Rec. 2020

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Diagram of the CIE 1931 color space that shows the Rec. 2020 (UHDTV) color space in the triangle and the location of the primary colors. Rec. 2020 uses Illuminant D65 for the white point.

ITU-R Recommendation BT.2020, more commonly known by the abbreviations Rec. 2020 or BT.2020, was posted on the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) website on August 23, 2012.[1][2][3][4] Rec. 2020 defines various aspects of ultra high definition television (UHDTV) such as display resolution, frame rate, chroma subsampling, bit depth, and color space.[1]

Technical details[edit]


Rec. 2020 defines two resolutions of 3840 × 2160 and 7680 × 4320.[1] These resolutions have an aspect ratio of 16:9 and use square pixels.[1]

Frame rate[edit]

Rec. 2020 specifies the following frame rates: 120p, 60p, 59.94p, 50p, 30p, 29.97p, 25p, 24p, 23.976p.[1] Only progressive scan frame rates are allowed.[1]

Digital representation[edit]

Rec. 2020 defines a bit depth of either 10-bits per sample or 12-bits per sample.[1]

10-bits per sample Rec. 2020 uses video levels where the black level is defined as code 64 and the nominal peak is defined as code 940.[1] Codes 0-3 and 1,020-1,023 are used for the timing reference.[1] Codes 4 through 63 provide video data below the black level while codes 941 through 1,019 provide video data above the nominal peak.[1]

12-bits per sample Rec. 2020 uses video levels where the black level is defined as code 256 and the nominal peak is defined as code 3760.[1] Codes 0-15 and 4,080-4,095 are used for the timing reference.[1] Codes 16 through 255 provide video data below the black level while codes 3,761 through 4,079 provide video data above the nominal peak.[1]

System colorimetry[edit]

RGB color space parameters[1]
Color space White point Primary colors
xW yW xR yR xG yG xB yB
ITU-R BT.2020 0.3127 0.3290 0.708 0.292 0.170 0.797 0.131 0.046

The Rec. 2020 (UHDTV/UHD-1/UHD-2) color space can reproduce colors that can not be shown with the Rec. 709 (HDTV) color space.[5][6] The RGB primaries used by Rec. 2020 are equivalent to monochromatic light sources on the CIE 1931 spectral locus.[6][7] The wavelength of the Rec. 2020 primary colors is 630 nm for the red primary color, 532 nm for the green primary color, and 467 nm for the blue primary color.[7][8] In coverage of the CIE 1931 color space the Rec. 2020 color space covers 75.8%, the digital cinema reference projector color space covers 53.6%, the Adobe RGB color space covers 52.1%, and the Rec. 709 color space covers 35.9%.[5]

During the development of the Rec. 2020 color space it was decided that it would use real colors, instead of imaginary colors, so that it would be possible to show the Rec. 2020 color space on a display without the need for conversion circuitry.[9] Since a larger color space increases the difference between colors an increase of 1-bit per sample is needed for Rec. 2020 to equal or exceed the color precision of Rec. 709.[9]

The NHK measured contrast sensitivity for the Rec. 2020 color space using Barten's equation which had previously been used to determine the bit depth for digital cinema.[5] 11-bits per sample for the Rec. 2020 color space is below the visual modulation threshold, the ability to discern a one value difference in luminance, for the entire luminance range.[5] The NHK is planning for their UHDTV system, Super Hi-Vision, to use 12-bits per sample RGB.[5][10]

Luma coefficients[edit]

Rec. 2020 allows for RGB and YCbCr signal formats with 4:4:4, 4:2:2, and 4:2:0 chroma subsampling.[1] Rec. 2020 specifies that if a luma (Y') signal is made that it uses the R’G’B’ coefficients 0.2627 for red, 0.6780 for green, and 0.0593 for blue.[1]

Transfer characteristics[edit]

Rec. 2020 defines the nonlinear transfer function that can be used for gamma correction with RGB and YCbCr.[1] RGB may be used when the best quality program production is needed.[1] YCbCr may be used when the top priority is compatiblity with SDTV/HDTV operating practices.[1] Rec. 2020 also defines a linear encoded version of YCbCr called YcCbcCrc.[1] YcCbcCrc may be used when the top priority is the most accurate retention of luminance information.[1]

10-bits per sample Rec. 2020 uses the same nonlinear transfer function that is used by Rec. 709.[1][11] 12-bits per sample Rec. 2020 makes changes in the nonlinear transfer function since the minimum point on a 0 to 1 light intensity range where the nonlinear transfer function begins is raised from 0.018 to 0.0181.[1][11] The Rec. 2020 nonlinear transfer function is linear near 0 and then transfers to a power function for the rest of the light intensity range:[1]

4.5E & 0 \le E < \beta\,\!\\
\alpha\,\!E^{0.45} - (\alpha\,\! - 1) & \beta\,\! \le E \le 1

  • where E is the signal proportional to light intensity and E' is the resulting nonlinear signal
  • where α = 1.099 and β = 0.018 for 10-bits per sample system
  • where α = 1.0993 and β = 0.0181 for 12-bits per sample system


HDMI 2.0 supports the Rec. 2020 color space.[12] HDMI 2.0 can transmit 12-bit per sample RGB at a resolution of 2160p and a frame rate of 24/25/30 fps or it can transmit 12-bits per sample 4:2:2/4:2:0 YCbCr at a resolution of 2160p and a frame rate of 50/60 fps.[12]

The Rec. 2020 color space is supported by H.264/MPEG-4 AVC and High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC).[13][14][15] The Main 10 profile in HEVC was added based on proposal JCTVC-K0109 which proposed that a 10-bit profile be added to HEVC for consumer applications.[16] The proposal stated that this was to allow for improved video quality and to support the Rec. 2020 color space that will be used by UHDTV.[16]

On September 11, 2013, ViXS Systems announced the XCode 6400 SoC which supports 4K resolution at 60 fps, the Main 10 profile of HEVC, and the Rec. 2020 color space.[17]

On April 6, 2014, Sony announced development of a 30 in (76 cm) professional 4K OLED display that will support the Rec. 2020 color space and is expected to be released in the spring of 2015.[18]

On May 22, 2014, Nanosys announced that using a quantum dot enhancement film (QDEF) a current LCD TV was modified so that it could cover 91% of the Rec. 2020 color space.[19] Nanosys engineers believe that with improved LCD color filters it is possible to make a LCD that covers 97% of the Rec. 2020 color space.[19]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x "BT.2020 : Parameter values for ultra-high definition television systems for production and international programme exchange". International Telecommunication Union. 2012-08-23. Retrieved 2014-08-14. 
  2. ^ "The international standard for Super Hi-Vision TV". NHK. 2012-08-23. Retrieved 2012-08-30. 
  3. ^ "8K Ultra High Def TV Format Opens Options for TV Viewing". The Hollywood Reporter. 2012-08-28. Retrieved 2012-08-30. 
  4. ^ "ITU approves NHK's Super Hi-Vision as 8K standard, sets the UHDTV ball rolling very slowly". Engadget. 2012-08-25. Retrieved 2012-08-30. 
  5. ^ a b c d e ""Super Hi-Vision" as Next-Generation Television and Its Video Parameters". Information Display. Retrieved 2012-12-27. 
  6. ^ a b "Super Hi-Vision format". NHK. Retrieved 2012-08-24. 
  7. ^ a b "Wide-color-gamut Super Hi-Vision System". NHK. Retrieved 2013-05-18. 
  8. ^ David Wood (2012-03-08). "Deciding Tomorrow's Television Parameters". European Broadcasting Union. Retrieved 2013-05-02. 
  9. ^ a b "BT.2246-2(2012) : The present state of ultra-high definition television". International Telecommunication Union. 2013-01-16. Retrieved 2013-04-30. 
  10. ^ "Super Hi-Vision Production Devices for Mobile". NHK. Retrieved 2013-05-18. 
  11. ^ a b "BT.709 : Parameter values for the HDTV standards for production and international programme exchange". International Telecommunication Union. 2009-08-27. Retrieved 2012-09-15. 
  12. ^ a b "FAQ for HDMI 2.0". Retrieved 2014-01-25. 
  13. ^ "H.265 : High efficiency video coding". ITU. 2013-06-07. Retrieved 2013-06-16. 
  14. ^ G.J. Sullivan; J.-R. Ohm; W.-J. Han; T. Wiegand (2012-05-25). "Overview of the High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) Standard" (PDF). IEEE Transactions on Circuits and Systems for Video Technology. Retrieved 2013-06-16. 
  15. ^ "H.265 : High efficiency video coding". ITU. 2013-06-12. Retrieved 2013-06-16. 
  16. ^ a b Alberto Dueñas; Adam Malamy (2012-10-18). "On a 10-bit consumer-oriented profile in High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC)". JCT-VC. Retrieved 2013-06-16. 
  17. ^ "ViXS Announces XCode 6400, the World's First System-on-Chip (SoC) with Native Support for 10-bit High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) and Ultra High Definition (HD) 4K". PRNewswire. 2013-09-11. Retrieved 2013-09-15. 
  18. ^ "At NAB 2014, Sony Unites Product, Systems and Services to Give 4K Content Creators New Ways to Express Themselves". Sony. 2014-04-06. Retrieved 2014-04-12. 
  19. ^ a b "Is the rec.2020 UHD color broadcast spec really practical?". Nanosys. 2014-05-22. Retrieved 2014-07-21. 

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