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RTVE-EBU transmit terrestrial Ultra HD

Ultra High Definition continues to spread in Europe after Spanish public broadcaster RTVE staged terrestrial transmissions based on the format, featuring MPEG1-Layer3 audio, in collaboration with the European Broadcasting Union (EBU).

Ultra High Definition continues to spread in Europe after Spanish public broadcaster RTVE staged terrestrial transmissions based on the format, featuring MPEG1-Layer3 audio, in collaboration with the European Broadcasting Union (EBU). RTVE tested its first terrestrial Ultra HD broadcast in Barcelona at the end of February using UHD-1 technology, based on a resolution of 3840×2160 pixels. The transmission, also involving Abertis Telecom, SAPEC, Sony, Apuntolapospo, UPM and URL, used the DVB-T2 digital terrestrial TV format and a MPEG1-Layer3 sound codec at 320kbps. The original audio was a WAV file at 48k and 20 bits/sample, which was converted at 16 bits and encoded as MP3. It was then multiplexed with the H264 4k resolution video at a final bit rate of 35Mbps. The broadcast was shown on an 84-inch screen during the Mobile World Conference 2013 (pictured) and featured footage of Barcelona. Lieven Vermaele, the EBU’s technology and innovation director, commented, “The EBU is committed to exploring the potential of new transmission technologies and new video formats. Through our support for this demonstration we are helping to ensure that the needs of public service broadcasters are taken into account as together we shape the future of television.” Right now there is no agreed international standard for Ultra HD audio but there is the possibility of the ITU making a decision on this soon. David Wood, deputy director of EBU Technology and Development, comments, “The question of audio for UHDTV is still under discussion in the ITU and other bodies, so there is no recommendation yet. Candidates include the 22.2 channel system developed by NHK and others. Trial Ultra HD broadcasts have so far used only stereo or 5.1. There are, however, hopes of an agreement in the ITU later this year.” www.ebu.ch

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