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November 29, 2021

New DVB Spec Supports 8K

After much anticipation in the industry, the DVB Steering Board has approved specification updates that allow for the delivery of 8K video for the first time. It was initially released with support for 8K using just the HEVC codec, which created some immediate chatter on social media, as many had expected VVC to be supported from the outset. However, VVC, AV1, and AVS3 may be coming in 2022. This first release with HEVC support is seen as a first step to enable the distribution of 8K video over broadcast or broadband networks in many markets worldwide. the news has so far mainly generated neutral or positive comments with some like Techmoran, going as far as saying that “8K is now coming to your TVs”.

The DVB so-called “BlueBooks” already specify the use of HEVC for the distribution of 4K-UHD video, so this new step expands its use to 8K resolution. The updated DVB specification encompass delivery of 8K UHD via both transport stream (broadcast) and DVB-DASH (broadband). Available now are DVB’s specification for video and audio coding, the DVB-DASH profile for video streaming, and the DVB-SI specification for delivery of service information. All three updates also include some bug fixes. The new BlueBook version of DVB-SI will be published in the coming days, said DVB.

In the specification for video and audio coding document, new additions include support for SDR 8K content up to 60 Hz and HDR 8K content in PQ or HLG formats also up to 60 Hz refresh rates. Fractional frame rates are included.

The early availability of a HEVC conformance point supporting 8k video brings some flexibility for deployments that maximize service interoperability across device ecosystems. But in the longer term, 8K video delivery will benefit from even more efficient video codecs. This is a goal of current DVB work on Next-Generation Video Coding, which is expected to lead to further additions to the DVB specifications in 2022.

The Commercial Requirements (CR) for these next-generation codecs were approved in June 2021. These codecs are expected to accelerate adoption of 4K while enabling new 8K video services across broadband and broadcast networks.

According to the September issue of DVB Scene, the organization’s magazine, “The CRs need the support of 16:9 images up to 7680×4320 pixels. High dynamic range (HDR; PQ with optional dynamic metadata and HLG) and standard dynamic range (SDR) are to be supported (10 bits only). Conformance points for standard frame rate (up to 60Hz) and high frame rate (up to 120 Hz) will be defined, with non-integer frame rates supported for global applicability. It is required that the specification enables 8K delivery over MPEG-TS and DASH, and that appropriate signaling is enabled for DVB-I, DVB-SI and DVB-DASH mechanisms.”

The article continued with, “For the work to add new codecs, initially three solutions were identified as candidates for meeting the CRs: AV1, AVS3 and VVC. All three are now being assessed for technical compliance with the CRs as well as compliance with DVB’s IPR policy. Specification releases are expected during 2022 to cover all three new candidate codecs, subject to successfully validating technical and IPR compliance. A first release of specifications including VVC is expected in early 2022. For precise and complete information on the commercial requirements for new video codecs, DVB Members can see document CM-AVC0620.”

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