Ultra HD 4K and beyond: Rec. 2020 foresee the future of television

The International Telecommunication Union is the regulatory body that sets the parameters by which all televisions and accessories (cameras, etc.) work. Without them, every TV show would be different on each TV.

To assist in the adoption of the Ultra HD, otherwise known as "4K", they put sexy on the recommendation ITU-R BT.2020 survey. What does this mean for you?

Well, not much. Wait! Keep reading! It is true that these standards are for Ultra HD TVs, but they say a lot about where the ITU expects TVs and hopes to go. Keep in mind, the current standard HDTV Rec. 709, has been designed and developed in the mid 1990s and the end. Television and technology have come a long way since then. We have the technology ("we can rebuild"), to far more than Rec. 709 accurate.

Start with the basic things that you probably already know the coverage of various Ultra HD recently. Rec. 2020 specifies two resolutions, both with a 16:9 aspect ratio: 3,840 x2, 160 (what everyone called "4K") and 7,680 x4, 320 ("8K"). All rates themselves are included, from 24 to 60, as now - but a higher speed, 120 Hz, is also mentioned. This is interesting because the maximum frame rate is 60 currently available, and it is not yet available on Blu-ray. Check What is the refresh rate? and what is the "Soap Opera Effect"? For more information about frame rates.

Unlike Rec. 709, there is more interlaced, only gradually.


Perhaps the most interesting recommendation Rec. 2020 is the color much better. Currently, Rec. 709 provides as follows x / y coordinates for red, green and blue:
(R) 0640, 0330
(G) 0.300, 0.600
(B) 0.150, 0.060

These are the specific values ​​for the locations of these colors as shown on the small triangle in the table above. These colors are "OK", but certainly not as realistic as what we see in the real world. Nothing outside this triangle is not captured by the camera, encoded on the disc, or set correctly on your TV.

Rec. Color recommendations in 2020're crazy (in a good way):
(R) 0708, 0292
(G) 0.170, 0.797
(B) 0.131, 0.046

These are massively deeper colors than is possible today. All aspects of Rec. 2020, this is the part that I fear most likely not be implemented. These colors are so radically different (ie, better) than what we have now, it will take a lot to get current technologies to be able to produce them. Most TVs today are capable of a wider range of colors than Rec. 709, but not the range. According to sources I spoke, no TV today can produce these colored dots. This is probably a more difficult obstacle to raise technological 4K resolution. Maybe quantum dots or OLED can help.

The reference white, or color temperature remains the same 0.3127, 0.329 (D65, D6500 or). Why mess with what is already true? Wide-gamut TV today

It is interesting to note that the implementation of Rec. 2020 colors, or anything beyond Rec. 709 colors, it is not a good idea in the current TV. TV system, from the camera all the way to your TV needs standards to function properly. If there were no standards, as I mentioned above, all the TV programs do not look differently from all other programs on all televisions. It would be chaos. Since fire and brimstone coming down from heaven. Rivers and seas boiling. Forty years of darkness. Earthquakes, volcanic eruptions ... eh, you get the point.

As it is now established - or at least the way it is supposed to work - the television system itself does not add or remove anything from the camera to your TV, assuming the TV is calibrated. So you see exactly what was filmed by the camera, the more frills and added desired by producers or directors in television.

Extensive range of colors or more saturated colors or wildly, are added by the TV, correct image manipulation provided by the Blu-ray or cable / satellite box. Worse, there are serious problems trying to get accurate color if the TV itself begins with colored dots oversaturated. More precisely, if the TV is capable of crazy saturated colors, bring softness and create accurate color is intensive and extremely difficult. Thus, the entire range of colors to be precise, the less accurate the TV can ever be. I'll dig further into this in a future article.

If you like supersaturated, hyper-realistic color, that's your prerogative, but it is not true. And this is not what managers for you to see.

Bit depth
The other side of the conversation is the color bit depth, or how many shades of each color there. The TV system currently is 8 bits per color: 256 shades, less a margin on each side. This means that Rec. 709 is capable of a maximum of 16,780,000 colors (256 x 256 x 256 red green blue).

Rec. 2020 provides 10 or 12 bits. With 10 bits, which means 1,073,741,824 possible colors (1,024 x1, 024x1, 024). Yowzers. With 12-bit (4,096 x4, 096x4, 096), it is even crazier: 68719476736! 68 billion colors. Fight that skittles.

This is so exciting, ie finer shades of colors, smooth transitions from light to dark, and so on.

I got some flak being skeptical about Ultra HD small screen, because it is beyond what the eye can see where most people sat. Although no specific sizes are listed in Recommendation 2020 (obviously), there is this note: "Until 3840" 2160 and 7680 "4320 UHDTV systems find their main applications for the provision of television programs at home where they will give viewers a greater sense of "being there" and increased sense of realness using screens with a screen diagonal of about 1.5 meters or more and the big screen (LSDI) exposed in theaters, halls and other venues such as sports centers and theme parks. "It is 59-inches or more. Just sayin '.

Bottom line

Personally, I think the increase in 1080i / p for 4K/8K is the least interesting part of the Rec. 2020. Better color and bit depth? Sign me up. Unfortunately, it is difficult to say that the current version of Rec. 2020 survive to future revisions, and when, if ever, these revisions can be realized. The first version of the Recommendation BT.709 was approved in November 1993. Obviously, a lot changed between then and the most recent change (April 2002) and now. With Rec. 2020, ITU will establish guidance and direction for the next generation of televisions. Will it be 10 years before we see the TVs and content meets this standard? Is that the standard change? We shall see. It is, for now, a direction fascinating and hopeful.

If you want to read the full recommendation, ITU has a free download on their website.
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