IFA & IBC Approach

We’re now seeing the news start to ramp up towards IBC and IFA. As you might notice, we promise 48 issues per year, rather than 52, because there are a few weeks in the year when we really get overloaded and we’ve got one of those coming up. We plan an issue next week, 2nd September, but not the following week, 9th September, as we will be at IBC, but still processing all the news and analysis from IFA, so we don’t expect to release an issue. Of course, these days we also publish to the web as we finish articles, so there will be a stream of articles on the website all through the next few weeks.

Looking back at what I said after IBC and IFA last year (The Dust Settles on IFA & IBC), I suggested that HDR adoption was likely to split two ways, with Dolby Vision winning the battle for offline content (such as Blu-ray), while broadcast was likely to adopt the HLG proposal from BBC/NHK. Since then, and especially in the US, HDR10 has been gathering momentum as a third alternative. HDR10 has the advantage, compared to Dolby Vision, that it does not involve licence fees. The downside of HDR10 is that you can make a compatible set, without it really providing anything beyond SDR display performance to the user.

Since IFA and IBC last year, the ITU has released BT.2100 (ITU Builds on Rec.2020 With HDR Standard and Quested Provides Perspective on ITU-2100 HDR Spec), a TV content and production specification which allows the use for HDR of either HLG or the SMPTE ST-2084 ‘PQ’ EOTF, which is included in HDR10 and was developed and used by Dolby. We’ll double check this at the shows, but it seems that all three options fit the ITU specification. We expect more emphasis on HLG at IBC because of the significance in Europe of public service broadcasters who have very different agendas to the commercial broadcasters in the US. As I wrote back in 2015, I think HLG has a lot of advantages in live broadcast (BBC Approach to HDR Has Advantages for Broadcasters).

I think that there could be some interesting news stories from IFA this year, where the battle between LG and its OLEDs and Samsung, which has been backing Quantum Dot technology, will rage. Will others adopt OLED or will LG remain alone on the show floor? It has been slightly surprising to me that some exotic brands such as Bang & Olufsen have not taken up OLED just to be different from the others. LG is expected to use a B&O audio system with its V20 smartphone so, at some level, the companies are talking.

Will there be something really interesting in VR and AR? Samsung has a big event planned that seems to be mobile-based, so that may reveal something.

Anyway, we look forward to seeing you at the shows (Chris will also be attending IFA), so if you have something you want to show us, contact me at [email protected]