The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) issued Thursday the industry definition for high dynamic range (HDR) compatible video displays, specifying base-line standard SMPTE BT 2084 Electo Optical Transfer Function (EOTF) and SMPTE BT 2086 metadata support. Now all we need is a definition for what HDR is.

The CEA’s new HDR TV definition basically applies to how a TV recognizes, receives and uses HDR. It does not include performance parameters, such as minimum and maximum brightness and black levels needed to determine how “high” is high dynamic range. The CEA is leaving that up to the decision of industry groups such as the UHD Alliance, which continue to wrestle over the dynamic range dynamics.

More on the CEA’s definition of an HDR TV after the jump:

The CEA HDR display definition specifies a set of minimum attributes needed to accept, read and display HDR metadata.

“HDR provides a significant step-up in delivering an incredible viewing experience for the consumer,” stated Brian Markwalter, CEA research and standards senior VP. “We encourage manufacturers and our industry partners to use this voluntary compatibility guideline to provide greater consistency and clarity while ensuring compatibility and interoperability across the full content development to display ecosystem.”

The CEA said its “leading role in defining HDR compatible displays complements the work of other organizations such as the UHD Alliance that are reportedly developing HDR-related performance parameters and guidance for the video content, distribution and hardware ecosystem,” Markwalter explained.

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The CEA said “HDR is a new capability that promises to deliver an expansive range of brightness and shadow detail, further enhancing the viewing experience,” but that’s where it leaves off. Just how long it will take to arrive at a definition for HDR performance characteristics is unknown, as manufacturers continue to grapple with the different ways in which different display types, such as OLED TVs and quantum-dot-enabled LED LCD TVs, produce light.

OLED TVs start the dynamic range scale at absolute zero and work up in a series of steps of light, each equivalent to an F stop on a camera. New digital video cameras that produce HDR are equipped to handle 14 F stops or more, and that range of brightness from black to bright white is dynamic range (or contrast ratio).

In determining the definition for an HDR Display, the association said it collaborated with member display manufacturers, leading content providers and distributors and other technology concerns to arrive as necessary display characteristics for HDR interoperability.

Many 4K Ultra High-Definition televisions (4K Ultra HD) will include early implementations of various next-gen technologies, including HDR, wide color gamut and higher frame rates, which provide a more realistic and immersive viewing experience, the CEA pointed out.

According to the definition approved by the CEA’s Video Division Board, a TV, monitor or projector may be referred to as a HDR Compatible Display if it meets the following attributes:

Includes at least one interface that supports HDR signaling as defined in CEA-861-F, as extended by CEA-861.3, providing metadata extensions. (Editor’s note: CEA−861F includes a number of noteworthy enhancements, including support for several new Ultra HD and widescreen video formats and additional colorimetry schemes, while 861.3 outlines the handling of static HDR metadata extensions – an example of such an interface would be the latest HDMI 2.0a specification.)

  • Receives and processes static HDR metadata compliant with CEA-861.3 for uncompressed video.
  • Receives and processes HDR10 Media Profile from IP, HDMI or other video delivery sources. Additionally, other media profiles may be supported. (Editor’s note: HDR10 is a base layer format selected by the Blu-ray Disc Association for the next generation Ultra HD Blu-ray specification that specifies: 4:2:0 chroma subsampling, 10-bit color depth; EOTF SMPTE BT 2084 and metadata SMPTE BT 2086 MaxFALL, MaxCL, among other things.)
  • Applies an appropriate Electro-Optical Transfer Function (EOTF), before rendering the image. (Editor’s Note: An EOTF is the process in which digital code words are translated into visible light.)

The CEA said the new HDR interoperability guidelines build upon CEA’s work in supporting and promoting 4K UHD technology. Previously, CEA collaborated with its member companies to develop characteristics and accompanying logos to designate 4K UHD TVs, monitors and projectors, as well as 4K UHD cameras and camcorders, the association said. CEA also has implemented a variety of promotional efforts to help educate consumers and retailers about the new display technology.

A CEA spokesperson said at this time there is no logo associated with the HDR definition:

By Greg Tarr


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