Cobalt Digital Develops SDR-HDR Conversion Technology

Cobalt Digital has developed a new solution for converting HD and 4K standard dynamic range content to high dynamic range (HDR) for enhancing live sports and other broadcast productions.

The company said that by using its 9904-UDX-4K up/down/cross converter and image processor card for the openGear platform - which includes Technicolor HDR Intelligent Tone Management (ITM) technology - broadcasters can monetize HD and 4K SDR content for HDR distribution, as well as provide an HDR experience to viewers through an SDR feed.

Chris Shaw, Cobalt's executive vice president of sales and marketing, said the 9904-UDX-4K allows broadcasters to keep capital and operating expenses low while delivering visually superior HDR results and future-proofing their equipment investment.

For HD and 4K live sports, the 9904-UDX-4K allows production truck operators to create HDR signals from existing SDR sources, including cameras, servers, and legacy graphics systems. It also eliminates the need for sports productions to use separate SDR and HDR cameras and processing paths, and performs SDR-to-HDR conversion on previously recorded content.

Available as a software license upgrade for existing 9904-UDX-4K customers, Technicolor HDR ITM technology manages brighter lights and darker shadows to deliver sharper, more realistic images. While analyzing video content in real time, the technology has been fine tuned by Technicolor’s colorists to adjust luminance in the shadows, midtones, and highlights. As a result, broadcasters can expand content to a wider space and higher dynamic range while remaining as true as possible to the creative intent behind the original content.

Technicolor can also generate a single layer video stream to distribute SDR and HDR content with dynamic metadata through its SL-HDR process. As a result, when a network service provider transmits an SDR feed that was generated from HDR content, it will automatically deliver a full HDR experience if the viewer’s TV or set-top box is compatible.

“It’s easy to see the efficiency of delivering HDR content using existing HD and 4K equipment,” Shaw said. “That’s why Cobalt’s HDR conversion solutions have already been deployed by leading broadcast truck operators, major networks, and OTT providers.

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