The call for
better pixels is being heeded. LG Electronics, Technicolor, Amazon, Harmonic,
Netflix, Dolby, Philips and broadcasters are among technology developers at the
Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas showcasing high dynamic range, a measure
of image brightness.
LG preceded the annual gadgetfest by announcing that it added HDR capability
and built-in HDR processing to its 98-inch 8KTV. The 98-incher made its debut
at IFA in Berlin in the fall of 2014. The model being demoed at this week’s CES
is newly HDR-enhanced.
LG’s organic light-emitting diode, or OLED, TVs also got the HDR treatment. The
2016 OLED line consisting of four models now feature HDR Pro, “assuring
a superior HDR viewing experience, with increased contrast ratio and color
The LG OLEDs support HDR formats HDR10 and Dolby Vision, plus they are expected
to be among the first displays certified as “Ultra HD Premium,” a set of
specifications released this week by the UHD Alliance. These include
3840x2160 resolution,10-bit color depth, BT.2020 color gamut and a high dynamic
range of either more than 1,000 nits peak brightness and less than 0.05 nits
black level, or more than 540 nits peak brightness and less than 0.0005 nits
black level for OLEDs. (See “Ultra HD
TV set makers Vizio and Samsung also are embracing HDR in a bid to fuel the
type of demand not seen since high-definition digital TVs were introduced.
Stereoscopic 3DTV followed the HDTV trend, but fell flat. The double-HD
resolution display type initially refered to as “4KTV” was “rebranded” by the
Consumer Technology Association as “Ultra HD” to circumvent any association
with 3DTV. Even so, more pixels haven’t been sufficient to start a fire beneath
consumers, so set makers are embracing what Dolby’s Pat Griffis coined a couple
years ago as “better pixels,” including HDR.
There is, however, very little widely available HDR content. Netflix is on
track to stream “Daredevil” mastered in Dolby Vision later this year. LG will
run clips of “Daredevil” on its OLED TVs during CES.
YouTube also is on deck with HDR for 2016. LG will demo HDR YouTube content,
mastered to meet Google’s own VP9-Profile 2 HDR standard.
Internet streamer Amazon beat Netflix and YouTube to the punch when it rolled
out HDR content last summer. Its original series, “Mozart in the Jungle” became
available for HDR streaming to Samsung SUHD TVs in July, CNet
said. LG said it will show that and other Amazon HDR titles at CES.
Fox came out of the HDR blocks last summer as well, announcing that it would
make UHD HDR visions of “all of its recent movies,” according to The
One notable title, “The Martian” will be on display
in HDR at CES in the LG booth. LG will use a Vidity video player from Western
Digital to feed “The Martian” into its HDR OLEDs.
The Fox initiative coincided with an announcement from Samsung that it would be
releasing the industry’s first Ultra HD Blu-Ray player this year. The
UBD-K8500 will have “64 times higher color expression compared to standard
Blu-ray and can upscale content to provide UHD resolution for any disc,”
according to CNet.
Harmonic is in the HDR mix in a collaboration with NASA. (See “NASA
Kicks Off UHD Channel with ‘Out-of-this-World’ Content,” Sept. 18, 2015
Clips from the resulting footage will be on display at LG’s CES booth in a
specially designed dark room.
Elsewhere, Dolby Vision made it into new 65-inch TCL 4KTVs, the first of the
Chinese electronics company’s X1 series to be launched in the United States.
The sets will be on display at CES, and on U.S. retail shelves in the second
quarter of the year.
Dolby Vision scored two more Hollywood studios as well. MGM and Universal
Pictures Home Entertainment have committed to “deliver new release and catalog
titles mastered in Dolby Vision,” Dolby said on Tuesday. No further details
Technicolor’s contribution to the HDR proliferation includes the content and
reception technology being used in demonstrations of HDR broadcasting using the
developing ATSC 3.0 standard. Initial tests were conducted in collaboration
with Sinclair last month (See, “Sinclair
Demos HDR 4KTV Over ATSC 3.0 in Vegas.”
) Technicolor’s Alan Stein
.) TV Technology
and broadcast veteran James E. O’Neal will file a report on the ATSC 3.0
demonstrations lined up to take place during CES.
LG and Samsung are set to receive and display ATSC 3.0 signals on the exhibit
floor, with LG leveraging Technicolor’s HDR color grading on content created by
Francis For Coppola. Here’s a quote attributed to the “Godfather” director as
provided by Technicolor:
“Since the invention of color film, Technicolor has stood for
lustrous, clear, beautiful images. A partnership between Technicolor and LG’s
OLED technology will bring the magic of my movies to the home as they were
meant to be experienced.”
Technicolor also is throwing in with Royal Philips to “merge their ongoing delivery
roadmaps for HDR solutions, including content creation tools, encoding and
decoding software and implementation support,” Technicolor said. The goal is to
streamline HDR deployment and create full backward compatibility with standard
dynamic range displays.
The Consumer Electronics Show, otherwise referred to as “CES,” starts Wednesday
and runs through Saturday.