High Standard: APEX TECH Addresses HDR at Virtual Expo

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APEX approves new specification for HDR content on IFE systems during APEX TECH at Virtual Expo. This article originally appeared in Expo Daily Experience. Read the full issues and register for FTE APEX Virtual Expo — the platform will remain open as a resource until January 8.

In recent years high dynamic range (HDR) video has become a highly desired feature in the world of mobile phones and consumer television. Screens that can support this technology offer brighter images, a higher contrast and richer colors than standard displays.

To bring this must-have into the cabin and seatback IFE systems, the APEX Technology Committee has approved a new technical specification for HDR: APEX 0415v3.

“I’m sure that it’s not the first time that airlines have been asked for the latest and greatest in consumer electronics to be available on [a passenger’s] next flight. Consumers bring their own devices that are already HD-compatible,” explains Juraj Siska, co-founder and CEO of IdeaNova Technologies, and a member of the committee’s HDR Working Group.

Image via Oskar Kadaksoo, Unsplash

The color imaging difference between standard dynamic range (SDR) displays and HDR is dramatic. SDR can display 256 shades of color, translating to about 16 million variations. HDR bumps that up to 1,024 shades, resulting in over 1 billion colors.

Contrast, or its dynamic range, is also greatly improved and apparent on just about any screen size. “HDR-capable displays can show the peaks of brightness and depth of darkness at the same time,” says Siska.

While the debate between embedded IFE screens and onboard streaming to passengers’ personal entertainment devices continues, Siska suggests that those airlines contemplating a hardware upgrade should consider HDR-capable displays. “HDR just looks better.”

On the Agenda

With the cancellation of the in-person January 2021 APEX TECH conference, members of the APEX Technology Committee’s four working groups came together to deliver the same informative content during Virtual Expo. While the association still hopes to hold an in-person forum in June, says committee chair Michael Childers, it nevertheless plans to continue carrying on other virtual activities that drive the industry forward. “In 2021, we will likely look into future codecs and content management codecs like AV1 and VVC. It is [also] more important than ever that we continue to move IFE into the cloud,” he adds.

Virtual Expo Connection – Event Agenda

Catch all APEX TECH sessions in the OnDemand Speaker Zone:

  • An introduction to the APEX Technology Committee
  • Measuring in-flight connectivity from a passenger perspective
  • A report on the activities of ARINC
  • The new APEX Specification for High Dynamic Range (HDR) content
  • How can IFE become a part of the digital, global, advertising ecosystem?
  • Language Metadata Tables (LMT)
  • The emerging Direct-to-Consumer (D2C) market and its impact on IFE 

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