Technology

Why 4K UHD is being relegated in favour of good old 1080p with HDR

Why 4K UHD is being relegated in favour of good old 1080p with HDR

Why 4K UHD is being relegated in favour of good old 1080p with HDR

Why 4K UHD is being relegated in favour of good old 1080p with HDR

Spicy Mango - Chris Wood

Chris Wood

4 min read time

|

24 Jun 2024

Is 4K broadcasting on a downward trend?

Back in 2020, I penned an article that discussed TV's wow factor, the impact of 4K, HDR, and the role that 1080p with HDR still has to play (https://www.tvbeurope.com/media-delivery/the-sustainability-of-delivering-high-resolutions-wow-factor). The central theme was that perhaps the 4K trend was unsustainable.

Fast forward to 2024, and these thoughts now seem to be gaining momentum elsewhere with news that for the first time in nearly 10 years, UEFA has indicated that it won't be producing future competitions in 4K, and will revert back to 1080p with HLG HDR, and rumblings from Amazon in the US that they also seem to be heading in the same direction.

Over the 4-5 years, I've had conversations with customers around 4K who have stated they have no plans for its adoption because of the eye watering costs of the production and distribution chain, and more interestingly, a struggle to find mechanisms to generate the returns needed to cover the investment.

Contradictory to what I thought we'd be seeing by now, production and distribution of content in 4K is still expensive business, and it doesn't seem to be reducing fast enough at a rate to drive wide spread adoption. Couple that with ongoing costs of bandwidth, distribution and preparation, not to mention the complexities of managing its distribution in the VOD space, and we can start to see why 4K is faltering.


What about the 4K / HDR relationship?

4K and HDR aren't mutually exclusive - they can live independently. 99% of the data rate overhead relates to resolution and associated bits per pixel that are needed for 4K - not the HDR bitstream. However, 99% of the perceived picture quality improvements come from the improved contrast and colour depths that come from HDR - not 4K.

Without HDR by its side, 4K simply doesn't deliver the consumer impact and visual qualities that most audiences resonate with.

 

1080p + HDR = A sweet spot of negligible overheads

Carrying a HDR bitstream requires only a few kilobytes of data beyond a standard H.265 / HEVC encoded 1080p stream. This minimal amount of metadata enables the decoder to expand the signal for display.

With this in mind, the rationale for that 1080p HDR sweet spot becomes obvious.

  1. Move H.264/AVC to H.265/HEVC and benefit from distribution savings over and above what most providers are doing today with H.264/AVC - backed by every mainstream media preparation vendor in market today


  2. Support an incredible quality of picture with fractional data rate gains on top of 1080 HEVC


  3. Avoid a costly production technology upgrade - 1080p has been a standard for years and adoption rates are already sky high


  4. Embed HDR technologies like Dolby Vision and HDR10 into existing H.265/HEVC streams - resolution agnostically


  5. Easier adoption in OTT and digital publishing by eliminating the need for complex resolution management logic for devices that can't support 4K decoding


The news of 1080p + HDR is great - and hopefully will evolve to include High Frame Rates (HFR) from the UHD spec into HD + HDR.

Is 4K broadcasting on a downward trend?

Back in 2020, I penned an article that discussed TV's wow factor, the impact of 4K, HDR, and the role that 1080p with HDR still has to play (https://www.tvbeurope.com/media-delivery/the-sustainability-of-delivering-high-resolutions-wow-factor). The central theme was that perhaps the 4K trend was unsustainable.

Fast forward to 2024, and these thoughts now seem to be gaining momentum elsewhere with news that for the first time in nearly 10 years, UEFA has indicated that it won't be producing future competitions in 4K, and will revert back to 1080p with HLG HDR, and rumblings from Amazon in the US that they also seem to be heading in the same direction.

Over the 4-5 years, I've had conversations with customers around 4K who have stated they have no plans for its adoption because of the eye watering costs of the production and distribution chain, and more interestingly, a struggle to find mechanisms to generate the returns needed to cover the investment.

Contradictory to what I thought we'd be seeing by now, production and distribution of content in 4K is still expensive business, and it doesn't seem to be reducing fast enough at a rate to drive wide spread adoption. Couple that with ongoing costs of bandwidth, distribution and preparation, not to mention the complexities of managing its distribution in the VOD space, and we can start to see why 4K is faltering.


What about the 4K / HDR relationship?

4K and HDR aren't mutually exclusive - they can live independently. 99% of the data rate overhead relates to resolution and associated bits per pixel that are needed for 4K - not the HDR bitstream. However, 99% of the perceived picture quality improvements come from the improved contrast and colour depths that come from HDR - not 4K.

Without HDR by its side, 4K simply doesn't deliver the consumer impact and visual qualities that most audiences resonate with.

 

1080p + HDR = A sweet spot of negligible overheads

Carrying a HDR bitstream requires only a few kilobytes of data beyond a standard H.265 / HEVC encoded 1080p stream. This minimal amount of metadata enables the decoder to expand the signal for display.

With this in mind, the rationale for that 1080p HDR sweet spot becomes obvious.

  1. Move H.264/AVC to H.265/HEVC and benefit from distribution savings over and above what most providers are doing today with H.264/AVC - backed by every mainstream media preparation vendor in market today


  2. Support an incredible quality of picture with fractional data rate gains on top of 1080 HEVC


  3. Avoid a costly production technology upgrade - 1080p has been a standard for years and adoption rates are already sky high


  4. Embed HDR technologies like Dolby Vision and HDR10 into existing H.265/HEVC streams - resolution agnostically


  5. Easier adoption in OTT and digital publishing by eliminating the need for complex resolution management logic for devices that can't support 4K decoding


The news of 1080p + HDR is great - and hopefully will evolve to include High Frame Rates (HFR) from the UHD spec into HD + HDR.

Is 4K broadcasting on a downward trend?

Back in 2020, I penned an article that discussed TV's wow factor, the impact of 4K, HDR, and the role that 1080p with HDR still has to play (https://www.tvbeurope.com/media-delivery/the-sustainability-of-delivering-high-resolutions-wow-factor). The central theme was that perhaps the 4K trend was unsustainable.

Fast forward to 2024, and these thoughts now seem to be gaining momentum elsewhere with news that for the first time in nearly 10 years, UEFA has indicated that it won't be producing future competitions in 4K, and will revert back to 1080p with HLG HDR, and rumblings from Amazon in the US that they also seem to be heading in the same direction.

Over the 4-5 years, I've had conversations with customers around 4K who have stated they have no plans for its adoption because of the eye watering costs of the production and distribution chain, and more interestingly, a struggle to find mechanisms to generate the returns needed to cover the investment.

Contradictory to what I thought we'd be seeing by now, production and distribution of content in 4K is still expensive business, and it doesn't seem to be reducing fast enough at a rate to drive wide spread adoption. Couple that with ongoing costs of bandwidth, distribution and preparation, not to mention the complexities of managing its distribution in the VOD space, and we can start to see why 4K is faltering.


What about the 4K / HDR relationship?

4K and HDR aren't mutually exclusive - they can live independently. 99% of the data rate overhead relates to resolution and associated bits per pixel that are needed for 4K - not the HDR bitstream. However, 99% of the perceived picture quality improvements come from the improved contrast and colour depths that come from HDR - not 4K.

Without HDR by its side, 4K simply doesn't deliver the consumer impact and visual qualities that most audiences resonate with.

 

1080p + HDR = A sweet spot of negligible overheads

Carrying a HDR bitstream requires only a few kilobytes of data beyond a standard H.265 / HEVC encoded 1080p stream. This minimal amount of metadata enables the decoder to expand the signal for display.

With this in mind, the rationale for that 1080p HDR sweet spot becomes obvious.

  1. Move H.264/AVC to H.265/HEVC and benefit from distribution savings over and above what most providers are doing today with H.264/AVC - backed by every mainstream media preparation vendor in market today


  2. Support an incredible quality of picture with fractional data rate gains on top of 1080 HEVC


  3. Avoid a costly production technology upgrade - 1080p has been a standard for years and adoption rates are already sky high


  4. Embed HDR technologies like Dolby Vision and HDR10 into existing H.265/HEVC streams - resolution agnostically


  5. Easier adoption in OTT and digital publishing by eliminating the need for complex resolution management logic for devices that can't support 4K decoding


The news of 1080p + HDR is great - and hopefully will evolve to include High Frame Rates (HFR) from the UHD spec into HD + HDR.

Is 4K broadcasting on a downward trend?

Back in 2020, I penned an article that discussed TV's wow factor, the impact of 4K, HDR, and the role that 1080p with HDR still has to play (https://www.tvbeurope.com/media-delivery/the-sustainability-of-delivering-high-resolutions-wow-factor). The central theme was that perhaps the 4K trend was unsustainable.

Fast forward to 2024, and these thoughts now seem to be gaining momentum elsewhere with news that for the first time in nearly 10 years, UEFA has indicated that it won't be producing future competitions in 4K, and will revert back to 1080p with HLG HDR, and rumblings from Amazon in the US that they also seem to be heading in the same direction.

Over the 4-5 years, I've had conversations with customers around 4K who have stated they have no plans for its adoption because of the eye watering costs of the production and distribution chain, and more interestingly, a struggle to find mechanisms to generate the returns needed to cover the investment.

Contradictory to what I thought we'd be seeing by now, production and distribution of content in 4K is still expensive business, and it doesn't seem to be reducing fast enough at a rate to drive wide spread adoption. Couple that with ongoing costs of bandwidth, distribution and preparation, not to mention the complexities of managing its distribution in the VOD space, and we can start to see why 4K is faltering.


What about the 4K / HDR relationship?

4K and HDR aren't mutually exclusive - they can live independently. 99% of the data rate overhead relates to resolution and associated bits per pixel that are needed for 4K - not the HDR bitstream. However, 99% of the perceived picture quality improvements come from the improved contrast and colour depths that come from HDR - not 4K.

Without HDR by its side, 4K simply doesn't deliver the consumer impact and visual qualities that most audiences resonate with.

 

1080p + HDR = A sweet spot of negligible overheads

Carrying a HDR bitstream requires only a few kilobytes of data beyond a standard H.265 / HEVC encoded 1080p stream. This minimal amount of metadata enables the decoder to expand the signal for display.

With this in mind, the rationale for that 1080p HDR sweet spot becomes obvious.

  1. Move H.264/AVC to H.265/HEVC and benefit from distribution savings over and above what most providers are doing today with H.264/AVC - backed by every mainstream media preparation vendor in market today


  2. Support an incredible quality of picture with fractional data rate gains on top of 1080 HEVC


  3. Avoid a costly production technology upgrade - 1080p has been a standard for years and adoption rates are already sky high


  4. Embed HDR technologies like Dolby Vision and HDR10 into existing H.265/HEVC streams - resolution agnostically


  5. Easier adoption in OTT and digital publishing by eliminating the need for complex resolution management logic for devices that can't support 4K decoding


The news of 1080p + HDR is great - and hopefully will evolve to include High Frame Rates (HFR) from the UHD spec into HD + HDR.

Is 4K broadcasting on a downward trend?

Back in 2020, I penned an article that discussed TV's wow factor, the impact of 4K, HDR, and the role that 1080p with HDR still has to play (https://www.tvbeurope.com/media-delivery/the-sustainability-of-delivering-high-resolutions-wow-factor). The central theme was that perhaps the 4K trend was unsustainable.

Fast forward to 2024, and these thoughts now seem to be gaining momentum elsewhere with news that for the first time in nearly 10 years, UEFA has indicated that it won't be producing future competitions in 4K, and will revert back to 1080p with HLG HDR, and rumblings from Amazon in the US that they also seem to be heading in the same direction.

Over the 4-5 years, I've had conversations with customers around 4K who have stated they have no plans for its adoption because of the eye watering costs of the production and distribution chain, and more interestingly, a struggle to find mechanisms to generate the returns needed to cover the investment.

Contradictory to what I thought we'd be seeing by now, production and distribution of content in 4K is still expensive business, and it doesn't seem to be reducing fast enough at a rate to drive wide spread adoption. Couple that with ongoing costs of bandwidth, distribution and preparation, not to mention the complexities of managing its distribution in the VOD space, and we can start to see why 4K is faltering.


What about the 4K / HDR relationship?

4K and HDR aren't mutually exclusive - they can live independently. 99% of the data rate overhead relates to resolution and associated bits per pixel that are needed for 4K - not the HDR bitstream. However, 99% of the perceived picture quality improvements come from the improved contrast and colour depths that come from HDR - not 4K.

Without HDR by its side, 4K simply doesn't deliver the consumer impact and visual qualities that most audiences resonate with.

 

1080p + HDR = A sweet spot of negligible overheads

Carrying a HDR bitstream requires only a few kilobytes of data beyond a standard H.265 / HEVC encoded 1080p stream. This minimal amount of metadata enables the decoder to expand the signal for display.

With this in mind, the rationale for that 1080p HDR sweet spot becomes obvious.

  1. Move H.264/AVC to H.265/HEVC and benefit from distribution savings over and above what most providers are doing today with H.264/AVC - backed by every mainstream media preparation vendor in market today


  2. Support an incredible quality of picture with fractional data rate gains on top of 1080 HEVC


  3. Avoid a costly production technology upgrade - 1080p has been a standard for years and adoption rates are already sky high


  4. Embed HDR technologies like Dolby Vision and HDR10 into existing H.265/HEVC streams - resolution agnostically


  5. Easier adoption in OTT and digital publishing by eliminating the need for complex resolution management logic for devices that can't support 4K decoding


The news of 1080p + HDR is great - and hopefully will evolve to include High Frame Rates (HFR) from the UHD spec into HD + HDR.

To find out more about anything you've read here, or to learn how Spicy Mango could help, drop us a note at hello@spicymango.co.uk, give us a call, or send us a message using our contact form and we'll be in touch.

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Contact us - we don't bite

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We don’t share your personal details with anyone

Get in touch

Contact us - we don't bite

Drop us an email at hello@spicymango.co.uk or call us on +44 (0)844 848 0441 or fill out the contact form below for a friendly chat.

We don’t share your personal details with anyone

Get in touch

Contact us - we don't bite

Drop us an email at hello@spicymango.co.uk or call us on +44 (0)844 848 0441 or fill out the contact form below for a friendly chat.

We don’t share your personal details with anyone