back to article Ten years in, ultra-high-def gets a standard

The UHD Alliance has delivered its promised spec setting down minimum standards for what constitutes 4K. While 4K of some kind has been around for a decade, it was only in 2015 that the industry decided standards were needed. Its specification covers production, distribution and display characteristics, with a bunch of …

  1. Mark 85 Silver badge
    Coat

    Rats

    but inexplicably the Korean giant isn't running with Ultra HD Premium for its CES-launched refrigerator with display.

    I guess I'll just have to hold on buying that new refrigerator for awhile. I guess I better tell the wife that it's on hold and that we'll have to use the ice chest for a few more months.

    icon -------> Kevlar... because flying crockery and cutlery.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sounds like a "proper" spec unlike the HD Farce

    720p, 1080i, 1080p... "Full HD"

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sounds like a "proper" spec unlike the HD Farce

      Yet still the important improvements (10 bit colour depth, higher dynamic range) are presented as footnotes to the mostly irrelevant "4k" pixel count.

    2. Nigel Whitfield.

      Re: Sounds like a "proper" spec unlike the HD Farce

      Sounds like it, but it's not, in my view. I talked about the UHD Alliance in my IBC report (and I talked to them, and told them I thought they were going to cause anguish too, though in rather more robust language). IBC report is here.

      Why? Because I think this is only half a spec. They have a spec for production, and they have a spec for displays - because those are where they can persuade people to pay money for logos to put on shiny new kit, especially at the display end.

      But what the spec specifically does NOT include is any mention of connectivity and interoperability, which they don't see as their problem. Fall all the flaws of the HD Ready and Full HD standards, they did specify things like 'HDMI with HDCP" whereas the UHD Premium doesn't.

      So, for example, there is kit out there that doesn't support UHD on all its HDMI ports. That's fine if you just have the one bit of kit that outputs a 4K signal. But what when you get a new Sky box, say, and discover you can't have both 4K gadgets plugged in at the same time? Let alone also get ARC back to your AV kit....

      There is just as much potential for customer confusion in creating a labelling system that refers only to the display capabilities and not at all to the connectivity as there was with the "HD Ready" mess.

      Take a look at the DTG's "UHD Ready" website, where you can see how some current services are only compatible with certain sets.

      (And, of course, the high frame rate stuff is all still to come, as chipsets aren't likely to be widely available for at least another year or two, and we'll probably have another logo for that). I still maintain, as I've said here before, that unless you really have to replace a set now, there's no point rushing into buying 4K

  3. DougS Silver badge

    Really shit the bed with this spec

    Requiring BT.2020 on input but only P3 on output? And only 90% of P3 for consumer devices?!

    All you have to do is look at the color charts, and see that P3 is already only half the gain in color space at best that BT.2020 is. What's worse "90% of P3" is basically allowing them to merely display the same color space we have today, so they're giving manufacturers a pass to claim their 4K TVs are "Ultra HD Premium" when they aren't capable of displaying any more colors than the HDTVs you have in your home now!

    Really sad, but what can you expect from an industry group that serves the manufacturers rather than the consumers.

    The big attraction of 4K IMHO is not the resolution, it is getting more lifelike colors. Now they've ruined that, and sorting out which TVs actually do display a wide gamut versus the pretenders who meet the spec by accepting BT.2020 input but display today's crap will be difficult for informed consumers and totally impossible for typical consumers.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Really shit the bed with this spec

      > but display today's crap will be difficult for informed consumers and totally impossible for typical consumers.

      Or ... they will just read reviews like they do today, and buy the ones which review well. Who the hell buys a TV purely based on what stickers it has stuck on it ...

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Really shit the bed with this spec

        If they set the standards too high, there would be very few televisions that would qualify. As it is, the only 2015 set that might qualify retrospectively (through possible firmware update) uses a combination of quantum dot and multi-point back-lighting technologies.

        Note also there are two parts of the standard - one for LED sets, and one for OLED, since they traditionally have had different strengths.

      2. DougS Silver badge

        @Pete H

        I'm not saying informed customers will buy based on stickers, but go ahead and see if reviews will tell you how much of the color gamut is actually displayed!

        I've already seen a half dozen articles talking about the new standard that claim TVs that comply with it will be able to display far more colors. That's patently false, since 90% of P3 is the same as the color gamut every HDTV displays today. The writers don't understand the difference between being required to accept BT.2020 as input and displaying 90% of P3 (or likely know how much smaller the P3 gamut is than BT.2020 in the first place) So they spread bad information that will be spread by others ad infinitum.

        I expect most reviews will either make that mistake, or will "test" this based on the eyes of the reviewer (which are often green tinted in review sites that depend on advertising revenue to survive) Unless the manufacturer reveals this information (they won't, except on their high end sets that may actually display more colors) the only way to know for sure would be to use some lab equipment to test it. Unless consumers are informed enough to know that they should look for that in a review, why would reviews invest in that equipment?

        Maybe I'm wrong and this will become common knowledge in a few years and it will eventually become easy to learn this information, but my cynicism is based on the whole 4K rollout process. TV makers didn't make it all that easy at first to find out whether their TVs could handle HDCP 2.2, a lot of the early 4K TVs did not and those TVs will become pretty useless when not using their 'smart' features since cable/satellite STBs are required to use HDCP 2.2 on broadcast 4K content. The owners of those early (and expensive) 4K TVs will be in for a rude awakening when 4K STBs become available and they find their 4K TV is a boat anchor.

        1. -v(o.o)v-

          Re: @Pete H

          Better buy that HDFury box soon then, before US content producers torpedo it.

      3. Hans 1 Silver badge

        Re: Really shit the bed with this spec

        >Who the hell buys a TV purely based on what stickers it has stuck on it ...

        All the John and Jane Smiths ... the average punters

    2. Wayland Sothcott 1 Bronze badge

      Re: Really shit the bed with this spec

      I think it's reasonable that they get the decent signal out there and the TVs are at least able to show the picture. I agree that there should be two logos, one for the basic compatibility and another for full compliance. That way the standard can get established and the TV makers can work on improving their TVs.

  4. Dave 126 Silver badge

    More excited about the dynamic range than the resolution

    see above

  5. Phil Kingston Silver badge

    Silly name. For all the sense it makes they should have gone with

    Mega Ultra Super Highest Full Definition Premium I can't believe it's not 8k Whizzbang 1.0

    1. AndyS

      You forgot Turbo. Got to have Turbo in there.

      1. Anna Logg

        ..and 'Cloud Enabled'

      2. DavCrav Silver badge

        "You forgot Turbo. Got to have Turbo in there."

        They should put that on a button on the front. A nice Turbo button with an orange LED.

        1. Adam 1 Silver badge

          If you accidentally switch off the turbo it drops to super VGA.

  6. Chemist

    Maybe there should be a minimum spec.....

    for the quality of the content !

  7. xj650t
    Paris Hilton

    What we really need

    Is higher frame rates not higher resolution, watching a recent movie in IMAX, some of the scenes were particularly jerky looking at the screened frame rate.

    Don't get me wrong 4K will be great for pron, and whilst almost all panels this year will be 4k,most people are living with 1080p HD, and anyway where is the 4K content, not much around on terrestrial or Sky yet.

    Paris because she'd look good in 4K.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: What we really need

      Don't get me wrong 4K will be great for pron

      Are you sure? Won't the new colour depth highlight the false tans that all the actors have?

      Mine's the mac with the heavily thumbed magazine in the pocket, thanks.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What we really need

      You expect a bit of jerking with pron movies.

  8. Natalie Gritpants

    A link to the logo would have been useful.

    It doesn't appear on the official announcement page either so I had to resort to google which may or may not have shown me the official logo I should look for in the shops.

    "Ultra HD Premium" is confusing too, what happens if the TV I'm looking is "Ultra HD" which is what everyone on the net will be using. (I cant even type proevium)

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And to think

    even "standard" HD is considered premium over SD for many things, how much more premium is ultra HD? Never mind the 10 years to get to a standard...

    How long till HD becomes standard and UHD becomes premium? or will UHD be forever a niche for people with a big empty wall and deep wallets?

    1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      Re: And to think

      HD will be overcompressed until it looks as bad as SD, to encourage people to "upgrade", and the manufacturers will keep on ramping up production of UHD screens to keep the factories running. You'll soon not be able to buy anything that isn't UHD 3D 15-channel Dolby total immersion surround sound, even if you only want to watch Corrie, by which time the picture quality will still be crappier than good HD is today.

      1. Dabooka Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: And to think

        Have a pint.

        I've said this before on thse boards, going back even further when digitial SD became the norm comparing to how it looks now. A typical Sky SD channel is absolutely appaling, if I subscribed I'd be kicking them right out. Some of the foreign SD I do actually watch is virtually comparable to Sky HD it gets squeezed that much.

        However, as has been said, it's the consumer regime isn't it? I had a disagreement with a colleague who insists the output of his £40 android box is HD at 1080p because it's a HDMI cable and his tv shows the souce selected as 1080p. Trying to get him to actually use his eyes to look at the quality of the picture and see if it looks 1080p is a waste of time.

        1. Hans 1 Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Re: And to think

          >A typical Sky SD channel is absolutely appaling

          Let me guess, you have a LCD or LED TV ?

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'll stick with 720p, thanks.

  11. OzBob

    I repeat what I heard previously on the register

    I asked 100 people what was wrong with TV today, none of them said "resolution".

  12. Zmodem

    theres me turning the saturation down lower and lower on every tv i buy to make the picture look realisitic

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