www.tvtechnology.com TV TECHNOLOGY July 2020
IN THE NEWS
What HDMI 2.1 Could Mean for 8K, HDR When will the standard become available? BY JAMIE CARTER, HENRY ST LEGER NEW YORK—What is HDMI 2.1? The new standard for HDMI connectors was confirmed back in November 2017, but has yet to trickle down into mass-market television hardware. When it does though, it will mark a big step for both the AV industry and the home viewers wanting to get the most of their TV series, films, broadcasts, and gaming consoles. When High Definition Multimedia Interface (or HDMI) first arrived on the scene, everyone rejoiced at no longer having to use bulky SCART connectors, or those confusing component video cables, ever again. Instead HDMI offered high definition video with a connector that was just a little bigger than a standard USB plug. Over the years the HDMI standard has seen continuous improvement, with extra features being added as the needs of televisions have changed. HDMI 2.1 is the next step in that process. The headline feature here is support for 8K content at 60fps, but there are also a number of minor features that add
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the aggressive rollout of 5G, live video transmissions will continue to grow exponentially. Cloud-based footage ingest gives producers of news, sports, esports, or entertainment shows the capability to
Experts agree that user-generated content (UGC) will continue to become a more prominent part of programming. acquire content from unlimited concurrent live feeds from multiple sources. This can include professional cameras, encoders drones, mobile phones, and online sources including RIST, RTMP, RTSP, MPEG-TS, WebRTC, SRT, HLS and MPEG-Dash. WebRTC applications are particularly important because they remove app dependency, enabling anyone to con-
up to a much more capable standard such as support for Variable Refresh Rates, Dynamic HDR and Quick Media Switching, which should make it faster than ever to change between the devices attached to your television. Here’s a rundown of everything
that’s due to arrive with the new standard:
tribute live video to production without the need to install an app—an aspect that is crucial in urgent and time-critical situations. When combined with talkback/IFB functionality, this feature can be used for remote interviews, call-ins, getting voices live from the scene by switching the program to the on-site mobile reporter, remote talent, fans in a football stadium or even a citizen who is in the vicinity of an incident.
leveraged for signal searches, highlighting scaling ingestion and ease of use during production scenarios, and demonstrating exception-based monitoring and resolution scenarios. As streams from multiple inputs are ingested, they become available in a collated into a browser-based master control room with a continuous playback multiview. In addition to being recorded, every frame can be indexed, making live sources searchable, to find the best out of the mess. Using location or other ML inserted metadata (like objects detected in frames), content creation is simplified for the editorial teams as they can filter contributors and explore sources by configured inputs such as professional cameras, mobile contributions, and geolocations. Production managers could, for example, use such technology to narrow down on team-specific or even athlete-specific feeds from a raft of incoming contributions, both professional and user-generated.
OPTIMIZED PRODUCTION WITH MACHINE LEARNING As broadcasters continue this transition to live video over IP networks, especially when combined with cloud-based live signal acquisition to unlock an unlimited number of sources, they will find a treasure trove of content. However, managing several hundred live fan feeds like the NFL Draft, or thousands of citizen journalist feeds, the sheer volume can become overwhelming for any production team to manage. Luckily, machine-learning applications, running on cloud-based infrastructure, can simplify mass content acquisition by automating manual tasks in the video workflow. These APIs can be
RESOLUTION AND REFRESH RATES The new HDMI 2.1 cables will allow faster refresh rates, including 8K resolution video at 60 frames per second and
Joseph Hopkins is senior vice president of Business & Corporate Development at LTN Global.
4K at 120 frames per second—and it’s that second feature that will be the real selling point for gamers and home cinema geeks, at least at first. “We’ve increased resolutions and frame rates significantly,” Jeff Park, director of marketing at HDMI Licensing, told TechRadar at CES 2017, adding at the time that the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games were going to be a driver for 8K TV content. “NHK [Japan’s national public broadcaster] is going to push 8K120 as an actual broadcast stream, and many consumer electronics manufacturers want to hit that target, so we’re laying the pipe to give the industry flexibility. It’s practical stuff.” Although it’s about keeping HDMI at the bleeding edge, HDMI 2.1 can actually go ever further, supporting resolutions as high as 10K at 120Hz—though that kind of capability is a while away from being supported on commercial sets. DO I REALLY NEED 8K ANYWAY? You may be skeptical of whether you even need 8K-capable hardware and connectors. And maybe you don’t: most content you’ll be watching on your TV will be in SDR or HD, and the industry is still adjusting to the flurry of 4K capable sets released to market. Isn’t this all preemptive? Even if 8K TV isn’t on your radar, though, HDMI is looking ahead to its uses in VR, says Park. “8K content will have to follow, but it’s not all about linear content these HDMI 2.1, PAGE 19
TV Technology - 0451 - July 2020