DigitalEurope have dropped a press release about their findings and recommendations on 4K resolution television. The head scratcher, well one of them, is the folks at DigitalEurope will be pushing to all of the major TV manufactures that UHD is OK to be 8-bit.

You may remember NHK have been down this road and have the International Television Unions ITU recommended ITU-R BT.2020 which puts colour bit depth at a minimum of 10-bits and a 12-bit option.

NHK themselves will run with 12-bits per sample RGB.

So why are DigitalEurope; who claim to have all major TV makers as members of their organisation sprouting ITU-R BT.709 colorimetry for UHDTV when that is the old garden variety for HDTV standards?

Here is DigitalEurope’s initial findings and press release:

Brussels, 30 September 2013 – In June of this year, DIGITALEUROPE announced the start of its work to develop a UHD logo programme for Ultra High Definition consumer equipment.

Today, DIGITALEUROPE announces its initial findings on the baseline capabilities of UHD Consumer Displays:

Native Resolution: 3840 x 2160 Pixels
Aspect Ratio: 16:9
Colorimetry: ITU-R BT.709
Colour Bit depth: 8 Bit
Frame Rate: 24p/25p/30p/50p/60p
Audio: PCM 2.0 Stereo

DIGITALEUROPE’s ‘Beyond HD’ Group have concluded that these parameters will form a baseline for Consumer UHD Displays from their first market launches for the short to medium term.

As display technology will continue to evolve, DIGITALEUROPE does not want to speculate beyond these baseline UHD characteristics until the consumer uptake of the new UHD products and services is understood.

John Higgins, Director-General of DIGITALEUROPE notes: “DIGITALEUROPE’s membership contains all of the major TV manufacturers and as such, is in a unique perspective to comment on how the nascent UHD market will develop. While many industry stakeholders speculate on the future UHD market, DIGITALEUROPE feels that the time is right to announce these initial findings to give some guidance to the market on short to medium term UHD Consumer Display capabilities.”

So while resolution is set to jump from 1920×1080 to 3840×2160 pixels in future television sets, F’all else will apparently under DigitalEurope’s recommendations.

Just wish they read the Recommendation ITU-R BT.2020

“Parameter values for ultra-high definition television systems for production and international programme exchange”


Here is an excerpt…

Ultra-high definition television (UHDTV) will provide viewers with an enhanced visual experience primarily by having a wide field of view both horizontally and vertically with appropriate screen sizes relevant to usage at home and in public places. UHDTV applications require system parameters that go beyond the levels of HDTV. This Recommendation specifies UHDTV image system parameters for production and international programme exchange.

The ITU Radiocommunication Assembly, considering

a) that digital terrestrial television broadcasting (DTTB) service has been introduced by some administrations since 1997 and can provide high quality television programmes through HDTV systems;

b) that viewers expect future TV systems beyond HDTV to provide improved characteristics compared with the current HDTV systems in terms of a more realistic sensation, greater transparency to the real world, and more accurate visual information;

c) that ultra-high definition television (UHDTV) is expected to become available in the near future with, inter alia, larger screens, higher spatial/temporal resolution, wider colour gamut, wider dynamic range, etc. taking into account developments of display technology;

d) that ITU-R has been studying extremely high-resolution imagery (EHRI) and an expanded hierarchy of large screen digital imagery (LSDI) image formats and has established ITU-R Recommendations: Recommendation ITU-R BT.1201-1 providing the guidelines of image characteristics for extremely high-resolution imagery, and Recommendation ITU-R BT.1769 offering the parameter values for an expanded hierarchy of LSDI image formats;

e) that LSDI is a system providing a display on a very large screen, typically for public viewing. This can be used in a wide variety of applications including programme presentations such as dramas, plays, sporting events, concerts, etc.;

f) that EHRI is a system offering higher resolution than HDTV and can be used for both broadcasting and non-broadcasting applications (e.g. computer graphics, printing and medical applications);

g) that UHDTV provides viewers with an enhanced visual experience primarily by a wider field of view that covers a considerable part of the human natural visual field with appropriate screen sizes relevant to usage at home and in public places;

h) that signal formats contributing to increasing the compression efficiency are desirable for UHDTV systems since they have a larger number of pixels than HDTV systems.

At IBC 2013 Eutelsat Communications, Globecast, Newtec and SKY Italia showed off that they had successfully completed a series of Motor GP live tests proving the reliability of an end-to-end satellite-based delivery chain for contribution of live images in 4K.

They of course went with what is best practice at this time in point, 10-bit, 4:2:2 resolution delivery.


Video thanks to Newtec Satcom:

If “best possible quality today” 4K acquisition and delivery practices by the leading broadcasters sets the minimum colour bit depth at 10-bit; then why is yesterdays 8-bit outdated colour space being pushed by DigitalEurope for future UHDTV’s?

Further reading on UHDTV recommendations for you:
The EBU “HDTV and What’s Next…” presentation.
SMPTE “Study Group On UHDTV Ecosystem” presentation.

Rec.709 and Rec.2020 diagrams used under creative commons from Sakurambo.

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