Striking differentials in 8K TV picture quality at CES 2019 showcased the awesome potential for 8K - and showed the serious pitfalls of processing massive amount of data into space, light and time.
The best pictures at CES were fantastic and created buying lust - even among the financially challenged press corps. The worst TVs were soft and fuzzy, artifact ridden, and were downright fatiguing to watch.
All Digital TVs (DTV) are simply machines that turn bits into pictures. The first DTVs in 1982 digitized our old analog TV pictures that used either 525 or 625 TV lines.
To better understand this long progress that has evolved to 8K TV, just visualize how we see TVs in space, light and time. Let’s break it down:
Space – The number of visible lines or pixels on screen
Light – How bright the picture is, and how many colors are visible on screen
Time – How many pictures are flashed per second – “temporal resolution” or pictures per second (PPS)
To start at the beginning, how did analog bring pictures into our home:
Space – Either 525 or 625 horizontal lines top to bottom
Light – Tube TVs (CRTs) were only 100 Nits bright – but had unlimited steps between black and white
Time – Either 50 or 60 pictures per second (PPS), unchanged since the 1930’s
Standard Definition Digital Rec.601
Space – 640x480, or roughly 300,000 (.3K) pixels to process
Light – 100 Nits – 220 steps from black to white to process at 8 Bit – CRT TV’s phosphor-based colors
Time – Same 50/60 PPS as 1930’s
High Definition Digital Rec.709
Space – Up to 1920x1080, or roughly 2,000,000 pixels (2K)
Light – 100 Nits – 220 steps at 8 Bit – but somewhat improved to 1990 CRT colors
Time – Same 50/60 PPS as 1930’s
Ultra-High Definition – 2012 specs BT.2246-1
Space – Up to 8K – roughly 33,000,000 pixels
Light – Up to 10,000 Nits – at 10 Bit roughly 1000 steps, at 12 Bit roughly 4000 steps
Time – Up to 120PPS – “temporal resolution” is finally improved – and sports are awesome!
Processing 8K TV Data – The Beauty and the Beast!
Creating perfect analog pictures with digital bits will never happen. However, more bits provide the possibility to create pictures that are closer to analog and will look beautiful at very close viewing distances – but only if processing is superb!
The Beauty - Evolving from .3K to 8K provides the potential for smooth artifact free pictures if processing deploys sufficient power and speed coupled with intelligent algorithm engineering.
The Beast - 8K reveals poor processing like a jeweler’s loop reveals defects in diamonds.
The Beauty – Even a 1000 Nit TV is 10x brighter than our old TVs – and with 200x more steps and 8K pixels, we can control color and light transitions that are life like and relaxing to watch.
The Beast – Brighter TVs reveal motion artifacts and poor color transitions that induce user fatigue.
The Beauty – We have been watching 60 PPS since 1939. HDR’s space, color and light have revolutionized watching movies in our homes. 120 PPS will do the same for sports!
The Beast – Double the number of PPS increases the cost of processing and the challenges for engineering intelligent algorithms.
The 8K CES Conclusions
For those readers who like to skip to the bottom of a story, here are the quick facts:
1 – There is far more to 8K than just less visible pixels. Improved control over motion in space, plus precision modulation of light and color produces visibly improved “digital to analog conversion”.
2 – If video processing is superb in time, space and color, then 8K pixels enable visibly smoother transitions and deliver more analog like pictures.
3 – Motion artifacts may still occur, but they are one quarter the size and therefore less visible.
4 – 8K 120 PPS will redefine “temporal resolution” and revolutionize watching sports on TVs.
5 – At first, only the Tier One TVs will be awesome with 8K. Many TVs will look worse with 8K. We will get what we pay for in 8K!
CES 2019 showcased what the planet’s best engineering teams can accomplish with 8K’s spatial resolution. They showcased vastly improved space, color and light. I can’t wait to see what these amazing people will do with 120PPS TVs at CES 2020.
I left the CES 2019 show discovering that I need new TVs once again……….it was enormous fun and a most entertaining show!
Here at Murideo we talk a lot about video calibration, but what about audio calibration? The audio inside a home theater is one of the most important parts. So why are so many installers doing home theaters without properly setting up the room to benefit the audio?
We want to change that and are here to help, with the HAA kit from Murideo, and access to HAA training, you can become the a certified home acoustics expert. HAA classes will give you the knowlege you need to successfully set up a room with perfect acoustics. Find our more here. www.avpro.training/haa-audio1.html
The HAA Kit will provide you with all the tools you need to test the room and make sure you are setting up the best experience possible for your client. You can purchase the HAA Kit here. www.avprostore.com/HAA-Complete-Acoustic-Calibration-Kit-PLUS-p/au-haa-kit-plkus.htm
From the HAA Website: The HAA is all about “Great Sound Through Science”. If you are looking for a community that is focused on high performance audio in the home environment, you’ve found it. We’ve been in the business of high performance sound since 2001. We are not an equipment or design sales company but our professional membership is filled with companies that are. Look through our Dealer Locator for a pro near you, or join our community as an Enthusiast member for free to get advice on our forums. Help us build our new public portal by joining and participating. Also, come back from time to time to read our expanding blog and see how our public site grows.
The Imaging Science Foundation has been leading the display calibration charge for over 20 years. In that time ISF has grown and adapted to each advancement in display technology that has come to market.
Today is no different, always pushing display technology forward, Joel Silver founder of ISF had this to say:
“The current HDR era is the very best of times for ISF Calibrators and their clients! The early HDR HDMI connectivity issues are now easily resolved by those with Level III skills, and the impressive HDR image quality now available through streaming, discs and HDR downloads is driving sales of ISF calibrations and large screen UHD TVs.
The upcoming year will bring us wonderful new content in HDR10, HDR10+, Dolby Vision's three offerings, HLG, SL-HDR1,2,3 and a glimpse of 8K and sporting events in 100/120 Hz. Today's innovations have revitalized movie viewing - tomorrow's advances in temporal resolution will revolutionize sports!
We will only offer five North American ISF Level III sessions in 2019 - overseas demand and private sessions will limit the number ISF sessions. We were touched by CEDIA's recognition of ISF's impact on thousands of businesses, and we look forward to seeing you at an ISF Level III event in 2019.”
Joel Silver was awarded the CEDIA Lifetime Achievement Award in September 2018 at the CEDIA Expo in San Diego. You are able to find his award video below.
Being an ISF certified calibrator you become an expert in delivering the best possible picture to the display, With the Level III Class, calibration has expanded from the display to the distribution channel. Attendees will get hands on experience with the latest calibration and video distribution equipment as well as work on a verity of modern projectors and displays. We hope to see you in 2019.
The Level III ISF event is a seminar that Joel himself hosts around the world. Planning for ISF Level III is being done now and we would love your help. Please vote for the city where you would like to see ISF in 2019 below.
In the above video, we take a quick look at calibration throughout the years, where it started to the present day.
What is CalMAN with AutoCal?
Learn more about CalMAN with AutoCal and our partners' solutions by giving us a call 605-274-6055
We are honored to have Murideo's own Jeff Murray giving a presentation on 4K and HDR at this years Facilities Integrate Auckland 2018. As AVPro Global Holdings companies continue to expand in New Zealand and Australia we are excited as to support that region. Murideo and AVPro Edge fill a gap in the the market when it comes to testing and distributing 4K and HDR - technology that is expanding to all parts of the globe.
Here are the details about Jeff Murray's Presentation:
4K HDMI with HDR
Integrators now must understand how to successfully design and implement an HDMI solution that is capable of distributing 18Gbps of bandwidth.
Jeff’s two hour seminar has been tailored especially for the AV Integrator and will provide thorough insight into how to effectively design and implement a real-world distributed HDMI solution with 4K and HDR (High Dynamic Range).
What is discussed:
Who will be there:
The Murideo Fresco Six A/Six G combo has a robust HDMI cable test built in (to see a "how to" step by step guide click here).
This cable test was specifically designed for copper based HDMI cables. Testing fiber based or fiber/copper (AOC) hybrid HDMI cables is a little more tricky. Luckily we have a process that will help you test these types of HDMI cables.
Bottom pic is an example of a FAIL
by Terry Paullin
Not surprisingly, friends, readers, potential clients ask me "What T.V. should I buy?"
The answer they are looking for is something like " a 50" Binford 3000".
My first response is "There is no good, short answer to that question". Then I ask, "What is your favorite screwdriver?" After quizzical looks subside -
What's that got to do with the price of tea in China?
No, really, what's your favorite screwdriver?
Well, it depends .........
Well, first of all, do I need a Phillips or a flat blade or a Torx
and then of course there is a size choice .... and I don't
always have the wallet to buy all Snap-On, so sometimes I opt
for an economy tool from the Bargain Bin Hardware store.
"See", I said ... "no short answer".
When I engage with a Home Theatre client, I would never begin to answer "What T.V." until I have made a site visit. There I learn about the ambient light environment, seating arrangements and get a sense of the budget. Only then can I decide what display to put in the proposal. I used to ask about viewing choices and usage patterns, but I've stopped that for some time now. I have learned that that all changes when you get a decent theatre system.
For every time I'm asked that question, I imagine my friend Joel Silver is asked it 100 times, so I decided to interview him on this topic.
So, Joel, what do you say when someone asks you "What T.V. should I buy"?
(J) -Terry, as you mentioned the room environment is absolutely a key factor in choosing not only a TV brand, but determines the very TV technology that is applicable to the task at hand.
We often deal with sizable rooms that have fantastic views from really large windows. That creates quite a challenge, and often the best solution is a large flat panel for daytime viewing, and a much larger retractable projection for night viewing - that is the ultimate Day/Night "viewing mode".
(T) - Joel, we have taught in class for years that REAL contrast ratio is the biggest care-about amongst non-technical viewers who still know what pleases them when watching on-screen images ..... but contrast ratios can be relative. Are there some absolute metrics that folks should consider?
(J) - For dealing with ambient light professionally there are fantastic Contrast Ratio performance standards from InfoComm. They specify multiple contrast goals for different viewing applications. We use their "Full Motion Video" standard all the time when planning a media room system with ambient light issues, and then we audit our own installations when we are finished to insure and document performance compliance on site.
For light controlled home theaters there is a new Video performance document from CEDIA and CTA that details both minimum acceptable and aspirational contrast ratios.
We don't have opinions on video performance, we simply learn and apply industry Standards……..
Two really fundamental considerations that we find to be completely client dependent are two simple specifications - "how big should the screen be", and "how high should the screen be mounted".
(T) - Yes, I often find myself urging clients to the next size up. Although ability to accommodate can be a real issue, more often than not, it isn't. I have never had a client say "You know, I wish we had gone one size smaller" - on the other hand, the opposite has been expressed from time to time.
Field-of-view is important to cause maximum envelopment in the movie watching experience. What was the commercial theater analogy I've heard you use to answer those two questions for students?
(J) -Those fundamental personal questions are best answered by simply asking our clients about their favorite seats in their favorite commercial movie theater. We have been doing this a long time, and have found that people are absolutely dogmatic about how far back they choose to sit from the screen. Once we know their preferences, we can recreate their personal choices for their own optimum viewing angles for height and width in their own homes.
We have even found instances where spouses have provided us with different seating preferences, and have uncovered long standing and quite stressful movie going situations. We have not found resolutions for these situations, but if you are diplomatic you may end up doing additional residences for both spouses.
(T) - Indeed. Job security!
(J) - Another major topic is light output. For flat panel TVs this is a quickly evolving scenario. HDR and wide color gamut have raised the bar for what we can wish for in our homes. We can now deliver image quality in many rooms that was just not possible a few years ago. So the right answer about what HDR TV to buy is now the newest and top of the line one!
(T) - So true. HDR and all that comes with it takes us into a whole new realm of movie enjoyment. Still, the best HDR is closely linked to light output of the display. What is your take on the fate of front projectors and HDR?
(J) - For projectors HDR remains a challenge, but if we deploy enough light output and native color space we can now deliver the best images ever seen in homes. Do not expect to easily equal a studio HDR monitor with a 1000 nit image with projection, but we can easily exceed all our prior expectations - and a very large projection screen HDR wide color gamut image in a light controlled room is fantastic.
The real answer to "what TV should I buy" is best answered by a good demo. The recent stellar progress in image quality simply cannot be described in print - and mainstream retail demos of uncalibrated TVs in poor lighting show a mere hint of what is now possible.
The best of the new HDR digital video images live in rarified air. The few Dolby Vision theaters worldwide provide a superior new movie going experience that even non technical people appreciate. The few custom installers that have mastered "The Art of the HDR Demo" are now updating all their client's old systems. This is a new era of image quality - and right now is the best time in memory to buy a new TV!
(T) - Thanks Joel for your time. I'm sure our readers will heed your counsel and spend their money more wisely as a result.
Once again Murideo was at ISE 2018 and we had a great time. We hope you enjoy some of the pictures for our products around the show, as well as our lovely staff. Thanks for everyone that stopped by our booths this year.
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