Tech DeKoded — TVs go “premium”

Samsung 2016 UHD Premium TV

UHD Premium logoSplurged on a high-end 4K TV these holidays? Then you are better off not reading what follows! For the rest, the good news is that buying a great TV has gotten a lot easier. Couple of days back, the UHD Alliance claimed it had “simplified enjoying a premium, full-featured Ultra High Definition in-home experience” by laying down the rules for what exactly a premium 4K TV is.

Why this matters
Most manufacturers are notorious for hyping up the strong points of a TV, while burying away specs that are not so flattering. And usually, it is left to the buyer to wade through spec sheets or trawl online to figure out if the TV you have shortlisted has any weak points. For example, does it do 4:4:4 chroma or merely 4:2:2, and is the HDMI port 2.0 or 2.0a?
But now all you need to do is look out for a sticker that says “Ultra HD Premium” — it guarantees the TV ticks all the boxes you would expect from a premium model. Mind you, it is not just TVs — as the official press release from the alliance notes, the ‘premium’ tag will be used to “identify devices, content and services capable of delivering a premium experience to an exploding Ultra HD market that is expected to grow eightfold by 2019”.

This premium experience, incidentally, includes “resolution, high dynamic range (HDR), peak luminance, black levels and wide color gamut, among others.” Designated “independent” centres around the world will test and certify these devices. And as the press release adds, “These advances in resolution, contrast, brightness, color and audio will enable certified displays and content to replicate the richness of life’s sights and sounds and allow in-home viewers to more fully and accurately experience the content creator’s vision.”

The Alliance has also laid down recommendations for immersive audio, such as Dolby Atmos — we will soon cover it in a separate article. Another feature we are stoked about — and something we believe you will love — is HDR. Various tests have shown that viewers are impacted more by a wider colour gamut, enhanced contrast and brightness; than by merely increasing the resolution of the video.

Finally, the best part — you won’t have to wait long for these premium devices. As the tech mag Wired muses, TV makers are dueling for UHD Premium ‘world first’ at CES. Elsewhere, Samsung has announced that its entire 2016 SUHD TV lineup has received the premium certification.

So looks like 2016 will be the year TVs go “premium”. Of course, at this time next year, we would probably be talking about how obsolete they are, as TV makers wheel out swanky new 8K TVs! LG already brought one to CES 2016.