• Ian Nock

HDR service and TV capabilities in 2019

High dynamic range is being touted as the key element that will ensure the proliferation of 4K TV. Leading Ultra HD consultant Ian Nock explains how this is going to happen and why it will be easier than some assume.

2018 was a ground-breaking year for Ultra HD/ high dynamic range (UHD HDR) with many significant events being broadcast/ delivered in the format. These included the World Cup in Russia, Wimbledon and the French Open, as well as many platform launches.

According to statistics released by satellite operator Eutelsat, where there were just 99 UHD channels in April 2018, this had grown to 142 by November 2018. In addition, the Ultra HD Forum’s list of commercially available UHD services had over 50 separate platforms in place by the end of 2018.

In choosing a TV to receive UHD, and particularly one with HDR, you will invariably hear discussions about there being ‘many formats’, ‘format confusion’ and ‘incompatibility’. These may make it look like there are major problems, but the reality is not so bleak. In making any analysis it is essential to distinguish between the issues that affected UHD HDR pre-2016 standardisation and the current situation. The first point is that there are only really two main HDR formats that should be considered – PQ and HLG – not the many formats as reported. These two formats are the foundation for UHD HDR services deployed to consumers.

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