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January 2017

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JANUARY 2017 T he year 2016 can be construed as pivotal in clarifying directions for the next steps in advanced digital television services and digital motion imaging production. In January, the newly formed UHD Alliance published their specifications for 4K UHD, and released their new logo identifying displays capable of portraying Ultra HD program material. The Alliance certifies UHD displays, UHD Blu-ray players and UHD content that meet their specifications. This specification includes spatial resolution of 3840 (H) x 2160 (V), 10-bit color depth, ITU-R BT.2020 color gamut WCG and high dynamic range (HDR) in accordance with the SMPTE standard ST 2084 EOTF. Of particular note are the two HDR spec options for consumer HDR displays: One, a combination of more than 1,000 nits peak brightness and less than 0.05 nits black level (that recog- nized the current state of the art of LCD displays), and the second, more than 540 nits peak brightness and less than 0.0005 nits black level (that encompasses the present capabilities of OLED). This important industry consensus offers a springboard for high activi- ty among the consumer electronics manufacturers in 2017 and beyond as they launch an expected broad range of competing UHD/HDR displays. This agreement was flanked by the initial advances of the new Ultra HD Blu-ray products. The formal announcement of the completion of the Ultra HD Blu-ray specification in 2015 was followed by first product unveilings at CES 2016 and by mid-year at least three companies com- menced sales of these players and the number of available titles started to ramp up. In 2017, it's anticipated that we'll see escalating competition between all of the major manufacturers and an explosion in 4K UHD Blu-ray titles. Clarity in the critically important standardization of HDR/WCG arrived in July 2016 with the ITU publication of the much anticipated new standard intended to flank their ITU-R BT.2020 — in the form of Recommendation ITU-R BT.2100-0 for "Image Parameter Values for High Dynamic Range Television for Use in Production and International Programme Exchange." This document affords equal recognition of the two contending television infrastructural ap- proaches to management of HDR — the Perceptual Quantization (PQ) and the Hybrid Log Gamma (HLG) promoted by the BBC and NHK. Conversion between these formats is possible. Guidelines to do so are included in the standard. Expect to see pioneering implemen- tation of HDR/WCG television services over the next couple of years as various delivery platforms explore both options for HDR systemization. Especially significant is the fact that the BT.2100 specification encompass- es 1920x1080 HDTV as well as the two levels of 4K UHD and 8K UHD produc- tion. This opens the door to a possible more rapid deployment of HDR over the next couple of years. Broadcasters and cable operators who have been hesi- tant about the substantial investments required to provide 4K UHD services are expected to begin applying the signif- icant enhancements of HDR and WCG to the 1080p digital production format to capitalize on the impressive upscaling capabilities of contemporary 4K UHD/ HDR consumer displays. On the 4K UHD production front, NAB 2016 saw four major camera manufactur- ers offering fully systemized 2/3-inch 4K UHD cameras for both studio opera- tions and outside broadcast production. The cameras can all originate very high performance HDTV with impressive high frame rate (HFR) capabilities as well as 4K UHD — ensuring future-proofing in their near-term purchase. The cameras were strongly supported by major lens manufacturers demonstrating their new generation of UHD field and portable lenses — all based upon the standardized B4 lens-camera mount. These new prod- ucts covered numerous major interna- tional sporting events throughout 2016 and this is anticipated to significantly expand next year and beyond. Separately, new large format cameras continued to emerge throughout 2016 and this is anticipated to continue in 2017. Canon celebrated the 50th anniver- sary of the debut of their Cinema EOS system with the formal introduction of the top-of-the-line C700 camcorder in November. This is an A-camera specifi- cally intended to support 4K/UHD/2K/ HD image capture having HDR and WCG, as well as choices in higher frame rates. It formally enters the market in 2017. BY LARRY THORPE SENIOR FELLOW IMAGING TECHNOLOGIES & COMMUNICATIONS GROUP PROFESSIONAL ENGINEERING & SOLUTIONS DIVISION CANON USA MELVILLE, NY USA.CANON.COM STEPPING INTO THE FUTURE OF ADVANCED DIGITAL TELEVISION OUTLOOK O OUTLOOK O OUTLOOK ACQUISITION

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