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Ultra High Definition Television

kunnen kleuren, vooral rood en groen tinten beter weer te geven geschikt voor 3D vanwege de hogere framesnelheid vraagt een enorme bandbreedte gebruikers zullen gloednieuwe apparatuur nodig zoals UHDTV is niet achterwaarts compatibel

162 TELE-audiovision International The Worlds Largest Digital TV Trade Magazine 09-10/2013 www.TELE-audiovision.com

www.TELE-audiovision.com 09-10/2013 TELE-audiovision International



Ultra High Definition Television

Whats behind the new standard? Is it even a standard?

Jacek Pawlowski
We all are familair with High Definition Television. HDTV uses picture resolutions of either 720p, 1080i or 1080p. The first two are used for broadcasting TV via satellites while the last one is mostly used with Blu-ray discs. A HDTV video signal has either 50 or 60 picture frames per second. If a complete picture is sent in every frame, the letter p is added after the resolution figure (720p or 1080p). If only half the horizontal lines are sent in one frame (only odd number lines, then only even number lines and so on), the letter i depicts such interlaced video. Most of the contemporary satellite TV receivers upscale any 720p or 1080i video signals to 1080p and then output the video to your living room TV. Now, if we focus on the best version of HDTV 1080p it has a picture resolution of 1920 x 1080. The new 4K UHDTV standard has doubled the resolution in both axes to 3840 2160 while the 8K UHDTV has even quadrupled it: 7680 4320. The best way to realize how big an improvement UHDTV introduces is to look at our simple picture showing TV screens for different standards but the same pixel size (see picture). Imagine this: 4K is like arranging 4 HD TV-sets in a 2x2 array, while for 8K UHDTV one would need 8 HD TVs arranged in a 4x4 array! Though resolution is the most obvious improvement over classical HDTV it is by no means the only parameter that has been changed. The other two related to video are: color space and frame rate. UHDTV has a wider color space than HDTV. In particular, UHDTV picture is able to reproduce more deeply red and more deeply green colors which can not be shown by our existing HDTV equipment. In this way, UHDTV is able to reproduce more natural colors. The standard extends the allowable frame rates up to 120 frames per second. In this way 3D video can be reproduced with up to 60 fps for each eye. 60 fps are typical for North American TV whilst 50

Comparison of the TV screens for different resolution standards.

fps is used in most other areas including Europe. Therefore European 3D TV will use 100 fps rather than 120 fps. Adding to these enormous improvements in video performance, UHDTV also expanded the audio quality. With the new UHDTV standard an astounding 22 audio channels plus 2 low frequency effects channels are possible. The 22 channels are divided into three groups: an upper layer of nine channels, a middle layer of ten channels and a lower layer of three channels. Such complex audio setups can be found at movie theatres and thus with UHDTV this also becomes available to the average viewer. Of course, the first thing in order to enjoy that big resolution is a UHDTV compliant TV monitor. The best TV manufacturers already offer 4K UHDTV TV-sets with large screen (70 or more). Monitors capable of showing 8K can be seen at the professional broadcasting exhibitions but sofar we know of no such monitor available at regular stores. Now, what about the sources of ultra HD video? Presently, the choice is extremely small. One model of UHDTV video player has been announced with a few pre-stored movies in 4K format on the internal HDD. Blu-ray Disc Association have just started their work on extending Blu-Ray Disc specification to include 4K Ultra HD video. Similarly, Sony announced that their PlayStation 4 will support 4K resolution but only for photos and videos not for the games themselves. And what is going on in the satellite industry? In Europe EUTELSAT has started 4K UHD test transmissions coded with the MPEG-4 codec on EUTELSAT 10A. Quite recently, SES has done one step further and started a 4K channel coded with the newest HEVC (H.265) codec that helped reducing the necessary bitrate down to 20 Mbit/sec. You do not have to be an expert to realize that 4K UHDTV requires 4 times more bits than HDTV and 8K UHDTVrequires 16 times more bits. This is really a problem because the communication networks have finite throughput rates. HEVC, known also as H.265, can help here as its efficiency is roughly 2 times better than MPEG 4. But even using the best available codec you still need about 20 Mbit/sec for 4K UHDTV and as much as 80 Mbits/sec to broadcast a single channel. And all this for 50/60 fps. If you liked to double the frame rate to 100/120 to transmit 3D UHDTV you would need twice the bandwidth. It is funny to think that if in the future 8K is introduced to satellite broadcast, one transponder will be carrying a maximum one channel like in the old days of analog TV. The list of devices and standards that still have to be developed or extended is long: UHDTV cameras and other studio equipment, HDMI interface, audio equipment, and, of course, all kinds of digital TV receivers: satellite, cable, IPTV and (maybe) terrestrial. New equipment will require new chip-sets and perhaps even new hardware architecture to do the job efficiently. UHDTV is not backward compatible with HDTV. In other words, your present HDTV receiver will not process a UHDTV channel. Naturally, in the beginning, there will be a scarcity of ultra high resolution programs and many UHDTV channels will be created by up-scaling regular HDTV. We can still remember the first years of HDTV or more recently 3D HDTV the same will happen with UHDTV. However, despite all the technology, communication and media problems linked with UHDTV, we strongly believe that the race has started for good and sooner or later we will all enjoy the wonderful ultra high definition pictures in our houses.

164 TELE-audiovision International The Worlds Largest Digital TV Trade Magazine 09-10/2013 www.TELE-audiovision.com