FAME for Ultra HD Rollout

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A key decision to cooperate on plotting a course for Ultra HD rollout in Europe has been agreed. Under the banner of FAME – the Forum for Advanced Media in Europe – public and private broadcasters, consumer and professional electronics manufacturers, satellite operators and national HD Forums gathered at the EBU in Geneva for a landmark meeting.

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FAME is an initiative led by the EBU and DIF, the Digital Interoperability Forum, a group representing pay TV operators on technology matters. It’s also supported by the European Commission. All participants have agreed to share knowledge and experience for the ultimate benefit of all viewers. Together they analysed the barriers and keys to making Ultra HD a success in Europe.

The agreement last year at the International Telecommunication Union on the baseline technical parameters for Ultra HD (ITU-R BT.2020) has given momentum to the new technologies. The sets needed to display Ultra HD will be entering the shops in the months and years ahead. However, FAME participants emphasised this week that any future television system must provide significant enhancements over HDTV.

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Among the concrete actions agreed are collaboration with DIGITALEUROPE (representing the consumer electronics industry) on a logo for Ultra HD displays and closer engagement with the European Commission on related matters.

The US Consumer Electronics Association also took part in the meeting, which was joined remotely by colleagues from Japan, Korea, and the United States, where interest in Ultra HD is similarly high, and where similar initiatives are under consideration.

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Sheila Cassells, who co-chairs FAME for DIF, said: “We have served Europe well in past years by helping to make HDTV successful, and we hope to do the same for UHDTV now”.

The discussions on Ultra HD were chaired together by the EBU’s Hans Hoffmann and Stephan Heimbecher of Sky Deutschland. Hoffmann said that Ultra HD is the future of television: “This is the time to act together in the interests of the European public and industry, including the creative sector, and to create the right technical conditions in the full eco-chain for the launch of UHDTV.”

Heimbecher stressed that making Ultra HD successful will take more than just ‘more pixels’. “They will need to be ‘better and faster’ pixels”, he said. “UHDTV must represent a step change in the viewing experience for it to be a success. It therefore has to include more than just a resolution increase. We need to consider higher frame rates, better colours and higher dynamic range, too”.

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