The Steering Board of the DVB has given its approval to the Phase 1 specification drawn up for Ultra High Definition TV services.

At the 77th meeting of the Board there was also approval for technical protocols for companion screens and MPEG-DASH.

DVB-UHDTV includes an HEVC Profile for DVB broadcasting services that draws, from the options available with HEVC, those that will match the requirements for delivery of UHDTV Phase 1 and other formats. The specification updates ETSI TS 101 154 (Specification for the use of Video and Audio Coding in Broadcasting Applications based on the MPEG-2 Transport Stream).

The system allows for images four times the static resolution of the 1080p HDTV format, at frame rates of up to 60 images per second. Contrast will be drastically improved by increasing the number of bits per pixel to 10 bit. From the wide range of options defined in the HEVC Main 10 profile, Level 5.1 is specified for UHD content for resolutions up to 2160p. For HD content, HEVC Main profile level 4.1 is specified for supporting resolutions up to 1080p.

It also accounts for the possibility that a second phase may later use higher frame rates.

“HEVC is the most recently developed compression technology and, among other uses, it is the key that will unlock UHDTV broadcasting,” said DVB Steering Board Chairman, Phil Laven. “This new DVB–UHDTV Phase 1 specification not only opens the door to the age of UHDTV delivery but also potentially sets the stage for Phase 2, the next level of UHDTV quality, which will be considered in upcoming DVB work,” he continued.

The board also approved the specification for Companion Screens and Streams, Part 2: Content Identification and Media Synchronization. This specification concentrates on the identification and synchronisation of a broadcast service on a TV device, a regular display or set-top box and screen, and a companion device. The latter would then be able to run related content through a triggered event.

The approval of an MPEG-DASH Profile makes it possible to run the transport stream in a DVB environment.

Standardisation on all three is being sent to ETSI for formal approval.