Ultra HD Working Group

The Ultra HD (UHD) Working Group was established in July 2014 and builds on the successful work of the HD3D (2012/2013) Project Group and its predecessor working groups (HDTV and Video Quality Improvement as well as 3D HDTV). The group is headed by Stephan Heimbecher (Sky Germany) and, in addition to UHDTV in particular, deals with improvements of television audio and video quality in general. Also included are new developments in moving image as Virtual Reality (VR) - even if it will probably take some time before this new trend reaches the classic linear television on the big TV screen as mass market.

Right from the start, the German TV Platform, founded in 1991, has been concerned with high-definition television and played an important role in the triumph of HDTV in Germany. In addition to offering a communication platform to the industry, educating and informing consumers was a priority from the outset – through various publications, our own events, and a Web special with an interactive consumer tool. This commitment paid off: HDTV has become a mainstream phenomenon in the daily lives of German viewers. At the same time, stereoscopic (“three-dimensional”) television (3DTV) has not yet managed to duplicate 3D’s success in theaters.

Since 2012, the first Ultra HD devices offered by the CE manufacturer to consumers, this advancement of HDTV has developed dynamically. Meanwhile, there is not only an Ultra HD logo with minimum requirements for displays and a specification for the first phase of UHDTV but also industry quality labels for Ultra HD Blu-rays and for corresponding devices and content (Ultra HD Premium). At the same time when satellite operators, IPTV providers and video platforms increasingly movies and series run in Ultra HD - also first UHDTV channels are launched. But UHD with 3,840 pixels × 2,160 pixels is only a first step, as Japanese broadcaster NHK has already been working – for several years – on a system called Super Hi Vision, with 7,680 pixels × 4,320 pixels, which equals 16 times Full HD. Both formats have been adopted by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) as UHD 1 (3,840 × 2,160) and UHD 2 (7,680 × 4,320), respectively.

The German TV Platform started to address the subject of Ultra HD in 2012 with a project group called “Further Development of HD and 3D.” From the outset, this included aspects other than just the evolution of HDTV and 3DTV – the H.265/HEVC compression standard, to name just one. A complete overview can be found in publications such as the White Book “Beyond HD” and the "Update Ultra HD" (both available in German and English). These technical documents are complemented by consumers publications such as the “Ultra HD Shopping Guide”, a Ultra HD content-flyer and the brochuere "Ultra HD explained". Experts from member companies of the German TV Platform demonstrate UHDTV at trade and consumer shows and at our own events. An important contribution to the market success of Ultra HD are the UHD Plugfests - recently in cooperation with the DTG UK - involving in addition to testing of interoperability also on issues such as High Dynamic Range (HDR) and 3D positional audio.

“Before Ultra HD can follow in the footsteps of HDTV, says Stephan Heimbrecher, head of the Ultra HD Working Group and member of the Executive Board, “adjustments will be necessary along the entire production chain which will go far beyond boosting the resolution of new TV display panels. UHDTV will enter the market over the next few years in several phases and our working group is is actively involved. In addition, we actively involved with the overall quality improvement of image and sound in television and motion picture as a whole."

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