Industry consortium develops a 4K quality seal, 'Ultra HD Premium'

LAS VEGAS - Industry consortium the UltraHD Alliance has created what it's billing as a "single, identifying mark" for both consumers and installers to follow for adopting 4K video, the "Ultra HD Premium" logo.

Launched at last year's CES, the UHDA has grown to more than 35 companies. UHDA board members include executives from Dolby Laboratories, LG Electronics, Netflix, Panasonic Corporation, Samsung Electronics, Sony Corporation, Technicolor, The Walt Disney Studios, Twentieth Century Fox, Universal Pictures and Warner Bros. Entertainment.

Back at the same trade event where it all began on Monday, the group announced the new logo and said it "is reserved for products and services that comply with performance metrics for resolution, high dynamic range (HDR), peak luminance, black levels and wide color gamut among others."

"The diverse group of UltraHD Alliance companies agreed that to realize the full potential of Ultra HD the specs need to go beyond resolution and address enhancements like HDR, expanded color and ultimately even immersive audio. Consumer testing confirmed this," said UHD Alliance President Hanno Basse. "The criteria established by this broad cross section of the Ultra HD ecosystem enables the delivery of a revolutionary in-home experience, and the Ultra HD Premium logo gives consumers a single, identifying mark to seek out so they can purchase with confidence."

Confidence among consumers is indeed an issue. While adoption of the higher resolution standard has quickened in regions like Canada, the U.S. market has been slow to cultivate consumer demand, not to mention commitment by content producers to make 4K programming. Part of the problem is confusion over the technology related -- for example, the emergence of the complimentary high dynamic range (HDR) standard has caused consumers to hold off on adoption until they feel 4K is a more fully baked.

The UltraHD Alliance is hoping the new quality seal will provide constituencies including pay-TV installers with a means of establishing some consumer confidence -- that the video system being integrated into their home won't be obsolete in six months and meets industry standards.

"As a long-time champion for 4K Ultra High-Definition TV, we applaud the efforts of the UHD Alliance to define a premium home entertainment experience across the UHD ecosystem," said Gary Shapiro, president of the Consumer Technology Association, in a statement. "CTA and the UHDA share the goal of helping consumers and retailers understand the incredible benefits of UHD technologies and services. The UHDA's new 'Ultra HD Premium' specs complement CTA's new guideline for HDR-compatible displays. Both will help consumers and retailers navigate the rapidly growing 4K UHD marketplace."

For more:
- read this UltraHD Alliance press release
- read this Consumer Technology Association press release

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DirecTV to deliver live 4K in early 2016, company exec says
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