ITU announces new HDR-TV standard

Andy Quested

Andy Quested

ITU has announced a new standard for High Dynamic Range Television (HDR-TV) that aims to build on its 2015-approved Ultra HD Television (UHDTV) Recommendation BT.2020.

ITU said that the latest ITU-R HDR-TV Recommendation BT.2100 will give viewers an “enhanced visual experience with added realism” and allows TV programmes to take advantage of new and much brighter display technologies.

The HDR-TV Recommendation details two options for producing HDR TV images: the Perceptual Quantization (PQ) specification; and the Hybrid Log-Gamma (HLG) specification.

ITU said that PQ achieves a wide range of brightness levels by using a “transfer function that is finely tuned to match the human visual system”, while HLG offers a degree of compatibility with legacy displays by “more closely matching the previously established television transfer curves”.

The new recommendation also outlines a simple conversion process between the two HDR-TV options and allows TV producers to choose from three levels of resolution: HDTV (1920 by 1080); UHDTV ‘4K’ (3840 by 2160); and ‘8K’ (7680 by 4320).

“This recommendation is the culmination of three years of intensive work by dedicated image experts from around the world. HDR images are stunning and this is another major step forward in television quality,” said Andy Quested, Chairman of ITU-R Working Party 6C (WP 6C), which developed the new standard.

“Programme makers today need a much wider range of options in order to meet the expectations of the different platforms they must supply, and this need for flexibility is catered for within the framework of a stable ITU-R Recommendation.”

François Rancy, Director of the ITU Radiocommunication Bureau, added: “High Dynamic Range Television represents an important step towards the virtual-reality quality of experience to be delivered by future broadcasting and multimedia systems.”

ITU is the United Nations-specialised agency for information and communication technologies. The organisation’s duties include allocating global radio spectrum and satellite orbits and developing the technical standards that ensure networks and technologies interconnect.

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