This new DVB–UHDTV Phase 1
specification sets the minimum requirements for the next generation of
television transmission overseas.
GENEVA--On the heels of the Consumer
Electronics Association’s announcement that it was updating its core
characteristics for what “Ultra High-Definition ” TV should mean when you buy a
CE product, Europe’s Digital Video Broadcast organization, a consortium of some
200 broadcasters, manufacturers, network operators, software developers,
regulators and others from around the world, has unanimously approved a new
DVB-Ultra-High-Definition TV Phase 1 specification.
Details of which include accommodations for a new UHDTV Delivery
Profile using HEVC compression, a new Content Identification & Media
Synchronization For Companion Screens & Streams, and a new MPEG-DASH
Profile. The three new specifications will now be sent to ETSI for formal
standardization and publication in the organization’s relevant “Blue Books.”
The specification, unanimously adopted
by the DVB Steering Board at its recent 77th
Geneva last week, includes an HEVC Profile for DVB broadcasting services and
also updates the ETSI TS 101 154 specification— for the use of Video
and Audio Coding in Broadcasting Applications based on the MPEG-2 Transport
Interestingly, at a time when many professionals are experimenting
with high frame rates of up to 120 FPS, the new DVB-UHDTV Phase 1 will allow
images with four times the static resolution of the 1080p HDTV format, at frame
rates of up to 60 images per second. However, the next phase of DVB-UHDTV may
use higher frame rates in a compatible way, which will add further to the image
quality of UHDTV Phase 1.
The European standards group also said that contrast would be
drastically improved by increasing the number of bits per pixel to 10 bit.
Level 5.1 of the HEVC Main 10 profile is specified for UHD content for
resolutions up to 2160p. For HD content, HEVC Main profile level 4.1 is
specified for supporting resolutions up to 1080p.
“HEVC is the most recently developed compression technology and,
among other uses, it is the key that will unlock UHDTV broadcasting,” said DVB
Steering Board Chairman Phil Laven. “This new DVB–UHDTV Phase 1
specification not only opens the door to the age of UHDTV delivery but also
potentially sets the stage for Phase 2, the next level of UHDTV quality, which
will be considered in upcoming DVB work.”
Also approved at the DVB Steering Board meeting was the specification
for Companion Screens and Streams, Part 2, entitled “Content Identification and
Media Synchronization.” The DVB group said that as many new portable devices
(tablets, smart phones) have come onto the market, many of these transmissions
require synchronization between the Broadcast Service at the TV Device and the
Timed Content presented at the Companion Device.
“This specification focuses on the identification and synchronization
of a Broadcast Service on a TV Device (Connected TV or STB and screen) and
Timed Content on a Companion Screen Application running on a Companion Device,”
the committee wrote. “Part 2 outlines the enabling factors for the
identification of, and synchronization with, broadcast content, timed content
and trigger events on TV devices (for example a Connected TV or STB) and
related content presented by an application running on a personal device.”
Another specification to gain approval from the Steering Board was
the MPEG-DASH Profile for Transport of ISO BMFF Based DVB Services over IP
Based Networks. This specification defines the delivery of TV content via HTTP
adaptive streaming. MPEG-DASH covers a wide range of use cases and options.
Transmission of audiovisual content is based on the ISOBMFF file specification.
Video and audio codecs from the DVB toolbox that are technically appropriate with
MPEG-DASH have been selected. Conditional Access is based on MPEG Common
Encryption and delivery of subtitles will be XML based. The DVB Profile of
MPEG-DASH reduces the number of options and also the complexity for
implementers. The new specification will facilitate implementation and usage of
MPEG-DASH in a DVB environment.