What’s Happening in the Technology Work Group of the 8K Association?
The 8K Association (8KA) provides information and education on the emerging 8K ecosystem for professionals and consumers. But the Association also has an 8K TV Certification program. The Technology Work Group (TWG) sets the requirements for the on-screen performance and interfaces to the 8K TVs. This article will describe what the TWG has done to date and what it is working on for the next revision of the Certification Specification.
The 8KA and the TWG were first organized in January 2019. One year later, the TWG issued the first specification for an 8K Association Certified 8K TV. While the exact details of the specification remain only for member viewing, it is fair to say that the performance and interface levels were very pragmatic. That is to say, the TWG did not want to set levels so high that only a handful of TVs could pass, and on the other hand, not set the bar so low that every 8K TV could pass. The bar was set so many 8K TVs, but not all, could pass, allowing for broad adoption of the Certified logo.
Every year since, the TWG has met to discuss adding new elements to the specification and raising the bar on existing components of the specification but doing so in a way as to ensure backward compatibility with previous versions. In December 2021, the latest version of the specification was released that embraces the concept of evolution of the specification. For example, the updated specification adds new decoding requirements, new image quality metrics, and a Gaming mode spec that includes support for Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM) and Variable Refresh Rate (VRR) via the HDMI 2.1 interface.
The new specification is also pioneering the use of Ambient Contrast Ratio (ACR) as a new way to help ensure good picture quality performance in different ambient lighting conditions. For example, when the room is dark, the TV will deliver the brightest colors and widest contrast. But as the ambient illumination increases, both picture quality elements diminish. This issue can be overcome with brighter TVs and screen technology with lower reflectance. The 8KA ACR test measures the reflectivity of the TV with a test pattern in both bright and dim illumination conditions and sets levels for performance in each case that the TV must pass. ACR is an essential factor for TVs from users’ perspective, regardless of resolution.
The 8KA Certified logo is something consumers should look for when purchasing a new TV. It is designed to instill confidence that any Certified TV will meet their needs today and into the future. So far, nearly 90 8K TVs have been certified.
So, what is the TWG (Technology Work Group 8K Association) working on for 2022? One key area the committee is looking at is an interface standard that can accommodate higher refresh rates than the current specification. It is anticipated that content and source devices will support higher frame rates in the coming years, so the 8KA wants to be sure the TVs are ready for such signals when they arrive.
If you are interested in learning more about the 8K Association, you can visit www.8kassociation.com or www.discover8k.com web sites. Please download the membership application here if you want to help the 8K Association’s TWG define this next-generation interface.