NAB: Technicolor, Vubiquity to Unwrap HDR Up-Conversion and TV Distribution Service

Mozart in the Jungle - H 2015
Courtesy of Amazon

High dynamic range — the ability to reproduce a wider range between the whitest whites and blackest blacks in an image — is getting plenty of attention in consumer electronics and home entertainment, but access to HDR in the home is currently limited to a small number of theatrical titles and OTT programs delivered to HDR-capable Smart TVs.

With an aim of growing the amount of available HDR content, Technicolor is partnering with content services provider Vubiquity to create a Vubiquity HDR up-conversion and delivery service to network service providers and content owners.

“This is about about making sure there’s going to be enough HDR content," said Technicolor’s vp corporate partnerships and alliances Mark Turner, adding that this would include creating live content such as sports as well as VOD.

A commercial launch of this HDR service is expected later in the year. Meanwhile, Technicolor and Vubiquity (led by CEO Darcy Antonellis, a former CTO at Warner Bros.) will be demonstrating the capabilities starting April 18 during the National Association of Broadcasters Show in Las Vegas.

The service will use two of Technicolor’s HDR technologies: HDR Intelligent Tone Management, which allows programmers to “up-convert” existing standard dynamic range content to HDR; and Technicolor’s HDR distribution technology, which is “backwards compatible,” meaning encoded video could be delivered through a single stream to both HDR-enabled devices as well as older TV sets with standard dynamic range.

Noting that Vubiquity already has a global network with hundreds of content partners and distributors, Turner reasoned that this could help “HDR experiences reach more consumers at a faster pace.”

There are varying HDR mastering formats that are being considered by broadcast standard bodies (primarily two referred to as PQ and HLG), but Turner said this service could support either. “You could get a live event produced in HLG or PQ,” he said. “There are enough [mastering formats] out there already. We’re focused on distribution.”