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4K Ultra HD TV boffin calls for more lifelike colour and brightness

Broadcasters should try to include a technology which boosts the range of bright and dark images as they take on 4K Ultra HD TV

So says the boss of an international group setting the worldwide specification for broadcasters and TV manufacturers for Ultra HD as it emerges over the next decade.

David Wood, chairman of the International Telecommunication Union’s Ultra HD standards group, said High Dynamic Range could make even more difference to viewers than the extra detail in 4K and 8K.

4K Ultra HD TV boffin calls for more lifelike colour and brightness
David Wood is an internationally-renowned expert in HD TV

“In many parts of the world, those who have seen demonstrations of high dynamic range on TV screens with the higher screen brightness’s, find that it does increase the perception of image quality significantly,” Wood told the Hollywood Reporter.

The ITU has already specified the resolution for 4K and 8K, and the next step is to consider adding HDR to the Ultra HD mix, and Wood said HDR could be added to 4K as early as 2017. 

He added: “It does bring ‘sparkle’ to the image, and allows you to see more detail in dark areas of the image. To some, the HDR ‘gain’ is more valuable than more definition, because you notice it further back from the TV set.  But the benefit you get depends on the content that the program maker provides.”

Testing of several proposals for HDR 4K is ongoing but the ITU hopes to reach its conclusions by next spring. 

There’s some disagreement over HDR, though, with Japanese broadcaster NHK concerned high-brightness TVs could make some viewers uncomfortable.

NHK is planning to go directly to 8K Ultra HD, which it calls Super Hi-Vision, with test broadcasts during this year’s FIFA World Cup from Brazil, boosting detail levels 16 times over current Full HD pictures.

The rest of the world is likely to take a slower route via 4K Ultra HD, which has four times the detail of Full HD, with 8K a long-term goal.

That could bring further problems for HDR, which can’t be displayed by the first generation of 4K Ultra HD sets on the market today – although they have other limitations like a limited frame rate that might be slower than the final standard.

Image: ITU

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