CES 2016 is approaching fast. In Las Vegas, the UHD Alliance - consisting of TV manufacturers, Hollywood studios and content distributors - will reveal their "Premium UHD" specification and logo, which will separate the wheat from the chaff.
The team had hoped to make the announcement at IFA 2015 a few months ago but there have been disagreements over specifications for HDR (high dynamic range). We have heard that some LCD manufacturers have pushed to set the level for maximum nits so high that the current OLED TVs would not qualify. On the other hand, OLED manufacturers argued that HDR is about much more than just a high brightness level.
The UHD Alliance, which consists of companies such as Dolby, LG, Netflix, Panasonic, Samsung, Sharp, Sony, Disney, Twentieth Century Fox and Warner Bros. has now confirmed that the “premium” specification has been finalized and that they will announce details next month at CES 2016.
- “UHDA will announce details of the new specifications and unveil a consumer-facing certification logo to identify products that can deliver the ultimate UHD experience at CES 2016” the Alliance said and added; “The specification outlines performance metrics related to resolution, high dynamic range, and wide color gamut, as well as recommendations for immersive audio, among others”
To prevent a watered-down HDR concept
High-end TVs such as Samsung JS9500 (SUHD), Sony X84C, Vizio’s Reference TV as well as LG and Panasonic's new 4K OLED TV already support 4K, HDR, and a larger color gamut (but not necessarily full DCI P3). However, several manufacturers have started rolling out HDR support on mid-range TVs (1, 2, 3) that do not have the hardware to reproduce HDR.
The Alliance wants to prevent this watered-down HDR concept by including all branches of the industry, including studio and content distributors such as Netflix and Amazon.
It is unclear whether high-end TVs from 2015 will be able to meet the requirements, but some 2016 TVs likely will. We do not know the specifications yet but our talks with the UHD Alliance suggest that we can expect something along the lines of 4K resolution, HDR (only OLEDs with higher brightness and LCDs with full local dimming), accurate color reproduce, and full DCI P3 color space coverage.
We will know for sure at CES 2016 that kicks off on January 6 in Las Vegas. If you are looking for a new TV to go with your new UHD Blu-ray player it is probably wise to wait a bit longer.