4K and HDR, More Than More Pixels: How New Market And Technology Dynamics Are Defining Next-Generation TV (2015)

By Ken Goeller, Vice President, Solutions Engineering Deluxe OnDemand™

As MVPDs shape their approaches to bringing 4K Ultra HD services to market, the emergence of High Dynamic Range (HDR) technology signals that they will soon have an opportunity to deliver a far more compelling viewing experience to their customers.

There’s no longer any question that MVPDs must move sooner rather than later to address market pressures that mandate a near-term 4K UHD offering.

Going well beyond the immersive bigscreen benefits of 4K, HDR supported TV sets combine greater luminosity, deeper contrast, and a broader color gamut to deliver a stunning picture unlike anything ever seen in mass market television. Just how important HDR is to accelerating 4K adoption can be ascertained simply by viewing a UHD set operating in basic 4K mode next to one equipped to support HDR.

Given market pressures and competitive dynamics, MVPDs can ill afford to wait for HDR to gain traction, even as 4K UHD services are in their nascent phases. Clearly, MVPDs must embrace a migration strategy that embraces the 4K UHD content that exists today, while allowing for the future potential of HDR.

Understanding the distinctions between the most prominent HDR modes and what’s entailed in the preparation of content for each, is the first step toward factoring HDR into a UHD service migration strategy. As shall be seen, an appreciation of what’s at stake and the attendant challenges, raises the question of what can be done to minimize time-to-market, lower the costs of delivering 4K services that meet consumer expectations, and futureproofing for HDR.

This paper begins with a brief overview of the UHD market, followed by a discussion on the bitrate impact on quality to enable MVPDs to offer 4K UHD content in this early state. We then cover the impact HDR technology is having on the quality of the UHD experience. Next, we turn to a detailed look at HDR technologies, the paths to market adoption and progress toward establishing the new workflow elements that will go into bringing this content to market

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