditional broadcaster with a limited footprint, these online services have global reach.

House of Cards, a NetFlix in house production looks amazing in 4K. It's only 15-17Mbps, so a 4G phone or modem is fast enough to stream it. We should not forget that bandwidth is just as big an issue for a broadcaster as it is for online services. You can't just double the bandwidth used to broadcast in 4K without either reducing the number of channels or putting new, very expensive infrastructure in to place. It's going to be very hard for broadcasters to find extra bandwidth.

Yes, overall the speed of the internet is going to be an issue in some areas, but look how much the internet has improved in only a few short years. In 3 years I went from a 15Mbps connection to a 100Mbps connection. H265 and VP9 will mitigate the bandwidth issues to some degree for both web and traditional delivery, but for a broadcaster that means new transmitters, satellite transponders and set top boxes.

Not saying that over-the-air broadcasting is going to go away any time soon. But premium services and premium content may well become the domain of the online providers. There is no reason why companies like NetFlix can't produce high end premium content. They already produce some extremely high quality content such as House of Cards, Orange is the new Black or DreamWorks Dragons. In many respects the subscriber based services are going to be the ones that may well come out on top as in order to attract new customers they will need unique premium content, at the same time they will also have a revenue stream to pay for that content from a global audience. Meanwhile the traditional broadcasters must rely on ever diluted and dwindling advertising revenue.

The online providers can react and change their technical standards more or less overnight. If there was a demand for HDR, then provided there is HDR content, NetFlix could stream it tomorrow. NetFlix are already streaming 4K and it looks good. As can be seen from the EBU doc, the traditional broadcasters are going to take a very long time to react. I wonder how many subscribers Sky TV picked up when they were the only HD service available in the UK. Once you've picked up subscribers it's relatively easy to hold on to them provided you don't provide an inferior service and that hurts advertising revenue for the old school broadcasters.
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Old July 7th, 2014, 04:56 AM   #14
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Re: EBU Policy Statement on UHDTV

It could come down to different market sectors, with the "traditional" broadcasters offering free delivery with defined territories, perhaps with specific cultural remits, for example language. Certainly, there has been and continues to be changes in the means of distribution and the broadcasters will have to reinvent themselves.

The great thing was supposed to be smart TVs, but in the end 4k TVs is just a manufacturing matter, with the hope that the market will feel the need for 4k sets. Putting better speakers in as standard would probably have more impact in most domestic viewing environments.
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Old July 7th, 2014, 09:45 AM   #15
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Re: EBU Policy Statement on UHDTV

Some of the new Sony Bravia's now have much better speakers and the sound is quite impressive. But it does make the set quite a bit wider.
55" Class (54.6" diag) XBR 4K Ultra HD TV - XBR55X900A Review - Sony US
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