DVB moves towards supporting 8K UHD broadcasting

Mike Wheatley

The DVB Steering Board has released its first 8K UHD tuner specification based on the HEVC codec. It also plans to implement a specification based on the Versatile Video Coding, or VVC codec next year.


The Digital Video Broadcasting tuner standard is used throughout Europe, most of Africa, large parts of Asia, Australia and in many other parts of the world for broadcast signals. It has been slower to adopt 8K than other standards. For example in North America, the alternative ATSC 3.0 standard that supports 8K resolution was deployed in early 2020.

However, DVB says it’s now ready to take its first steps towards supporting 8K with the release of its first 8K spec. Initially, it will be based on the HEVC, or H.256 video codec that also uses 4K for delivery. It will support 8K UHD over both broadcast (transport stream) and broadband (DVB-DASH), the DVB Steering Board said.

“These updates, extending existing support for the HEVC codec, are the first step in a series of key additions planned for the DVB video coding specifications,” the organization said. “These will ensure that DVB continues to provide the most comprehensive and flexible toolbox for the delivery of next generation television services via broadcast and broadband.”

It’s not clear yet which TV brands or models might be the first to support the DVB’s new 8K UHD specifications, but in any case it’s unlikely that many 8K TV channels will emerge in Europe soon, given that most do not even broadcast in 4K yet. For streaming services it’s different as they do not use the ATSC or DVB specifications, though they rely on the same video codecs.

The DVB’s slow rollout of 8K support can perhaps be forgiven. After all, very few people even own an 8K TV at this stage, and recent research suggests the technology is likely to remain a niche one for the next five years at least.

DVB will add support for more advanced codecs in future revisions of its 8K UHD specification. It has previously said the AV1, AVS3 and VVC codecs had been identified as candidates. In addition, it also plans to add support for high dynamic range and high frame rates.

DVB said its first extension will be for the VVC codec, with support likely to arrive in the first half of next year.