HDR Technologies for ATSC 3.0 Dazzle in Comparative Demos

HDR Tech Noland


Chair, TG3/S34 ATSC 3.0 Applications and Presentation Specialists Group 

In another key milestone in the ATSC 3.0 standards-development process, the ATSC conducted the first comprehensive comparisons of high-dynamic range (HDR) proposals for ATSC 3.0 next-gen TV.  The goal of the two-day event in late June was to provide a forum for demonstrations and evaluations of the various proposed HDR technologies for the ATSC 3.0 video standard.

HDR Tech Noland 2Technology proponents participating in the HDR demonstrations at CBS Studios in New York City were: Technicolor, Dolby, Ericsson, BBC, Qualcomm, and a team effort by Qualcomm, Samsung and Sharp. The BBC demonstration used the Hybrid Log Gamma (HLG) transfer function; Dolby, Ericsson, Qualcomm, Sharp and Samsung used the Perceptual Quantization (PQ) transfer function with various additional technologies; while Technicolor demonstrated a “transfer function agnostic” system.

An expert viewing area was set up with a wall of monitors – five consumer displays and 10 professional reference displays. Equipment also included a number of cameras, encoders, video servers, and more. Two live sets were constructed – one predominantly light and the other dark. The sets were carefully designed to provide a range of luminance and colors to both show off and challenge the proposed technologies.  In addition to content captured live, the demonstrations used pre-recorded content prepared in advance.

HDR Tech Noland 3On Day 1, proponents were given an opportunity to demonstrate their technology in any way they wished, using any of the available equipment and content. On Day 2, detailed comparative demonstrations were conducted using common pro-reference monitors and common content for apples-to-apples comparisons among the systems, including side-by-side demos of HLG and PQ using the same content shown on a pair of matching professional monitors.

After the formal meetings concluded, some attendees remained behind to conduct informal experiments, taking advantage of the incredible concentration of expertise and equipment.

HDR Noland Tech 4The ATSC thanks CBS for hosting this historic event at Studio 41, a historic location in its own right. Our host, CBS’s Bob Seidel, informed attendees that hugely popular shows, including “The Guiding Light,” “As the World Turns” and “Captain Kangaroo” all were produced in Studio 41 on West 57th Street.  The ATSC also appreciates the support of event sponsors, including Cox Media Group, Dolby, the National Association of Broadcasters, the North American Broadcasters Association, Pearl TV and Technicolor.