Dolby’s push for high dynamic range TV is getting a boost from an important player in post-production tech.
Dolby Vision and other HDR TV systems increase the brightness of the TV picture, upping the contrast and increasing the number of colors it can display. The result is a noticeably more vibrant and lifelike picture with a greater feeling of depth than TV graded for standard brightness.
“Our business is to really push the boat out in terms of image quality, in terms of making pictures look nice, in terms of doing what’s possible,” FilmLight co-founder Wolfgang Lempp told Variety. “I agreed with their outlook that this is where you have the most impact, by increasing brightness. … I just think this is where the money is.”
Cinematographer Curtis Clark said HDR is an important step forward for TV, and will be for cinemas, eventually. “It certainly gives a very visceral dimensionality to highlights, for instance,” said Clark. “And if at the same time you can retain the shadow detail and the rich contrast associated with that, it’s a significant advance over where we are today with digital displays, theatrical projection and TV monitors. for both television and cinema.”
Dolby Vision itself is a method for sending the extra dynamic range information along with a standard TV signal. A Dolby Vision TV would then use that information according to its own capabilities. Dolby Vision can be used with any resolution TV picture, including HD and Ultra HD.
So far, Dolby Vision can’t be used for theatrical films because regular digital cinema projectors aren’t bright enough to show the extra dynamic range.
“To me this is one of those key technologies that is going to change the way we look at content,” said Lempp. “I think it’s time we move on our creative and aesthetic arsenal to something more exciting. This is not just another 4K, 6K thing that consumers don’t notice. This will hit them in the face when they look at it. I think it’s a really important step.”
TV makers Vizio, Sharp and TCL have announced plans to introduce Dolby Vision TVs and demonstrated the technology at the Consumer Electronics show.