A collaboration between the EBU and Eurofins Digital Testing is helping to ensure EBU Members and the industry have a stable and secure set of guidelines to foster adoption and deployment of UHD technologies. Director of Engineering at Eurofins, Bob Campbell, explains what’s new about this certification and logo initiative.
2020 is set to be another important year for the deployment of advanced technologies that enable an intensified viewer experience for in-home entertainment. For TV manufacturers UHD (with 4K resolution) and High Dynamic Range (HDR) become the new baseline, and OTT services are starting to deliver 4K and HDR content, with national broadcasters following the trend with HDR versions of their original content. To further enhance the visual experience, attention is turning to the audio experience.
NGA – a significant addition
The addition of Next Generation Audio (NGA), which is now regarded as an essential part of new 4K services, is seen by many as a significant step beyond simply a “better picture” to really deliver an immersive and interactive experience. NGA creates a truly captivating sound experience, enabling the consumer to experience enhanced audio, wherever and however they choose.
The advanced personalization settings that can be enabled by NGA, especially important for accessibility, would allow users to interact with audio and adapt it to individual preferences. No two people experience audio in quite the same way, and no one mix works for everyone.
DVB standardized three NGA systems within its audiovisual coding guidelines (TS 101 154), as well as UHD resolutions, HDR and wide colour gamut (WCG), and the latest HbbTV specification includes these important technologies as well. Meanwhile, several broadcasters and OTT providers are trialling NGA technology from production to consumption. Additionally, the EBU produced NGA content at the Eurovision Song Contest 2019.
In August 2019, the EBU released Tech 3372, “a set of UHD/HDR service parameters which are expected to offer interoperability with the large majority of devices expected to be available on the European market from 2020”. The parameters in the document were drafted based on discussions in several EBU and related industry groups that include EBU Members and representatives of major consumer electronics equipment manufacturers.
Logo & certification
The final piece in the puzzle was a means to easily communicate to consumers that services and receivers are compliant with these guidelines. To meet the demands of consumers, manufacturers and broadcasters, the EBU partnered with Eurofins Digital Testing, a global leader in end-to-end quality assurance (QA) and testing services, to develop and launch a logo and receiver certification programme based on EBU Tech 3372.
The 4K HDR ImmersiveTM logo can be displayed on compliant devices and used in retail and for services by broadcasters and operators. For receivers, the logo signals compliance with EBU guidelines and international open standards, but still allows manufacturers to differentiate on performance and additional features.
Rather than competing with alternatives, such as Dolby Vision or the UHD Alliance, it is complementary, being the only logo scheme bringing 4K, HDR, WCG and NGA together and signalling interoperability between services and receivers.
Because it references open standards and guidelines from the EBU, DVB and HbbTV, it is not a new standard itself. It should help adoption and compliance, filling a space that isn’t addressed by existing manufacturer and consortium logos.
Finally the 4K HDR Immersive logo is backed by comprehensive test materials and a rigorous certification regime operated by a respected independent testing specialist. The 4K HDR Immersive logo has been adopted by several manufacturers already. It will be on all compliant 2020 LG UHD TVs scheduled to launch in Europe in March/April this year. Hisense are planning to support the new logo during Q2, on models from their new platform, while Vestel will support it on Toshiba branded models this year. Further announcements are expected to follow.