Articles You May Have Missed – May 30, 2018

A battle is brewing among some equipment providers focused on, you guessed it, more pixels. And, if history is any predictor, the broadcast and production industries may in fact soon be faced with managing images composed of approximately 33 million pixels. But do viewers really need 8K capture and display?

Video and camera expert, Steve Mullen, examines this question by looking at the science behind super-high resolution imagery. His article, Do We Really Need More Pixels? Maybe asks and then answers the question. Science suggests that more pixels is only a part of the solution.

This week’s second article looks at UHD and discovers that its rollout is being hindered by being inextricably bound up with the complexities of High Dynamic Range (HDR). Yet, the consumer TV industry is hoping for 4K consumer displays sales to kick off with the UHD HDR broadcast of the FIFA World Cup from Russia this summer. What if viewers decide that 4K HDR is good enough that even larger screens and pixel counts are unnecessary? Could that kill the drive by equipment makers to ever larger screens and pixel counts? See what the experts say in the article, Assessing The Progress of UHD.

We’ve all seen them. From the moment HD was announced, charts were created to show how screen-size and seating distance affect the ability—based upon average eye acuity—to see the additional resolution provided by HD. While these charts simply provide technical information, some folks used them to disparage the 1920x1080 format.

In 2004 the BBC found 720p50 was optimal for U.K. households: 2.7m (8.6-feet) distance to a widescreen TV of 40-inches (survey number) to 50-inches (future desired size). To see the full benefit of full HD, at the average U.S. seating distance of about 9-feet, screen-size must be at least 70-inches.

Years later similar charts were used to argue there is no real benefit to 4K (3840x2160). Now charts are being used to disparage 8K (7680x4320).

All this leaves open the question—even with 8K production and distribution, do we need 8K in our homes? The writer suggests this question is irrelevant. Just as 1280x720 was replaced by 1920x1080, and it in turn by 3840x2160. He suggests that 4K will be replaced by 7680x4320. At some point in the future, televisions will be 8K because that’s simply the way semi-conductor technology advances and set makers want to sell TV sets.

Read the full article, Do We Really Need More Pixels? Maybe to find out more.

Insight TV is amassing a hefty catalogue of UHD 50/60p and HDR in HLG format content.

Insight TV is amassing a hefty catalogue of UHD 50/60p and HDR in HLG format content.

Many consumers already have 4K TVs in their home, but probably don’t realize they are often mainly watching upscaled HD, or even SD, content on it, suggests Matthew Goldman, svp, Technology, Media Solutions, Ericsson. He continued, “Many probably wouldn’t notice a significant difference in quality, as they don’t necessarily understand picture heights away from the screen, and wouldn’t necessarily get a huge display to make the difference obvious, but know they have ‘the latest technology.”

While Sky and BT have launched successful UHD services without HDR, there is general agreement that 4K needs to be a significant visual improvement over the current technology (i.e. HD) or customers will not pay more for new sets.

“This is especially true on the production and professional facility side of the equation – due to the need to upgrade equipment that can handle the higher bandwidth required for baseband signals (~12Gbps),” says Goldman. “Content providers and operators have therefore been evaluating the ROI on delivering 4K versus the benefit achieved, and this has delayed some deployments.”

But if, as seems the case, the investment in infrastructure needed for HDR is relatively minor and can often be handled with current equipment, what’s the hold up? Too many HDR formats say many experts. See the article, Assessing the Progress of UHD to find out more.

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