Technicolor's Alan Stein Discusses the Impact of SL-HDR1 As a Proposed ATSC Standard
"With this pivotal step, broadcasters and equipment vendors have far more confidence in the maturity of SL-HDR1. They know that at this juncture, the amendment is stable and not going to change substantively. Vendors will implement SL-HDR1 with high confidence that, if they adhere to the specification, interoperability will be assured."
In the final days of December 2017, the Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) approved Technicolor's SL-HDR1 amendment as a Proposed Standard, and once voted on, is expected to be added as an option to the ATSC A/341 video standard.
SL-HDR1 is Technicolor's recommendation for a single-layer solution to support compatibility with all non-HDR screens and non-HDR equipment. With the acceptance of Technicolor's solution to bridge the gap between single dynamic range (SDR) and high dynamic range (HDR), the broadcast industry can confidently begin implementing HDR, says Alan Stein, vice president of technology and standards, Technicolor, in a podcast interview for journalists during the CES 2018 conference in Las Vegas.
"SL-HDR1 technology allows a broadcaster to deliver a signal that can be rendered as SDR as well as HDR. The bit stream is SDR and it contains an extra packet which enables HDR reconstruction," explains Stein. "This packet is metadata that – in essence – reconstructs the HDR signal as it was captured or constructed. The metadata is encapsulated in the video bitstream. Devices that don't support HDR will simply ignore that part of the bitstream, while devices that support SL-HDR1 -- for example, LG TVs -- read the metadata, decode it and reconstruct HDR video."
Ultimately, this means broadcasters just need to produce content in HDR, and that content can be automatically converted into a format for both legacy screens and HDR screens. The content is broadcast in a single layer, which efficiently uses network resources and eliminates the need for parallel HDR/SDR infrastructure in the content capture, creation and distribution process. SL-HDR1 also ensures content is properly distributed and accurately displayed on both HDR and SDR displays, for consistent end-user viewing quality on every device type.
According to Stein, Technicolor's SL-HDR1 amendment to the ATSC A/341 has moved to proposed standards status, which is the last step before finalizing it as an option in the video standard.
"With this pivotal step, broadcasters and equipment vendors have far more confidence in the maturity of SL-HDR1. They know that at this juncture, the amendment is stable and not going to change substantively," says Stein. "Vendors will implement SL-HDR1 with high confidence that, if they adhere to the specification, interoperability will be assured."
"For broadcasters," he adds, proposed standard approval starts a clock. The broadcasters know that within a short fixed period that the standard will be finalized, and in coming months they will see that technology implemented in commercial products."
ATSC membership now votes on the proposed SL-HDR1 amendment ballot. Within the first quarter of 2018 there is every reason to expect that SL-HDR1 will be integrated into the existing ATSC A/341 standard.
To listen in on the entire interview with Alan Stein, visit: https://www.dropbox.com/s/uuvhyo3sp7kt04y/12_15_2017_AlanStein_HDRStandardsAnnouncementInterview_Edit.mp3