The Digital Production Partnership (DPP) has published a new specification for shooting and delivering Ultra High Definition (UHD) programmes.

The DPP said it will be implemented by all major UK broadcasters when they begin airing UHD content. So far, the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Sky and BT Sport - which launched its UHD channel last year - have adopted the standard.

“When the DPP defined a common standard for file-based HD programme delivery, we were replacing the use of videotape for HD delivery,’ said DPP managing director Mark Harrison.

“But UHD is the first delivery format that has never existed on tape; and it is very exciting for the DPP and its Members to be able to help the industry get ready for this major upgrade in television picture quality.”

The DPP worked with the Advanced Media Workflow Association (AWMA) to extend the AS-11 file delivery format to include UHD parameters and to revise the way that metadata is carried within a programme file.

The specification is expected to be amended and updated as the nascent technology develops and broadcasters become more familiar with UHD.

The DPP’s UHD spec – at a glance

Programmes must be shot, post-produced and delivered at:

  • 3840 x 2160 pixels in an aspect ratio of 16:9
  • 50 or 25 frames per second progressive (2160p/50 or 2160p/25)
  • Colour sampling ratio of 4:2:0 or 4:2:2

Non-UHD material will be limited to 25% of a programme’s duration

Rushes shot with “most” cameras that have an image sensor under 2/3-inch will not be treated as UHD

The use of UHD cameras defined by the ITU as ‘Tier 2’ should be checked with broadcasters

Programmes must be delivered as files that conform to the AS-11 X1 specification, which specifies:

  • MXF OP1a format
  • AVC/H.264 codec video (10-bit, LongGOP or I-Frame)  

UHD audio requirements are the same as for HD delivery

Click here for the full UHD spec on the DPP’s website.

The DPP has also published two guides for members of the organisation: a UHD Production Workflow Guide and UHD – For Real, a report from the DPP at Home event UHD which examines how and when UHD will enter the mainstream.

The reports has identified late 2017 as the projected ‘take off’ moment for UHD.