The Story of Ultra HD Premium and Why it’s The Real Deal

Ultra HD Premium Badge

We have seen how dramatic the change to the entertainment and home cinema technology has been. The latest, and touted as the best ever, range of televisions one can now own is the Ultra HD Premium. Why is it a big deal? The badge they say, says it all. I mean, we know how much the industry loves dressing up their latest lineup with a badge or two. These badges are what sets the industry’s best apart from the rest. Everything runs through a certification process. This will give the buyer an idea on what to expect with the particular product, including some basic idea of how the product will perform under basic circumstances. You may even see some content stamped with specific approval.

Like we mentioned earlier, the Ultra HD Premium is the newest addition to the lot and will carry the 4K HD Premium badge.

According to pocket-lint.com:

“Panasonic recently revealed that its DX902 4K TV will carry the badge. And its UB900 Blu-ray player, now available in the UK, is the first device other than a television to get the stamp of approval.”

Wondering what a 4K HDR means and how different it is from other 4K devices? Let’s decode them here.

So, What is Ultra HD Premium?

Most of us have seen this badge on television sets and even on UHD Blue-ray. What does this mean though? This badge means that the particular product qualifies and passes the UHD Alliance’s specification to be considered a best-of-best audio-visual experience.

What About the Resolution?

Ultra HD, UHD or 4K…What is the difference? In truth, there is no difference. 4K products and videos are presented in 2160 pixels (3840 x 2160) resolution and that goes for any 4K product. 4K products today fall under a broader term, which is either UHD or Ultra HD. Ultra HD Premium however, confirms that the product or content achieves high-quality color, HDR (high dynamic range) and audio standards in addition to a 4K resolution.

What About the Color?

A 10-bit color depth is minimum for all these products, the quality of content is certified by the 4K HDR badge it carries. However, since a much wider palette is possible here, the color information showing 8-bit or 10-bit color depth doesn’t mean all displays can present it. For this reason, we have the color gamut. Color gamuts are visual representations of the full color spectrum and the achievable range from that which can be displayed.

Pocket-lint.com says:

“BT.2020 (also known as Rec. 2020) colour representation is the standard, but – and perhaps a little confusingly – different product types only need to display a given percentage of that gamut to achieve the Ultra HD Premium badge. A TV, for example, needs to display at least 90 per cent of P3 colours, while a mastering display must display a minimum of 100 per cent.”

What About the Dynamic Range?

OLED, LCD handle brightness and black levels quite different from HD televisions. When it comes to HDR range, a product can achieve the Ultra HD Premium badge in different instances. For instance, when the product has to showcase peak brightness of 1,000 nits with a black level of less than 0.05 nits, or 0.03 nits for mastering displays, it is LED; and if the product has to showcase peak brightness to be 540 nits with a black level of less than 0.0005 nits, it is OLED.

And the Ubiquity?

So, like we said, a product with an Ultra HD badge assures to deliver a premium experience. However, it is important to note that there is still a fair amount of choice and difference in potential between products. For instance, some TVs will be brighter and some will have deeper black levels and both will still qualify.

We believe that the Ultra HD Premium badge will eventually become ubiquitous, as manufacturers strive to achieve desired standards for their 4K products.

From a customer’s point-of-view, the badge will definitely help consumers choose a premium television set. Having said that, some manufacturers have chosen to not have their products certified, even if they do fit the Ultra HD criterion. Although, having a standardized naming convention will help consumers and manufacturers alike in positioning their products, some such as Sony, have decided to stick to their own naming conventions.

We are however, warming up to the idea of an Ultra HD Premium badge!

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Category: 4K Ultra HDTV

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