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ARD ZDF ORF Delivery Requirements

Technical Guidelines for HDTV to ARD, ZDF, ORF

The "Technical Guidelines HDTV" is the technical guidance document for the delivery of programme content to ARD, ZDF and ORF. The latest version was published by the Institute for Radio Technology during November 2016. 
These guidelines are usually included in a programme’s delivery contract and are sometimes supplemented by the broadcasters own requirements.

The following parameters represent an overview of these guidelines. These are not legally binding.

The following table lists the video formats which are generally required for each broadcaster.
Broadcasters supported formats:

1080i/25 HD format has

•    a resolution of 1,920 pixels × 1,080 pixels 

•    an aspect ratio of 16:9 

•    a color subsampling rate of 4:2:2 

•    a frame rate of 25 frames per second interlaced (50 fields) 

The 720p/50 HD format has 

•    a resolution of 1,280 pixels × 720 pixels 

•    an aspect ratio of 16:9 

•    a color subsampling rate of 4:2:2 

•    a frame rate of 50 frames per second 

The 1080p/25 format has to be regarded as a special format and requires a separate arrangement for delivery, in order to avoid additional costs and/or technical quality issues. In order to avoid problems down the process chain, 1080p/25 material has to be transmitted as 1080psf/25 and signaled and processed as 1080i/25 

Television productions must be full frame. This means that the active image content fills the entire 16: 9 frame and does not contain any Pillar or letterbox.

Compression Formats

The following compression formats are permitted in the file delivery chain:
• MPEG-2, 4:2:2, 8 bit, long GOP, 50 Mbit/s (XDCAM-HD422 implementation); 

• AVC-I 100, 4:2:2, 10 bit, I-Frame, 112 Mbit/s (SMPTE RP 2027).


The method of delivery has to be agreed with the respective broadcaster (e.g. via Professional Disk or file upload.).

Audio Delivery

The recordings must be as good a quality as if recorded  at a professional recording studios. The recordings must correspond to the image content. They may not contain unintended changes in the acoustic atmosphere and must have a consistently balanced mixing ratio. The mixing ratio must always be in favour of speech intelligibility.
ARD, ZDF and ORF broadcast loudness normalised to EBU R 128. This should be considered mandatory in sound mixing. Audio should be delivered in a minimum of stereo, but multi-channel sound (Dolby E or 5.1 discrete) is desirable.

ARD, ZDF, ORF Delivery Requirements

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