This has been one of my famous “busy” weeks – merging the Large Display Report and Display Monitor in the same week that IFA has started may have been a little ambitious! Never mind, as I finish editing in the press room at IFA, it looks as though we have a good issue. Thanks to the team for some late night efforts to get things done. We’re still settling the way we do the layout, so there will be a few more changes in coming weeks as we settle how to do it.
One of the intriguing stories this week is the release of the UltraHD logo by Digital Europe. I was a big supporter of the HDReady logo initiative that the organisation ran a few years ago. The only negative effect that I saw was that the lack of such a logo killed a whole class of really good SD resolution panels that were developed by Sharp and would have been better for most users than having an HD panel with poor quality SD signals. Sharp launched the products, but no retailers wanted to stock them as they couldn’t have the HD Ready logo. That was a shame as the set that I reviewed from Sharp was the first that I saw that I preferred to my Sony Trinitron TV – mainly because of the better performance in high ambient light. On the other hand, consumers were comfortable to buy HD Ready sets even where HD content was not easily available through broadcast, because of the pervasive use of the logo and the promotions by retailers.
I haven’t had long to think about the UltraHD logo requirements but I think that they are reasonable, given the state of development of UltraHD. It would have been nice to have had higher frame rates, wider gamuts and dynamic range, but the broadcasters are nowhere near ready to provide the signals. In the end, what Digital Europe has come up with looks good in the circumstances. I have some concern that the system is “self certified” which might mean that some less scrupulous suppliers might apply the logo to sets that do not meet the requirement of “no reduction in resolution during the processing stage”. However, at least the 3840 x 1080 panels that have been shipping in China will not be able to carry the logo in Europe, which will make them basically unsaleable if the logo is well promoted.
I would expect retailers to promote the logo as they are looking to give consumers the confidence to buy UltraHD sets. The European TV market could certainly benefit from a bit of a boost.
The relatively low requirements for the UltraHD logo will mean an opportunity for others. This week, I got the chance to see the latest DolbyVision demonstration at a private briefing in Berlin. A new 32″ prototype monitor using QD technology and with 2,000cd/m
² of brightness (at just 100W) was extremely impressive. Even “regular” TVs fed with the DolbyVision content and including the processing for the system looked really good. It seems to me that the relatively low bar set by Digital Europe leaves “room at the top” for Dolby (or others). I’ll be reporting more on this next week and the week after, as Dolby is promising more news at IBC.