IBC2016: HDR - What Happens Next?

In advance of the 2016 IBC Show preview, we’re sharing some thought pieces from industry experts, from the August issue of TVB Europe.

AMSTERDAM—High Dynamic Range is one of the most argued-about potential features of the second phase of UHD-1, otherwise known as ‘2160p plus’. Taking sides in the debate during the upcoming IBC will need more than Dutch courage.

David Wood

For those TV sets that will have high peak screen luminance, it will mean images with more ‘sparkle’. The quality improvement will be about one ITU quality grade and be viewing-distance-independent, for images and TV sets that can make use of HDR. Including it in the features for the second generation UHD-1 makes good commercial sense.

However, agreement on the best technical system to implement HDR has been more than slow. Does the world need a system that is essentially an extended version of the current SDR (Standard Dynamic Range) curve, and that will thus work on both HDR and SDR TV sets: the HLG curve? Or would a new curve, based on a perceptually optimized curve be better: the PQ curve? There are different views on the convenience of both, and on whether the public would actually notice the differences.

The ITU-R agreed (July 2016) a draft Recommendation on HDR for program production, which includes both HLR and PQ. The DVB Project is in the thick of discussions—ending later in the year—about what to include in the broadcast format. There are five proposals on the DVB table, one for using HLG directly, and a series of proposals using PQ, some of which include measures to make it possible to broadcast an SDR set-compatible signal, and put Humpty Dumpty—the full PQ HDR signal—back together again in the HDR TV set.

Is the answer to put them all in the delivery system specifications and let the market decide the winner, or to just include one or more? There’s a lot riding on this, as we will hear at IBC—for the success of UHD-1 and for the proponent companies. See you at the show bar for at least some Dutch courage?