The ITU has announced a new standard for High Dynamic Range (SDR) television saying it represents a major advance in television broadcasting. 'HDR brings an incredible feeling of realism, building further on the superior color fidelity of ITU's Ultra-High Definition Television (UHDTV) Recommendation BT.2020,' ITU said.

The ITU's Radiocommunication Sector (ITU-R) has developed the standard (Recommendation in ITU parlance) in collaboration with experts from the television industry, broadcasting organizations and regulatory institutions in its Study Group 6.

'High Dynamic Range Television will bring a whole new viewing experience to audiences around the world,' said ITU secretary-general Houlin Zhao. 'TV programming will be enhanced with brighter pictures that add sparkle to entertainment and realism to news coverage.'

François Rancy, director of the ITU Radiocommunication Bureau, added: 'High Dynamic Range Television represents an important step towards the virtual-reality quality of experience to be delivered by future broadcasting and multimedia systems.

Andy Quested, chairman of ITU-R Working Party 6C (WP 6C), which developed the new standard, said: 'This Recommendation is the culmination of three years of intensive work by dedicated image experts from around the world. HDR images are stunning and this is another major step forward in television quality. Program makers today need a much wider range of options in order to meet the expectations of the different platforms they must supply.'

The new standard, ITU-R HDR-TV Recommendation BT.2100, allows TV programs to take full advantage of the new and much brighter display technologies, ITU says. 'HDR-TV can make outdoor sunlit scenes appear brighter and more natural, adding highlights and sparkle. It enhances dimly lit interior and night scenes, revealing more detail in darker areas, giving TV producers the ability to reveal texture and subtle colors that are usually lost with existing Standard Dynamic Range TV.'

The HDR-TV Recommendation details two options for producing High Dynamic Range TV images. The Perceptual Quantization (PQ) specification achieves a very wide range of brightness levels using a transfer function that is finely tuned to match the human visual system and the Hybrid Log-Gamma (HLG) specification offers a degree of compatibility with legacy displays by more closely matching the previously established television transfer curves. The Recommendation also outlines a simple conversion process between the two HDR-TV options.