German industry association Deutsche TV-Plattform and the UK’s Digital Television Group (DTG) held their largest joint plugfest to date from December 6-8, 2016 at the Fraunhofer Heinrich-Hertz Institute.
More than 60 participants, mainly engineers and developers, from 29 companies attended the event in Berlin including manufacturers of TV sets, set-top boxes, AV receivers and UHD Blu-ray players as well as technology companies, infrastructure operators, research institutions, broadcasters and content providers. Around 250 test runs were conducted with 22 devices, focusing on interoperability (HDMI/HDCP) and High Dynamic Range (HDR).
“Considering the ever-growing number of Ultra HD devices and the very recent decisions regarding HDR standards, both interoperability and HDR capabilities – for both PQ and HLG – are on a very good level,” said Stephan Heimbecher (Sky Deutschland), board member of Deutsche TV-Plattform and head of its Ultra HD working group. “However, Ultra HD will continue to be a challenging topic for the industry as specifications in the field of Ultra HD and HDR are constantly evolving.”
HDR is considered to be a cornerstone for the development of Ultra HD and is expected to drive its breakthrough into the mass market. “With PQ and HLG now specified for HDR in production and programme exchange by the International Telecommunication Union in BT.2100, the door is open for European broadcasters to start Ultra HD services with HDR in 2017,” said Heimbecher. “The results of the plugfest are indicating that manufacturers will very likely support both HDR standards, PQ and HLG.” Until now, Ultra HD HDR content has only been available on certain Ultra HD Blu-ray discs and streaming services.
“It is very important that various procedures and specifications are tested in practice whilst new products are being developed, which is why events like this are so valuable for manufacturers, content providers and broadcasters. Plugfests are the best possible away to ensure compelling picture and sound experiences for their customers and viewers,” said David Daniels, project director, advanced AV at the DTG. “This was our third international collaboration with the German TV-Platform, and the growing number of plugfest participants since 2014 clearly shows that our initiative is considered invaluable by the entire industry. With the recent inclusion of HDR for HbbTV in our latest D-Book, we’re sure that the fourth will prove just as exciting.”
The Ultra HD plugfests held by Deutsche TV-Plattform and DTG since 2014 are open for members of both organisations as well as for interested companies and institutions. The fourth joint Ultra HD plugfest will take place mid-2017 at the DTG’s headquarters in London.