As the Consumer Electronics Show opens its doors in Las Vegas with a heavy emphasis on Ultra HD 4K television, Dolby has stepped in with an announcement about their hopes to upgrade TV pictures with or without more pixels.
The company has unveiled its new “Dolby Vision” system for encoding pictures with vastly more dynamic range and color — 100 times the peak brightness of the current television grading standard. With that extra brightness comes the ability to display many colors that can’t be reproduced on the current generation of televisions. The result is a dramatic improvement in TV pictures that arguably has as much or more impact than the extra resolution of 4K UHD.
Dolby hopes to get content creators, distributors and device makers alike to support incorporating its technology into UHD before the standards for the new TV format get too entrenched. To get any traction with Dolby Vision, however, the company must show off what it can do, and today’s Dolby announcement brought word that TV manufacturers including Sharp and TCL will show at CES prototype flatscreens that take advantage of at least some of Dolby Vision’s capabilities.
Also, content providers including Amazon Instant Video, Microsoft Xbox Video and Vudu say they would like to deliver video with Dolby Vision, but they will wait until Dolby Vision-friendly TVs are in the market and there is content that’s been mastered and graded with the format in mind.
Dolby Vision upgrades color and brightness regardless of the number of pixels on the screen. Dolby’s own prototype High Dynamic Range monitor, used to test and demonstrate the format, are 1080p high-def. However the format can be adapted for Ultra HD, if the International Telecommunications Union adjusts the UHD standards for the extra brightness. The company demonstrated “Dolby Vision” for press in December but kept its name and other details under wraps.
Sharp has long had a strategy of making improved color the main selling point of its TVs; Sharp’s Quattron color system adds yellow to the normal TV primaries of red, green and blue, allowing its televisions to show many shades of yellow that other TVs can’t reproduce. Sharp’s own announcements come later today.