What is Ultra HD Premium? New HDR standard explained
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How many logo thingies do TVs need? One more, apparently, but what is ‘Ultra HD Premium’ and should you even care? Let’s see if we can unpick this mess.
Is it a 4K TV or an Ultra HD TV? If you know your TVs, or have read our guide What is the 4K and Ultra HD?, you’ll know there isn’t much difference at all. While there are, technically speaking, subtle differences between the two, they’re the same thing to the man on the street.
Now the UHD Alliance, a consortium of TV manufacturers, broadcasters and film producers, have ganged together to create a new thing – Ultra HD Premium. It’s a logo program that defines what technical standards a TV must meet to deliver a ‘premium’ 4K experience.
Confusing as that seems the intention is sound enough. If a TV has this logo then – within reason – it’s a cut above TVs that don’t have it.
But nothing is quite that simple. If you want the long answer, read on.
WHY IS THIS LOGO STANDARD NEEDED?
It’s necessary because of ‘High Dynamic Range’, herein referred to as HDR. Our guide, HDR TV: What is it and should you care?, goes into more detail, but HDR is shorthand for several trends that allow for brighter, more detailed and higher contrast pictures from your TV.
But, as with any new tech jargon, it’s open to abuse and that’s what the Ultra HD Premium logo aims to prevent. By defining a set of standards for what TV manufacturers can all an ‘HDR TV’, everyone can be clear what they’re getting is the real thing or not.
In short: if a TV has the Ultra HD Premium logo then it will support HDR content. The logo will also appear on Blu-ray discs to certify the film or TV show has been produced to the standard.
WHAT’S SO GREAT ABOUT HDR TV ANYWAY?
Seeing is believing, but I’ve seen films shot and mastered for HDR and the difference is significant. HDR footage is richer and more ‘real’ than anything we’ve seen before. Dolby Vision, another standard for HDR TVs and cinemas, has already demonstrated how good it can be. For a little more on why, read the piece linked below.
Again, without delving too deep into the details, what ‘HDR’ does is release films and TVs from the constraints of decades old standards designed for time when technology was far less advanced. But making this work requires big companies to work together because if one doesn’t play by the rules then everyone suffers.
WHAT MAKES AN ULTRA HD PREMIUM TV?
Here comes the science. There’s no easy way to simplify this bit, but here’s a rough summary of the technical bits.
Minimum resolution of 3,840 x 2,160 – This is the simple part as this is the resolution – the number of pixels that make up the TV’s screen – of 4K/Ultra HD TVs. There can be no confusion here.
10-bit colour depth – This means that the TV must be able to receive and process a 10-bit colour signal, which refers to the number of colours a video signal contains. Blu-rays use 8-bit colour, which equates to just over 16 million individual colours.
10-bit colour, often called ‘deep colour’, contains over a billion colours. This doesn’t mean the TV has to be able to display all those colours, only that it can process the signal. Most decent ones can, so there’s no problem here.
Minimum of 90% of P3 colours – ‘P3’ is what’s known as a ‘colour space’, a standard that defines the colour information in a video stream. Colour spaces exist to ensure that the picture you see at home looks right. Think of it as the language of colour in the same way English is a language with rules people agree on.
To qualify as an Ultra HD Premium TV, a TV must be able to display 90% of the colours defined by the P3 colour space. This number is what’s referred to as the colour gamut, or the number of colours a display can actually handle. So, a TV that can show ‘90% of P3 colours’ would be said to have a 90% colour gamut.
The higher the number, the richer and more accurate the colours on a TV.
DCI P3This is a comparison of different colour spaces. sRGB / Rec. 709 is the standard for current TVs and it covers only 80% of the colours available using the DCI P3 colour space. (Image Credit: Noteloop)
Minimum dynamic range – If your head is hurting now then things are only getting worse from here on in. Sorry. To qualify, TVs have to meet a minimum standard for the maximum brightness they can reach and the lowest brightness – known as black level – they can achieve.
Sounds simple right? Wrong. That’s because there are two different standards. They are:
OPTION 1: More than 1,000 nits peak brightness and less than 0.05nits black level
OPTION 2: More than 540 nits brightness and less than 0.0005 nits black level
The observant among you will notice that one demands higher peak brightness and accepts a higher (and therefore inferior) black level, while the other accepts a lower peak brightness but demands much lower (and therefore better) black level.
This is to accommodate the pros and cons of different TV technologies. LED TVs, which form the majority of TVs sold, support higher brightness but inferior black levels. OLED, meanwhile, can produce stunningly deep blacks, but aren’t as bright.
In other words, the alliance has found a way to make everyone happy. Hurrah!
If you’re interested, our guide to OLED vs LED LCD explains the differences between these rival technologies. And if you’re wondering about Plasma TVs, wonder no longer: they’re dead. No one makes them anymore.
COULD MY CURRENT TV BE ULTRA HD PREMIUM?
TVs could be certified Ultra HD Premium retroactively, but few TVs released in 2015 can meet the standard. So, if you’re interested in HDR, you’ll probably need a new TV. That said, any top-end TV from 2015 is still mighty fine, so there’s no need to feel sad about it.
WHAT ELSE WILL I NEED?
If you buy one of this year’s shiny new TVs with the Ultra HD Premium logo, you’ll need more kit to enjoy the benefits. First, you’ll need an Ultra HD Blu-ray player – no, your current Blu-ray player won’t cut it sadly. You’ll also need an Ultra HD Blu-ray disc mastered for HDR. Both the players and the discs, like the TVs, will start appearing throughout 2016.
Netflix and Amazon have already started working on streaming HDR content, however, so Blu-rays won’t be the only source.
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A geostationary orbit (or Geostationary Earth Orbit – GEO) is a geosynchronous orbit directly above the Earth’s equator (0° latitude), with a period equal to the Earth’s rotational period and anorbital eccentricity of approximately zero. An object in a geostationary orbit appears motionless, at a fixed position in the sky, to ground observers. Communications satellites and weather satellites are often given geostationary orbits, so that the satellite antennas that communicate with them do not have to move to track them, but can be pointed permanently at the position in the sky where they stay. Due to the constant 0° latitude and circularity of geostationary orbits, satellites in GEO differ in location by longitude only.
The notion of a geosynchronous satellite for communication purposes was first published in 1928 (but not widely so) by Herman Potočnik. The idea of a geostationary orbit was first disseminated on a wide scale in a 1945 paper entitled “Extra-Terrestrial Relays — Can Rocket Stations Give Worldwide Radio Coverage?” by British science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke, published inWireless World magazine. The orbit, which Clarke first described as useful for broadcast and relay communications satellites, is sometimes called the Clarke Orbit. Similarly, the Clarke Beltis the part of space about 36,000 km (22,000 mi) above sea level, in the plane of the equator, where near-geostationary orbits may be implemented. The Clarke Orbit is about 265,000 km (165,000 mi) long.
Geostationary orbits are useful because they cause a satellite to appear stationary with respect to a fixed point on the rotating Earth, allowing a fixed antenna to maintain a link with the satellite. The satellite orbits in the direction of the Earth’s rotation, at an altitude of35,786 km (22,236 mi) above ground, producing an orbital period equal to the Earth’s period of rotation, known as the sidereal day.
A geostationary orbit can only be achieved at an altitude very close to 35,786 km (22,236 mi), and directly above the equator. This equates to an orbital velocity of 3.07 km/s (1.91 mi/s) or a period of 1,436 minutes, which equates to almost exactly one sidereal day or 23.934461223 hours. This makes sense considering that the satellite must be locked to the Earth’s rotational period in order to have a stationary footprint on the ground. In practice, this means that all geostationary satellites have to exist on this ring, which poses problems for satellites that will be decommissioned at the end of their service lives (e.g., when they run out of thruster fuel). Such satellites will either continue to be used ininclined orbits (where the orbital track appears to follow a figure-eight loop centered on the equator), or else be elevated to a “graveyard”disposal orbit.
A worldwide network of operational geostationary meteorological satellites is used to provide visible and infrared images of Earth’s surface and atmosphere.
Most commercial communications satellites, broadcast satellites and SBAS satellites operate in geostationary orbits. (Russian television satellites have used elliptical Molniya and Tundra orbits due to the high latitudes of the receiving audience.) The first satellite placed into a geostationary orbit was the Syncom-3, launched by a Delta-D rocket in 1964.
A statite, a hypothetical satellite that uses a solar sail to modify its orbit, could theoretically hold itself in a “geostationary” orbit with different altitude and/or inclination from the “traditional” equatorial geostationary orbit.
How to protect your electrical equipment, some Tips!
Seth Pittham, aka, vintage amp doctor.
Well, I have written about Old TVs and radios, HiFi in the 50s-60s, servicing with a personal view of how things have changed. For better or for worse. In Britain, in the ´50-60s, you would have probably had only a few several electrical goodies. A wireless, iron, emersion heater, perhaps a record player, fridge and if you earned a little bit more than Mr. Average, you may have had a radiogram, TV set and tape recorder! All these things were quite basic, generally well built and all working nicely without sight of a microprocessor controlling the whole shooting match. What a contrast compared with today? The electrical supply in the 50s, depending on where you lived was not particularly friendly. It would go up and down depending on the number of fires plugged in and had all kinds of electrical “noise” and rubbish superimposed on it as a result of trams and so on. Bit like the supply here I hear you say?
A significant number of repairs undertaken during my four years being here have been the result of either bad mains supply or lightning damage. Almost everything we now have has a microchip built in. These little things work on a tiny amount of power and as a result, can be put to death by a minor mains disturbance. Not wanting to shoot myself in the foot, as I like fixing broken things for people, here are a few tips to help you having to pay to have something repaired.
Lightning. Now, the amount of energy contained in the lightning that hits the Eiffel Tower each year, could light the whole of Birmingham. I know that’s in France (Eiffel Tower, not Birmingham) so of course it doesn’t matter, but it proves a point. It could wreak havoc if it hit near your little house. If lightning hits the phone and or power lines connected to your house, your electrical gear will get a nasty awakening. If it hits the ground near you house, the Earth “ground potential” will rise sharply, potentially causing problems as well. So, if you are subject to a storm, for its duration here are some suggestions:
1 Unplug electrically sensitive items from the mains supply. i.e. TVs, DVDs, VCRs, TDT and Sky Boxes and of course your PC or Laptop.
2 Be worthwhile removing the aerial connection from your TDT box and unscrew the satellite dish feeds to your Sky Box. If a dish or aerial gets hit, the lightning discharge can easily travel through the connecting cables, damaging your TV.
3 If you have a telephone, broadband router and or microwave phone and internet, it’s worth unplugging your routers and cordless phones from the wall sockets. A local strike could easily damage your router and anything connected to it, normally your PC.
Mains power. Interruptions in the mains power supply can be anything from annoying to destructive. In the best case, a short power drop means that you have to get up and go through the “setting up your Sky box routine” and reset your PC. In the worst case, if the electric comes back on accompanied by a nasty surge or “spike” of current, the internal power supplies of Sky Boxes, TVs, PCs and so can be damaged. One way of reducing this risk (apart from having the now mandatory, Interruptor De Sobre Potencia device fitted to your incoming supply), is the use of an Uninterruptible Power Supply or UPS. This is a little box that sits quietly between the mains supply and your equipment. It has a battery built in which is always being charged. When it detects the electric has gone, it cuts in and seamlessly provides your equipment with a synthesized mains supply. Now, not only do you have a chance to save the documents on your PC, no need to reset your Sky Box, but these boxes also prove a degree of protection against these nasty mains “spikes”. Most of the UPS boxes also provide a protection circuit for you telephone / broadband line, filtering out surges etc. safe guarding your router. There’s a thought, not having to spend 5 days talking to Telefonica! The amount of time the UPS runs for in the absence of mains and the number of items it can supply will determine its price. As a rough guide, to supply a Sky Box, DVD, PC for about 15 minutes will cost 40-80€. These are great things to have if you are on a Builders supply and being fed via a generator. Say no more. If you want advice on what to buy and where to buy these units, please feel free to contact me.
TV sets, what to buy, when to repair, how to look after…….
From Seth Pittham . aka The Vintage Amp Doctor.
There comes a time, inevitably, when your old TV set eventually goes to meet its´ maker either suffering a serious illness or being beyond economical repair. In the ‘50s and ‘60s TV sets were not overly reliable so renting was the best option. In ’67 we saw colour TV enter the scene. These sets were initially a mix of transistors and valves, more valves. Now, loads of heat was developed which, as I will discuss later, is not a good thing to have! In the ‘70s – ‘80s, sets had become all solid state (transistors and Integrated Circuits). A large percentage of sets were made in Japan and the far east and were reliable. Buying was a more economical bet and rental shops became history.
So, what to buy nowadays? Your old type TV (glass tube type) probably gave you 10 years service without fuss. Things are not quite the same present day. So, here are a few things to look out for.
Firstly, LCD, Plasma, LED etc..
LCD technology is similar to the screen on your laptop. A layer of liquid crystals are sandwiched between layers of glass in front of a backlit screen. Light comes from tiny fluorescent tubes. The crystals flip open when required, letting light through.
Plasma technology is based on tiny cells, red, green and blue. When energised by a high voltage, the gas in the cells, very quickly turn to plasma, causing the pigment in the cell to shine.
LCD (LED backlight) is similar to LCD above, but the back light comes from thousands of little LEDs. These LEDs are similar to the ones in those bright torches.
LED Technology is the latest. The screen is based on tens of thousands of tiny LEDs, red, green and blue. What you see here, like plasma, is a direct light source.
Some, pros, cons and so on.
Depends on what you want the set for. Lets assume that any set bought is HD ready (higher resolution, but only if you have a HD source!).
Reliability. By nature of the way they work, Plasma TVs generate more heat than the other types. As I said, that’s not a good thing with electronic gear. A set could consume say, 300 watts. 60 of which comes out the front as light, the rest heats up the front room. With LCD sets, the heat is mainly generated in the backlight tubes and the associated power supply and drive systems. The sets consume less power and therefore generate less heat. LCD (LED backlight) sets use less power still. LED sets are probably the most efficient and heat is minimal. So, from my experience and general industry feeling; LCD is probably more reliable than Plasma, LED being new technology, not enough data as yet.
What to buy. If you want a smallish (less that 32” say) TV for the kids, bedroom, games and so on, then a LCD set is probably wise from a cost point of view. For a main living room, where you are looking at a 42” or more, then a plasma may be best. LED would be equally as good.
One thing to look for when buying a flat screen set, is how it deals with a high speed motion picture or images. The picture you see has been massively digitally processed. A mark of the set’s quality is the speed at which all the data can be handled. Get yourself a DVD of some fast action scenes. Waterfalls are great testers. If the image is all juddery, you may find it annoying. Some sets have a built in test image for sales reasons. They invariable are stationary or slow motion. I wonder why?!
Some things to think of!
- If the set is for games, best get a LCD or LED (if you can afford it). Plasma screens can be susceptible to screen burns, where a still bright image stays on the screen in the same place. LCD and LED will not suffer this.
- Make sure that you leave ventilation around the set. Don’t place it with the back facing a window where the sun comes in. That can add 30 degrees to the working temperature. Don’t mount it above a hot fireplace.
- Warranty. Make sure you know exactly what the warranty consists of, how long it runs and what happens when the set packs up. Do you have to take it to a repair agent (miles away), does a man in a van come out… Make sure it’s written down! Keep the invoice!
- It’s worth using a UPS (uninterruptible power supply) in the mains supply, as I mentioned in my last article. This will prevent mains disturbances damaging the set.
- When transporting Plasma sets, always keep them upright. Don’t lay them down on their screens or backs.
- As rough guide, a LCD or Plasma tends to run for about 3 years, before you have to attend a fault. You may want to factor that in.
- When buying a set, if it is going to be your main set, get a branded name. Panasonic, Philips, Pioneer if you have some extra cash, would be worth considering. LG spares are probably more widely available. Many sets use LG chassis, badged as different names. I am not saying supermarket brands are poor quality. For a second low usage set, that would be fine. Some of these sets use internal parts made by big manufacturers and a good value. However, you can never be sure. Again, buying from these big chains, check the warranty terms.
So, I hope the above helps. If you want any help, always give me a call or drop me line.
ANOTHER IMPORTANT NOTE
DUE TO STRONG WINDS EXPERIENCED WHOEVER YOU CHOOSE TO DO YOUR SATELLITE DISH LOOK TO POSSIBLY HAVE THE DISH INSTALLED SHELTERED OR BETTER STILL FITTED WITH LONG THREADED BOLTS THROUGH THE WALL SO IT CAN BE BOLTED & CLAMPED ON BOTH SIDES. IT WILL SAVE YOU THE COST OF A NEW DISH & ALSO THE COST OF ANY DAMAGE IT MAY CAUSE WHEN HITTING THE GROUND. I HOPE THIS IS A PIECE OF USEFULL ADVICE.
Gary Satellite Aerials Home Cinema
Something of Interest
Arthur C Clarke was not the first to suggest using geostationary orbits – his ideas built on earlier work by Herman Potocnik and Konstantin Tsiolkovsky.
His conceptual leap, outlined in a 1945 article in Wireless World magazine, was to propose using a set of satellites in geostationary orbit to form a global communications network.
|GEOSTATIONARY SATELLITES1. Geostationary satellites”parked” over equator travel at same direction and speed as Earth revolves. Each “footprint” covers 40% of globe. Directional antennae are aimed and fixed in position with no need for tracking
2. Satellites at lower orbits must travel faster than Earth revolves to avoid being pulled out of orbit by gravity, so they need tracking. Many do not follow an equatorial path
The key property of a satellite orbiting precisely 35,786 km (22,240 miles) above the equator is its speed, which mimics the rotation of the Earth below. So it remains always over the same place.
The first satellite was placed into geostationary orbit in 1964, just 19 years after Sir Arthur’s paper.
Syncom 3 orbited above the Pacific Ocean and beamed pictures from the Tokyo Olympics to the US later that year – the first trans-Pacific TV transmission.
Networks of satellites in this orbit now provide services including phone calls, data transmission, and TV signals for most of the world’s inhabited regions.
Meteorological and ground observation satellites also follow the path Sir Arthur mapped out, and the term Clarke Orbit is sometimes used to describe their trajectory.
What he did not foresee was the development of the transistor and later the integrated circuit, which mean satellites are far smaller than the objects he sketched out, which would have used valve technology and needed regular maintenance.