In an Admission that 4K Alone is Not Enough, UHD Alliance Unveils “Ultra HD Premium”

Not even a success yet, 4K video is now getting some enhancements and is being rebranded as Ultra HD Premium. Engineering experts have long said that 4K alone does not have the “wow” factor to jump out at consumers. Premium adds the visible attributes that manufacturers hope will make 4K a must-have for viewers.

The UHD Alliance, a group made up from leading producers, distributors and device makers has defined the Ultra HD Premium brand that requires certain minimum specifications to be met for content production, streaming and replay. The Premium logo is reserved for products and services that comply with performance metrics for resolution, high dynamic range (HDR), peak luminance, black levels and wide color gamut among others.

The specifications also make recommendations for immersive audio and other features. These advances in resolution, contrast, brightness, color and audio will enable certified displays and content to replicate greater image quality for in-home viewers than simply more resolution.

As the industry starts to set quality standards, camera manufacturers may be pushed towards offering higher-quality 10-bit 4K recording. Premium designation requires 10-bit capture, distribution and playback, meaning cameras must be able to record 10-bit footage to meet the standard.

Currently, many 4K cameras can only capture eight-bit files, limiting dynamic range and flexibility at the color grading stage.

“The diverse group of UHDA companies agreed that to realize the full potential of Ultra HD the specs need to go beyond resolution and address enhancements like HDR, expanded color and ultimately even immersive audio. Consumer testing confirmed this,” said UHD Alliance President Hanno Basse.

“The criteria established by this broad cross section of the Ultra HD ecosystem enables the delivery of a revolutionary in-home experience, and the Ultra HD Premium logo gives consumers a single, identifying mark to seek out so they can purchase with confidence.”

To ensure products bearing the premiun logo are certified and conform to the organization’s specifications, the UHDA has designated multiple, independent centers around the globe to handle testing. Companies throughout the ecosystem will work directly with these centers to have their products tested and certified.

Founded in January, 2015, the UHDA, has grown to more than 35 companies in two membership categories - Board and Contributor. In 2016, the UHDA will add a third member category, Adopter, for those who wish to license the Ultra HD Premium specifications.

Collectively, the UHDA member companies will continue to pursue advances in resolution, brightness, contrast, dynamic range, color and audio.

The UHD Alliance supports various display technologies and consequently, have defined combinations of parameters to ensure a premium experience across a wide range of devices. In order to receive the UHD Alliance Premium Logo, the device must meet or exceed the following specifications:

  • Image Resolution: 3840x2160
  • Color Bit Depth: 10-bit signal
  • Color Palette (Wide Color Gamut)
  • Signal Input: BT.2020 color representation
  • Display Reproduction: More than 90% of P3 colors
  • High Dynamic Range
  • SMPTE ST2084 EOTF
  • A combination of peak brightness and black level either:
  • More than 1000 nits peak brightness and less than 0.05 nits black levelOR
  • More than 540 nits peak brightness and less than 0.0005 nits black level
Distribution

Any distribution channel delivering the UHD Alliance content must support:

  • Image Resolution: 3840x2160
  • Color Bit Depth: Minimum 10-bit signal
  • Color: BT.2020 color representation
  • High Dynamic Range: SMPTE ST2084 EOTF
Content Master

The UHD Alliance Content Master must meet the following requirements:

  • Image Resolution: 3840x2160
  • Color Bit Depth: Minimum 10-bit signal
  • Color: BT.2020 color representation
  • High Dynamic Range: SMPTE ST2084 EOTF

The UHD Alliance recommends the following mastering display specifications:

  • Display Reproduction: Minimum 100% of P3 colors
  • Peak Brightness: More than 1000 nits
  • Black Level: Less than 0.03 nits
The UHD Alliance technical specifications prioritize image quality and recommend support for next-generation audio.

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