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Television Viewing Quality Stepping Into The Sunlight

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) joins the world in recognizing the significant advances made in Television (TV) and emerging technologies in the field that will enhance the TV viewing experience in ways that are nearly unimaginable – as we celebrate World Television Day 2018.

With new advances in television technologies, tomorrow’s TVs will literally “outshine” today’s. They will allow even more detail in dark areas of the picture, and brighter highlights.  ITU, which as the United Nations specialized agency for information and communication technology (ICT) sets global ICT standards, has been developing specifications that will allow broadcast and broadband services to use High Dynamic Range (HDR) television through a global standard. The result will be a greater sense of realism for viewers, giving television images a richer and more dynamic quality.

ITU has been the primary source of the basic specifications for Digital Television, High Definition Television (HDTV), and Ultra High Definition Television (UHDTV) specifications for the world. In recent years, work has continued with a standard (“Recommendation” in ITU) for HDR television systems, along with guidance for HDR programme production, and conversion between HDR and current High Definition (HD) systems. HDR can be applied to both UHDTV and HDTV images.

ITU’s work on making the television experience more immersive also goes further than the image.  Advances in the use of compression have made UHD TV a reality for terrestrial, satellite and Internet delivery to consumers. Standards that combine Internet and traditional over the air transmission are creating a whole new television experience, while recently new sound systems have been launched, allowing viewers to locate the ‘apparent’ source of sounds from all around, above and below them. This will be particularly valuable as television screens become even larger, and will enhance the sense of ‘immersion’ in the programme. ITU is developing standards for programme-making systems that will facilitate these advanced sound systems.

“ITU’s work has a major impact across the telecommunications frontier, and a major element of this is broadcast and broadband media,” said Houlin Zhao, ITU Secretary-General. “The ITU-driven technological advances being recognized today on World Television Day are exciting steps forward for the industry and for television viewers alike, bringing expanded opportunities for global communications that can make a difference to the world.”

ITU plays a major role in enabling cutting-edge technologies through globally harmonized standards and is actively investigating how Artificial Intelligence (AI) can bring a more personalized experience to viewers.  Investigations into Augmented and Virtual Reality (AR/VR) are ongoing also to further expand television services in the future.

“The media experience continues to expand to even greater levels of high-quality user immersion thanks to ITU’s study group on Broadcasting Services (ITU-R Study Group 6),” said François Rancy, Director of ITU’s Radio communication Bureau. Television remains the most consumed and most influential media across the world. We are proud of the leadership shown by ITU’s Radio communication Sector (ITU-R) in the continued enhancement of Television. The rich visual displays now available bring a real ‘sparkle’ to television viewing, in ways that television could be said to be ‘stepping into the sunlight’.”

ITU is also developing far more advanced Access Service options with the aim of promoting inclusion through the increase in the amount and quality of captioning, audio description and signing services. Standardization of these services by ITU leads to automation and ultimately, universal access service for all content.

Yukihrio Nishida, Chairman of ITU-R Study Group 6 said, “We make progress in ITU-R Study Group 6 thanks to our great team working collaboratively together to enhance broadcasting services for the benefit of everyone, everywhere. Personally I cannot wait to enjoy at home this new world of television images with High Dynamic Range, and the other exciting features we are working on ITU would also like to pay tribute to the father of digital television, Professor Mark Krivosheev – who after leading global television standardization for the past 70 years, recently passed away. .”—BCS Bureau

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