The video industry has always worked to improve the TV viewing experience. More than a decade ago, the transition from SD to HD provided significant improvements to video quality. 3DTV was another attempt that failed to get traction and ended up with limited success. More recently, there has been much hype about 4K/Ultra-HD from the CE industry in effort to drive sales of high-end TV models with bigger screens.
On the service providers side such technological transitions have historically taken longer time as multiple elements need to fall into place. These include wide availability of new content, sufficient installed base of TV sets and reasonable cost of new equipment both on the head-end and end-customer sides.
While there is a clear push from the CE industry to adopt 4K/Ultra-HD, service providers are still struggling with the new value proposition of this new format. Various studies have shown that focusing on delivering more pixels will have limited impact on the viewing experience while incurring extra cost throughout the whole content delivery value chain. On the other hand, there is a general consensus within the industry that high dynamic range (HDR) video will substantially improve the user’s viewing experience and can unlock the potential of Ultra-HD. Efforts are underway to standardize HDR implementation within the end-to-end content delivery chain.
This paper outlines the key principles of HDR and reviews the remaining challenges ahead to enable mass commercial deployment of HDR video.