UHD Alliance’s Mike Fidler Steps Down; Michael Zink Takes Over as President

Mike Fidler is stepping down as president of the UHD Alliance and is being replaced in the position by board chair Michael Zink, who will continue to serve as a spokesperson for the organization.

Mike Fidler

“I have had an exceptional time working with my counterparts in the industry that has been my life blood for over 40 years,” Fidler said in a statement. “It was my privilege to help advance the goals of the UHD Alliance in driving a premium home entertainment experience for consumers. Harnessing the power of the member companies to bring a unified message to market is always challenging and it has been incredibly rewarding to see the success we had with integrating Filmmaker Mode into the top CE brands and building the value of the Alliance for its member companies.”

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“Mike’s contributions to the Alliance and to initiatives such as Filmmaker Mode and Ultra HD Premium have been innumerable,” Zink said in a statement. “He’s brought a unique combination of industry knowledge, consumer understanding and leadership capabilities to the role that ideally suited him to guiding the organization through the development of initiatives that will benefit the industry and consumers for the foreseeable future. Mike’s efforts to expand the awareness of the UHDA and its initiatives with trade/retail associations (CEDIA, DTG, ProSource, HTSA, etc.), CE companies, consumers and the industry press were very successful. His efforts and counsel are greatly appreciated and will be missed by me and all the of UHDA member companies.”

The UHD Alliance — comprised of consumer electronics manufacturers, film and television studios, content distributors and technology companies — establishes performance requirements for resolution, high dynamic range, color and other video and audio attributes to promote the best possible 4K UHD with HDR experience. Home entertainment products, mobile devices and content meeting these certification requirements bear the UHDA’s Premium Logo marks.

Filmmaker Mode, introduced by the UHD Alliance in August 2019, is designed to reproduce content in the way the creator intended. It allows viewers to enjoy a more cinematic experience on their UHD TVs when watching movies by disabling all post-processing (e.g. motion smoothing, etc.) so the movie or television show is displayed as it was intended by the filmmaker, preserving the correct aspect ratios, colors and frame rates, according to the Alliance.

UHD Alliance’s Filmmaker Mode Picks Up Support From Hollywood Guilds, Samsung, Philips

Three Hollywood guilds, the Film Foundation, consumer electronics companies Samsung and Philips (TP Vision, Europe), and Kaleidescape have joined others in support of Filmmaker Mode, the UHD Alliance announced at CES Jan. 6.

The guilds include the Director’s Guild of America, the American Society of Cinematographers and the International Cinematographers Guild. The CE companies join LG Electronics, Panasonic and Vizio, which announced support for the program in August. Also in August, several high-profile directors and Hollywood studios hailed Filmmaker Mode, which brings a more cinematic viewing experience to the home by turning off motion smoothing on the TV, among other setting adjustments.

“[Filmmaker Mode] sets the television in a way that maintains filmmaker intent,” said Warner’s Michael Zink, UHD Alliance chairman, at the press conference.

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“Preserving intent is an important part of our creative rights work,” said director and co-chair of the DGA creative rights committee Christopher Nolan in a statement.

“Most people today are watching classic films at home,” said director Martin Scorsese, founder and chair of the Film Foundation, in a statement. “With Filmmaker Mode, different works will be presented accurately as they were created and designed by the filmmaker. Filmmaker Mode is a long overdue and welcome innovation.”

See more photos from the UHD Alliance press conference

The Film Foundation is a film preservation and education organization.

“The ASC’s mission has always centered around advancing the art and science of cinematography,” said Kees van Oostrum, president of the American Society of Cinematographers, in a statement. “Filmmaking is a true art-form and Filmmaker Mode allows that artwork to be enjoyed as envisioned by the artist not just in the theater, but in the home.”

With the addition of more CE companies, “we really do have that strong worldwide presence,” said UHD Alliance president Mike Fidler.

Tim Alessi, senior director, product marketing, LG Electronics, who announced the company’s support for Filmmaker Mode earlier in the day, also appeared at the UHD press conference. “We will include it in every new 4K and 8K TV that we introduce in 2020,” he said, adding LG would “aggressively promote it at retail.”

“We want to help the consumer watch all the great movies on a great TV without having to give it a second thought,” he said.

Panasonic’s Makoto Morise also showed up at the UHD event and noted that the company’s 2020 OLED HD 2000 series will support Filmmaker Mode, an announcement also made earlier at the Panasonic press conference. More models will be added, he said.

Ken Lowe, co-founder and VP, Vizio, also appeared at the event. Vizio will use the automatic feature that engages Filmmaker Mode, “but customers may also activate it manually as well,” he said.

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