i3 - November/December 2019 - 17

By Mark Levine

Tech

PIPE LINE

CTA-861 - CTA's Most Popular Standard

 C 

Maskot/Getty Images

TA develops essential industry standards
and recommended practices to enable
interoperability between new products
and existing devices. CTA has developed a vast
number of industry standards that cover topics
such as television, augmented/virtual reality, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, and wearables,
but our most popular standard continues to be
CTA-861, A DTV Profile for Uncompressed HighSpeed Digital Interfaces. You may not know
CTA-861, but chances
are you've used it. The
ubiquitous HDMI
interface relies on
CTA-861.

HD to UHD and beyond. Advanced audio and High Dynamic
Range (HDR) video have been accommodated in recent years.
Other industry organizations such as the HDMI Forum, the
Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE)
and Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA) continue to use and reference CTA-861 to this day.
The revision CTA is working on now, which will eventually
result in CTA-861-H, involves many vital updates and modifications that will help the industry. First, it will include two recent
extensions that were created soon after the previous version was
created. One extension deals with dynamic HDR metadata/colorimetry and the second is focused on audio, adding support for
MPEG-H 3DA capabilities,
ITU-R BS.2051 System H
22.2 multichannel sound,
and audio coding extension
types ATRAC-X, MPEG-4
ALS, and Auro-CX. Other
major additions include
things like the BT.2100 specification update, quantization range update, timing
formats and reference
updates. These technical
upgrades mean more
options for better video,
color and sound.
The estimated completion
date for CTA-861-H is
mid-2020.

This standard was first written
around the turn of the century,
when CTA was still known as
the Consumer Electronics
Association. The first version
of this standard was published
in January 2001, but has
received many revisions,
amendments and extensions
throughout the years, and
CTA is currently working on
the eighth revision, which will
result in CTA-861-H.
Testing at PlugFest
CTA-861 describes how
At the request of the industry
digital audio/video signals
in 2003, CTA created an
CTA-861 describes how digital
can be sent from one device
interoperability testing event
to another. Digital interfaces,
audio/video signals can be sent from for the industry, known as
such as HDMI, in consumer
PlugFest. It was the early days
one device to another.
electronics products like digfor HDMI, and there were
ital TVs, digital set-top boxes
interoperability problems. The
(cable or satellite) and DVD
event provided a testbed for
players make use of CTA-861. Devices that send the digital AV
digital interfaces (DVI, HDMI and IEEE 1394) between cables
signals are called sources, and devices that receive the signals,
boxes and TVs. PlugFest is a secure place where companies meet
namely TVs and monitors, are called sinks.
to test their products with other industry products to ensure
they are compatible with each other. PlugFests are wellattended and always receive positive feedback.
Important Updates
CTA-861 has been important to the industry for almost 20
Throughout the years this standard has gone through major
years and continues to be one of the leading HDMI-related stanchanges. Initially it was a video-only standard but was quickly
dards. The industry continues to rely on this standard and CTA is
updated to include the carriage of audio. The video resolution
committed to making the necessary updates to keep it relevant.
specified by the standard has increased over the years, from
C TA . t e c h / i 3

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https://cta.tech/i3

i3 - November/December 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of i3 - November/December 2019

i3 - November/December 2019 - Cover1
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i3 - November/December 2019 - 1
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i3 - November/December 2019 - Cover3
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https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/manifest/i3_20160506
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/manifest/i3_20160708
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/manifest/i3_20170506
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