back to article ITU adopts two ultra-high def TV specs

The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) has “agreed a draft new Recommendation on the technical details for ‘Ultra High Definition Television’,” but has decided that both 3840x2160 tellies, and future 7680 x4320 screens, both get the name UHDTV. You'd think the ITU would have learned from global confusion around just …


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  1. Denarius

    oh great

    more dubiously compatible gear to better display steadily devolving crap with so few notable exceptions. Bring back human to human conversations and good books, enough have been written. Even a historian or two have learned the art of writing to be understood by most literates lately. And no, Gibbon does not count IMNSHO

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Graham Wilson
      Thumb Up

      Re: oh great - - I agree (well sort of).

      I rarely watch television, so more of the same lousy programming in ultra high def will just pass me by.

      However, there are several virtues to resolutions of 7680 x 4320 and higher. For starters, we're getting to the point where we can almost read a broadsheet newspaper on the screen (except the standard should also allow for an inversion to 4320 x 7680px as not everyone wants to watch widescreen movies). For all sorts of large documents: art, manuscripts, newspapers etc. this is a wonderful boon.

      The other advantage of ultra high resolution screens is that it will force web creators to drastically increase the size of web page images. As it is now, web images are, in general, pathetically low resolution, over-compressed JPGs that look revolting. Super high resolution screens will put a stop to this nonsense as no none will watch the junk any longer.

      For similar reasons, it will also force a rethink of the practice of lowering image resolution for copyright protection reasons. Copyright holders will now have to decide whether they want to put images on line or not.

      Ultimately, cheap, lo-res cameras will go as their images will look grotty on such screens.

      And finally, ultra high screen resolutions will put a stop to web editors/builders that automatically over-compress uploaded web images, hence contribute to the junk image problem. Dreamweaver for instance is one of the main culprits.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Great TV but with all the crap being produced.....

      Can't wait to watch Coronation Street tonight in super duper extra HD.

      It's design over content and unlikely to go anywhere.

    4. LarsG

      Re: oh great

      Does this mean we will have 1000" HD Tellies in our living rooms? I don't think I have the space.

      Maybe you have?

    5. JDX Gold badge

      Re: oh great

      Nobody is stopping you from reading books, you grumpy old git.

  2. Jolyon Smith
    IT Angle

    UHDTV and UHDTV vs HD and HD Ready

    Same old same old really.

    They are both UHD, and manufacturers will be quick to adopt a differentiating moniker for one vs the other, allowing all players to claim "UHDTV" in their specs, while those targeting the top end and the cognsicenti will be able to set themselves apart in a way that doesn't confuse those too dumb to appreciate - or care about - the difference anyway.

    Exactly what happened with HD, with both 1376x768 and 1920x1080 panels being flogged initially as "HD". Only later did we get the "HD Ready" and "Full HD" differentiation, when manufacturers realised that there were some people who did know and did care about the difference and that they could use that to their marketing advantage.

    I predict we will similarly see "Full UHD" and "UHD Ready" (or some such) emerge in much the same way.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: UHDTV and UHDTV vs HD and HD Ready

      HD Ready didn't mean 720p. It was a term misused by the retailers.

      The term Full HD was dreamt up (by the sellers) to differentiate the higher of those two HD resolutions, and they then needed a still-optimistic-sounding term to mean the lesser of the two. So to indicate 720p they started saying HD Ready, when actually this term had a different and specific meaning that included 1080p equipment.

      It has really confused people including you.

      1. Chris Beach

        Re: UHDTV and UHDTV vs HD and HD Ready

        And you it seems like.

        HD Ready was initially for the plasmas screens that due to their design didn't have either 720p or 1080p resolutions, 1024x768 I think was common. So on the crappy little sticker they had 'less' pixels than the cheapo LCD next to them.

        But they did accept a 1080p, hence the 'ready'. And internally for plasmas the relationship between pixels on the screen and the content wasn't as simple as it is for LCD.

        This was badly expanded to include the crap 720p screens, so they could con the punters, as they could all accept HD, that is 1080p.

        So HD Ready has meant that the TV accepts a 1080p HD signal, nothing to do with its actual resolution.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: UHDTV and UHDTV vs HD and HD Ready

          Don't think I'm confused:

          HD ready meant that they had either 720 or 1080-line widescreen native resolution, and that they could connect to a future media player that used HDCP. This meant in practise that they had to have either a DVI or HDMI connector.

          So a display of <720 physical resolution, even if able to show material sent to it in 1080p, was not HD-ready.

          You might view it as a con that it included 720p, but at the time they were dithering between 720p and 1080i broadcasts at equal data-rates. Both are compromises. They regarded them both rightfully as big and equivalent improvements upon PAL-standard material and therefore HD. Depending upon the nature of the material they would choose one or the other, and neither was regarded as inferior.

          When display products all went to 1080p and people stopped talking about 1080i, they brought in the "Full" term. How official this was I don't know, but it was a marketing differentiator and it should never have been used as an opposite to HD-Ready; it was a subset.

          When the customer above looks to buy a bleeding-edge display of 2k or 4k resolution, he will be glad of it having a UHD-ready emblem on it, because it will indicate to him that it doesn't have a 'dead' interface.

  3. Dazed and Confused

    Wouldn't a simler scheme be

    Scrap the current crap about HD, because todays high will be tomorrows pathetic

    why not then just follow the camera convention and refer to mega pixels, since this is something many people have already at least heard of this.

    so todays HD and which can either be 768 or 1080 lines should become 1MP and 2MP and the new ones would just be 8MP and 32MP.

    As a self confessed pixel junky I can't wait to have a 32MP screen, besides it would give me an excuse to go out and buy a D800 to I could use all those lovely pixels. :-)

    1. Graham Wilson

      Re: Wouldn't a simler scheme be

      "As a self confessed pixel junky I can't wait to have a 32MP screen"

      Want higher? Well, you could go back to old fashioned antiquated photographic film emulsions. A 10"x8" photographic sheet has a resolution of:

      30,480 x 24,384 ==> 743,224,320 px

      [10" x 25.4 mm per inch x 120 lines/mm]

      743,224,320 px, and that's a comparatively small photographic plate these days.

      (No Smart Alec comments please about spatial resolution/modulation depth versus actual px. I know this is a rough approximation.)

    2. Graham Wilson

      Re: Wouldn't a simler scheme be

      "why not then just follow the camera convention and refer to mega pixels, since this is something many people have already at least heard of this."

      Whilst this might be alright for average person when it comes to cameras (and even then it's sloppy as aspect ratio should be specified), it's hopelessly inadequate for a TV standard. TV standards involve huge numbers of parameters of many different kinds: resolution, data rates, bandwidth, synchronisation, timings, dynamic range signal-to-noise ratios etc., etc.,

      Full TV specs can take up whole books.

  4. John Savard

    Already Noted

    It's already been noted that HDTV has multiple resolutions, such as both 768p and 1080i.

    Scan lines are visible when NTSC is blown up to the size of a movie theatre screen, so HDTV is worthwhile. I'm not sure that even 2160-line television is really useful for the kind of viewing involved in watching TV, but equipment capable of that standard would be appropriate for presenting feature films digitally in theatres.

    Given that, it might well be handy to be able to get camcorders at that kind of resolution, to be able to preserve what one records at a resolution comparable to film. And ambitious home theatre, with projection devices, for example, could perhaps benefit from that resolution as well.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Already Noted

      ITYM 720p, not 768p. (I know I'm being a pedant here but I hate the way those PC parameters keep creeping to places where they don't belong.)

  5. Robert Heffernan

    Frame frequency and so on.

    Honestly, they could use this opportunity to once and for all bin the whole NTSC/PAL thing. Those standards are old hat leftovers from a bygone era.

    Pick a single standard framerate, colour depth, etc and leave it at that for the whole world. There is no practical reason there needs to be local differences and any legacy content should be able to be converted to display regardless. My PC can display all kinds of formats, framerates, bit depths, etc on a progressive scan screen at 60hz refresh with on-the-fly rescaling and it looks fine.

    1. Graham Wilson

      Re: Frame frequency and so on.

      "Honestly, they could use this opportunity to once and for all bin the whole NTSC/PAL thing. Those standards are old hat leftovers from a bygone era."

      You can't do that. You mightn't watch it at home but they're still widely used. Moreover, there's nearly 70 years worth of plant and equipment and millions of hours of programming archives still in place. Most of this won't be converted until needed. It may be 50 years or longer before these standards fall into complete disuse.

      I don't know if you recall the 405-line TV system shutdown in the UK but it took 17 years after the announcement to achieve that--it's a lengthy process.

      Oh, BTW, I was watching some 405-line TV in last February on legacy equipment. Remember the 405-line system goes back to the EMI/Blumlein team which set the standard in the late 1920s. 405-line TV is an example of a TV standard that will easily make the longevity century mark.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Frame frequency and so on.

        Precisely the point - since there is not longer anything broadcast in Pal or NTSC (or there won't be by the end of the year) is there any point in making different digital versions, except in a pathetic attempt to enforce local monopolies?

        1. Christian Berger

          Re: Frame frequency and so on.

          You do realize that not only US NTSC still has that weird 60000/1001 fps framerate, but broadcast standards are actually diverging in the digital age. For example DVB features a powerful EPG in its standard which is used by German broadcasters to provide a 4 week EPG. In the UK this EPG is just used for "now and next" while the actual EPG is done in a proprietary and undocumented format.

    2. Christian Berger

      That can't work

      Because you need to be able to convert to and from those old standards you need to have whole ratios of framerate interpolation. Now if the US had 60 Hz, that would be simple. You could simply have 300 fps, which is 6*50 or 5*60, simples!?

      No, not quite, the US _had_ 60Hz back when it had monochrome television. When they switched t o colour they switched to 60/10001 Hz field rate. That weird rate is still used for US HDTV.

  6. Anonymous Coward

    3D didn't work, gotta think of another way to force an upgrade cycle

    I can see 4K being useful for some, there are TV size/distance viewing combinations where you can see the pixels on 1080p, and 4K (2160p) would eliminate that. 8K is useful for nothing other than looking cool when you're standing two feet away from a 150" TV and saying "wow, it looks amazing". It will, but once you sit down you wouldn't notice the difference it someone hit a button on the remote to change it to 4K.

    Even though it won't have a lot of people who really go out of their way to want it, 4K will be pronounced a success. But like 3D, it'll have high sales figures not because people actually go out of their way to get it, but because it'll be included on all the non low end TVs.

    The one good thing about 4K is that it'll make 3840x2160 the new standard on computer monitors. Unlike on TVs, 4K really is very useful on computer monitors, because you are sitting much closer to the screen and because you view a lot of static images on a computer.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 3D didn't work, gotta think of another way to force an upgrade cycle

      3D added a bit of margin. 4K and above is going to be a magnitude of order more expensive for the first release of sets... they will be larger and far more complex...

      1. NumptyScrub

        Re: 3D didn't work, gotta think of another way to force an upgrade cycle

        quote: 4K and above is going to be a magnitude of order more expensive for the first release of sets... they will be larger and far more complex...

        Not really, or rather only in the controller. My cheapo PC monitor is 1080p at 23", so a 46" set at the same pixel density is already going to be 4K. The biggest change is going to be data bandwidth and controller clock speed to be able to handle the image changes. I imagine Monster Cables are already salivating at the thought of selling "premium 4K cables" for their usual comedy markup.

        Alternatively (looking at mobile devices), you can already get 720p in a 5" screen, so it is entirely possible to have a 4k screen at a size of 15" (again, same pixel density)... a little too large for the next iPad, but will fit into a laptop easily enough, assuming the graphics controller can handle it ;)

        Actually if LG are indeed going to be producing a 1080p 5" screen, you could upscale that to a 10" for 4K, and there is your new iPad* "super retina display" ready for use.

        *(insert tablet of your choice there)

  7. Robert E A Harvey
    Thumb Up


    If the glass-makers start doing 4K screens some might end up in laptops and let me see the whole Logic5000 editor without desktop scrolling!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hurrah!

      The pr0n would be terrible!

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Supa-Dupa-Hi-Def-o-Vision (with smell-o-vision)

    1. Cut a 16:9 hole in your wall

    2. Enjoy the "realistic" (if largely unchanging) view

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Supa-Dupa-Hi-Def-o-Vision (with smell-o-vision)

      Did you just cut a hole into your neightbor's closet?

    2. ukaudiophile

      Re: Supa-Dupa-Hi-Def-o-Vision (with smell-o-vision)

      Whilst this can't be faulted on either technical or ease of execution grounds, I would have a major problem with content.

      I live in Lancashire, do you know how often you see a woman who looks like Charlize Theron or Cameron Diaz around here?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Supa-Dupa-Hi-Def-o-Vision (with smell-o-vision)

        Re: "I live in Lancashire, do you know how often you see a woman who looks like Charlize Theron or Cameron Diaz around here?"

        Do they only server low alcohol drinks in Lancashire?

  9. Barry Tabrah

    Staring deep into my liquid crystal ball

    I see televisions plastered with the number 8. Namely 8K compatble and 8 megapixels. Although they shall only be 4K televisions.

  10. davefb
    Thumb Up

    Great news

    Might finally mean larger resolution computer monitors since these seem to have stagnated at the hd-tv sizes ( without paying daft monies)..

  11. Andy The Hat Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Fabulous. With the average resolution of the human eye it'll mean I can sit 3 feet away from my 50" tv before I get 'Eastenders omnibus repeat +1' degredation ... sorry, I mean picture quality degredation on 'Eastenders omnibus repeat +1' (obviously the first is a mental inpairment, the second a visual one!)

    So the questions must be, who the hell has a room big enough to justify such a resolution and where is the programming coming from to justify it?

  12. Philippe

    What was wrong with 4K and 8K?

    just saying..

  13. AnoniMouse

    Elephants in the room

    Looks like another attempt by the industry to lure consumers into yet another buying cycle - off little real benefit to the consumers, but essential to maintain the producers' revenue streams.

    Just where is the additional bandwidth required going to come from?

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Happy with TV as it is - but want awesome Virtual Reality goggles

    Existing 1080p HD already shows up the lack of bandwidth of transmission standards, I shudder to think how bad anything higher rez would look over existing broadcast systems.

    My 37" is perfectly fine for my living room.

    a) I can only just tell the difference between SD Sky via SCART and Freeview HD on the TV itself from my viewing distance with my eyesight.

    b) if I lean forwards or move into the middle of the lounge the difference is pretty plain to see, and for a moment I think to myself "I could have bought something slightly larger." BUT then I notice that the glorious high rez is only when there's not much movement in the scene. If things get busy it all gets blurry as there isn't the bandwidth over the air to do it justice.

    I don't really want a large set, either the expense or the size of the thing.

    The only advance I want are goggles with screens built in - High-Enough-Rez, separate pics to each eye providing true 3D perception, a more immersive wrap-around field of view, so you really do feel "you're there".

    That will probably come one day, spurred on by the porn applications (as usual!), but I'll be eagerly looking forward to it for more innocent reasons too.... would be perfect escapism. I hope I live long enough to see what should be possible soon :)

    1. John H Woods Silver badge

      Re: Happy with TV as it is - but want awesome Virtual Reality goggles

      Sony already make some: Not really VR afaics tho, to me that implies movement of the picture correlating with movement of one's head.

  15. Alan Brown Silver badge

    Will they fit in a DVB-T2 stream?

    Just wondering....

  16. Len Goddard

    Content delivery

    How are we supposed to get these wonderful images into our homes? 8k pictures are approximately 16 times the size of 1080p. Bluray won't cope, we'll need a new format UV-ray perhaps? And of course some film makers want to go to 48fps instead of 24, or maybe higher. Add 3D to that and we'll need X-ray lasers in our disk players. Or we can rewire the whole country with multiple fibres to each premises just to deliver the ultra-hi-def adverts which will be the bulk of the content.

  17. Mark Uhde

    Maybe 4K, but 8K?

    4K has some marginal benefits at close viewing distances to large screens, at least in theory. 8K... nope. It's a stupid waste of storage and bandwidth and won't catch on for the same reasons film sizes larger than 35mm didn't catch on except for IMAX (GIANT screens). Regular HD resolution is great. It needs less COMPRESSION, not more pixels. It's the over-compressed 1080p crap that's the image quality problem, and quadrupling the pixel count will only make the compression artifacts more common as cable and satellite operators try to squeeze 4K images into their same bandwidth.

    Let's totally forget about 8K, it's so ridiculously above the limits of human vision that it serves no purpose whatsoever.

  18. Epobirs

    A nice prgression

    Having some standards well in advance of mainstream gear is a big help in getting that gear to reality. It may be a very long time before we have much of a home market for 8K but that will work very nicely for theatrical presentations while scaling very simply to the 4K and 2K used in homes. It will be a nice change to have one big file that can be pointed at a wide wide variety of playback systems and just work with no noticeable delay.

    I mainly want to see 4K catch on fast for monster home screens just to accelerate the availability of better resolutions for computer use. Right now there is a big premium for anything above 2K horizontal and the sooner that changes the better.

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