Technicolor Brings 4K-Less HDR to the Bandwidth Limited Virtual TV & OTT Industry

– And Their Content Providers
– Could Also Help Cellular Services
– The Term ‘4K’ Never Used in the Announcement of Deal with Vubiquity

Could it be that a 4K-less HDR industry is emerging for the bandwidth challenged?

What’s amazing about the deal that Technicolor made to supply HDR technology to Vubiquity is that the press release, timed for this week’s NAB trade show, never mentions 4K, not even once.

This is the second recent announcement by Technicolor that can lead to the belief that Technicolor sees a big market for 4K-less HDR technology as broadcasters, TV networks and pay TV services whose bandwidth may be too limited to broadcast in 4K at this time.


Technicolor HDR sols









Technicolor HDR licensing deal: no mention of 4K


So far setmakers have added HDR only to their 4K TVs, not to any of their HD TVs and it does not appear likely that they will.

If there is a market for 4K-less HDR content, it is the broadcasters, TV networks and pay TV services – not including DirecTV and Sky, which have publicly committed to offering 4K content.

HDR is said by many to offer a bigger improvement in picture quality than 4K and at only 5-20% more bandwidth, not the doubling or more that 4K requires. 4K-less HDR content will also appeal to cellular services because of their limited bandwidth.

Netflix recommends that its subscribers have at least 5 Mbps per single stream of HD (SDR or HDR)  and at least 25 Mbps for 4K, whether in HDR or not.

Netflix offers two versions of HDR, depending on the TV set: HDR10 and Dolby Vision. Netflix’s currently approved list of TVs that support both 4K and HDR are made by LG, Samsung, Sharp and Sony.

Vubiquity’s VoD and live linear programming solutions are getting Technicolor’s proprietary technology for both live and upscaled HDR videos. That’ll make both OTT services and the linear TV industry happy because they will be able to offer native HDR content and 1080p HD content that Technicolor’s technology has upscaled to HDR. The two companies said that increasing sales of HDR-enabled TV sets [sales of HDR TV sets were zero last year] will attract the attention of networks, pay TV providers and broadcasters that want an alternative to 4K.

The two companies called it “the industry’s first ‘in-network’ HDR up-conversion and delivery service to network service providers and content owners. They also said, “It will dramatically increase the amount of enhanced content available to consumers over a growing variety of TVs and devices, including set-top boxes. It also introduces business opportunities for TV networks, broadcasters and pay-TV providers interested in offering new premium services.”

Technicolor, Vubiquity and other companies have started classifying any video that is not HDR (high dynamic range) as standard dynamic range (SDR).

Mark Turner, Technicolor’s VP of partnership relations and business development, said, “This announcement contributes to Technicolor’s ongoing mission to bring the best and most immersive cinematic-quality experience to as many people as possible around the world. Vubiquity has a global network with hundreds of content partners and distributors. By embedding Technicolor technology into Vubiquity’s services, visually richer HDR experiences can reach more consumers at a faster pace.”

[Once again, no mention was made of 4K.]

Vubiquity products will include Technicolor’s HDR Intelligent Tone Management technology, which upconverts HD content to HDR plus Technicolor’s “backwards compatible” distribution solution, which allows encoded video to be delivered via a single stream to both legacy HD TVs and HDR-enabled TVs.

Gabriel Berger, EVP of sales for Vubiquity, said, “At Vubiquity we’re always looking for new technologies to enhance our suite of content services. Technicolor’s single stream and HDR up-conversion technologies are tools our clients will be able to access this year to dramatically expand their HDR capabilities.”

At NAB, Technicolor and Vubiquity will be demonstrating the HDR…

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