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UHD Alliance Coming To The Small Screen

Requirements to be unveiled at MWC 1/13/2017 10:15:00 AM Eastern

The UHD Alliance (UHDA) has developed performance criteria that battery-powered devices such as smartphones, tablets and laptops must meet to deliver what the group calls a premium video experience, the group announced at CES.

Through its current Ultra HD Premium certification program, the alliance certifies 4K TVs, 4K Blu-ray players, and content masters as delivering a premium experience. For consumer TVs, the criteria include minimum 4K resolution along with minimum requirements for bit depth, dynamic range, and color gamut.

“The continued and growing demand for video on portable devices makes the category a key component of the rapidly expanding Ultra HD ecosystem,” the group said. 

Though the alliance didn’t reveal details of its mobile-device criteria at CES, it did say the requirements will likely be unveiled at the Mobile World Congress, which runs from Feb. 27 through March 2 in Barcelona, Spain.

As with TV criteria, the alliance will specify different dynamic ranges for OLED and LCD displays, given their different performance capabilities, said Dan Schinasi, Samsung’s product planning director and chairman of the alliance’s promotion working group. He declined further comment on the criteria, including whether 4K displays would be required.

During MWC, the alliance also expects to reveal a mobile-device certification logo and the testing equipment and methodology that will be used to certify the products. Mobile-device companies might also unveil the first products designed to comply with the new criteria, he said.

“We didn’t set the bar where [mobile-device] quality is today,” Schinasi said. “I’m not aware of anything today that could meet the requirements.” He added that he expects certified devices to be available “in the very near future.”

At last year’s CES, the alliance unveiled criteria for TVs, content masters and a single content-distribution channel, the physical 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray disc. It later unveiled criteria for 4K Blu-ray players. The group hasn’t yet set criteria for such distribution channels as pay-TV broadcasts, free over-air TV broadcasts, or streaming services to TVs or to mobile devices.

The alliance also said it is working on “strengthening audio requirements for devices, content and distribution.” When it unveiled its requirements a year ago, the alliance said its technical specifications “recommend support for next-generation audio,” but the group did not make mandatory any advanced-audio formats such as object-based surround sound.

Separately, the alliance announced that it has grown to more than 50 members from about 10 at its CES 2015 debut. Members are from the content-creation, content-distribution, CE and chip-making industries and include Samsung, LG, Sony, Fox, Warner, Universal, Disney, Netflix, Amazon, Dolby, DTS, Technicolor, Panasonic, Hisense, Toshiba, Oppo, Microsoft, Philips, TP Vision, TCL, Amazon, Nanosys, and chip makers Intel and MStar.

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