Technicolor, Sinclair Broadcast UltraHD With HDR

Technicolor and Sinclair Broadcast Group have announced what they are calling the world’s first successful broadcast of UltraHD (UHD) programming with high dynamic range.

The test was based on technologies they’ve proposed to be included in the next generation ATSC 3.0 broadcast standard.

High dynamic range improves the visual quality of UHD video by providing much better blacks and was much discussed earlier this year at CES in January, where many of the major TV set manufacturers rolled out new sets that were capable of displaying HDR and wider color gamut.

HDR will be a major topic at this year’s NAB but it does pose challenges for producers and broadcasters because it requires more bandwidth and increased file sides.

“We’re building a path toward new broadcast TV services that are appropriate for UHD and HDR,” said Vince Pizzica, Technicolor SEVP of corporate development and technology, in a statement. “We’re excited to reach the first milestone in our testing of real-world, challenging environments. This latest series of over-the-air tests confirms that Technicolor's HDR video solutions support broadcast at HD and 4K resolutions, as well as for standard dynamic range and mobile devices, presenting a whole new world of opportunities for broadcasters.”

The broadcasts used Sinclair's experimental OFDM transmission system and were transmitted “under real-world conditions outside of a laboratory,” the companies reported. 

The companies also reported that the broadcast delivered high quality HDR content broadcast at HD and 4K/UHD resolutions in a single-layer with backwards compatible standard dynamic range so that both HDR enabled and legacy devices were able to receive the signal.

During mobile tests, devices were able to receive a signal from up to 60 miles away.

In a separate test, devices were able to receive a signal at up to 120 miles an hour.

"With Technicolor’s tremendous resources, we’ve made great use of Sinclair's full-powered UHF 'Next Gen' development system and realized a full-featured ATSC 3.0 upper layer testbed that supports a remarkable number of capabilities,” said Mark Aitken, VP of advanced technology for Sinclair Broadcast Group, in a statement. “This accomplishment will allow broadcasters to envision new business opportunities and achieve fully scalable, robust audio and video capabilities for our viewing audience.”