Video Guru Joe Kane on Putting the Ultra in Ultra HDTV

Joe Kane is a name that should be familiar to most, if not all, videophiles. The man is almost single-handedly responsible for getting manufacturers to put advanced picture settings in TVs that let calibrators make grayscale and CMS adjustments so your set stands half a chance of displaying accurate color. Without Joe’s vigilant advocacy, TV picture quality now might very well still suck as badly as it did back in 1989.

One of Joe’s activities at CES was to give a seminar on the current state of Ultra HD. Turns out, Joe is not impressed with what he’s seeing. A main point of the presentation was that increased resolution is just one part of what any Ultra HD standard should include. Not only that, but it’s the least important consideration. To make Ultra HDTV truly Ultra, the format needs to have image bit-depths higher than the 8-bits used by the current HDTV standard (10- or 12-bits at minimum), and less aggressive chroma subsampling (HDTV uses 4:2:0; Joe recommends 4:2:2 or 4:4:4 for UHDTV). Then there’s the issue of wider color gamut, such as the Rec.2020 space included in the technical recommendations for Ultra HD put forth by the International Telecommunications Union (current UHDTVs and the limited amount of available UHDTV content employ the same Rec.709 color space used for HDTV).

The real kicker to this story? During the presentation, Joe said that the improvements he and others are pushing for exceed the capabilities of HDMI 2.0, the new, UHDTV-specific connector being incorporated into new sets. According to Joe, HDMI 2.0 as an interface is “stillborn.”

1a2a3a4a5a6a7a8a's picture

But it delivers 4k @60fps with 4:4:4, so it's perfect for all existing content and software.

And if he thinks 4:4:4 1080p content looks better than 4:2:0 2160p content, he doesn't know what he's talking about because the latter has the same chroma resolution as the former.

Maniachiavelli's picture

Well, good thing that he didn't say that, then!!

And if you think "all existing content and software" was created in 8 bit, YOU don't know what you're talking about.