Geneva was the centre of the UHDTV universe this week. More than 120 media industry representatives from across the world came to discuss a ‘roadmap’ for the next generations of television. Much work remains to be done, but the meeting - which was titled UHDTV: VOICES & CHOICES, reflecting its highly inclusive and interactive format - revealed that there is considerable convergence on the aims of the industry stakeholders.
Future television systems may bring higher resolution images, but also other elements that will improve the viewing experience. These include ‘Higher Dynamic Range’ (giving the images ‘sparkle’), Higher Frame Rates (making for sharper images) and improved colour rendering. The meeting agreed that all of these elements will be important in the short or long term. The term ‘pixel’ is used as an abbreviation for ‘picture element’. The meeting’s view is summed up by the phrase UHDTV with ‘not just more pixels, but better pixels’.
Audio was also on the agenda of course. Indeed, one of the specific areas of convergence was that of the immersive sound systems that will be used in future television systems.
There are different timelines for starting services from PayTV operators and free-to-air broadcasters, whether public or private. While the first UHD broadcasts are likely to come from PayTV operators, there was a common view about the timetable for the overall introduction of the new TV systems.
This week's workshop offered great encouragement that all parts of the industry – programme makers, equipment manufacturers, and consumer electronics manufacturers – are willing to work together to ensure a future evolution of television which is successful.
More discussions are needed certainly, but the age of UHDTV has taken a major step forward.