CEA Redefines "Ultra-HD"

NEW YORK—In an effort to reduce consumer confusion, The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) has announced updated core characteristics for what “ultra high-definition” TV should mean when you buy a CE product that heretofore has been sold as 4K. As devised and approved by CEA’s Video Division Board, these characteristics build on the first-generation UHD characteristics released by the CEA in October 2012 that offered a similar 3840x2160 resolution for broadcast.

It has also been discussed publicly that 8K (7680 × 4320 resolution) needs a different nomenclature than 4K, so the terms “UHD-1” (4K) and UHD-2 (8K and higher) might be used in the future, once 8K sets begin to appear on store shelves; perhaps in five years’ time.

While confusion among TV set manufacturers abounds, the CEA prefers the term "UHD" to "4K" when referring to next-generation home TV sets. These expanded display characteristics, called “Ultra High-Definition Display Characteristics V2,” are voluntary guidelines that will go into effect in September 2014. Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of the CEA, said the updated attributes “will help ensure consumers get the most out of this exciting new technology and will provide additional certainty in the marketplace.”

Under CEA’s expanded characteristics, a TV, monitor or projector may be referred to as “ultra high-definition” if it meets the following minimum performance attributes:

Display Resolution – Has at least eight million active pixels, with at least 3840 horizontally and at least 2160 vertically.

Aspect Ratio – Has a width to height ratio of the display’s native resolution of 16:9 or wider.

Upconversion – Is capable of upscaling HD video and displaying it at ultra high-definition resolution.

Digital Input – Has one or more HDMI inputs supporting at least 3840×2160 native content resolution at 24p, 30p and 60p frames per second. At least one of the 3840×2160 HDMI inputs shall support HDCP revision 2.2 or equivalent content protection.

Colorimetry – Processes 2160p video inputs encoded according to ITU-R BT.709 color space and may support wider colorimetry standards.

Bit Depth – Has a minimum color bit depth of eight bits.

Because one of the first ways consumers will have access to native 4K content is via Internet streaming on “connected” ultra HDTVs, the CEA has defined new characteristics for connected UHD displays. Under these new characteristics, which the CEA said complement the updated core UHD attributes, a display system may be referred to as a connected UHD device if it meets the following minimum performance attributes:

Ultra High-Definition Capability – Meets all of the requirements of the CEA Ultra High-Definition Display Characteristics V2 (listed above).

Video Codec – Decodes IP-delivered video of 3840×2160 resolution that has been compressed using HEVC and may decode video from other standard encoders.

Audio Codec – Receives and reproduces, and/or outputs multichannel audio.

IP and Networking – Receives IP-delivered Ultra HD video through a Wi-Fi, Ethernet or other appropriate connection.

Application Services – Supports IP-delivered ultra HD video through services or applications on the platform of the manufacturer’s choosing.

The CEA said its expanded display characteristics also include guidance on nomenclature designed to help provide manufacturers with marketing flexibility while also providing clarity for consumers. Specifically, the guidance states: “ The terms ‘Ultra High-Definition,’ ‘Ultra HD’ or ‘UHD’ may be used in conjunction with other modifiers, for example ‘Ultra High-Definition TV 4K’.”

The CEA is also working with its member companies to develop a UHD logo to assist consumers in identifying UHD products in the ’materials and promotional activities. The companion voluntary logo program is expected to be launched later in 2014.