Make the colors more dazzling, richer levels, and take you to feel the charm of HDR display technology.
At present, 1080p has entered thousands of households, and the 4K era has begun to blossom everywhere. Just as major manufacturers and content providers are actively building a 4K ecosystem, 8K has quietly waved to us. However, no matter how the resolution of our TVs is improved, some superior display technologies have become the main battlefields of current TV competitions, such as color gamut, OLED, LTPS, refresh rate, HDR, HDMI technology, etc., today I will tell you Said HDR “high dynamic range” technology.
What is HDR? In fact, HDR means “high dynamic range”. It is only used as a subsidiary technology on current TV sets. After all, it is really difficult to explain to consumers the benefits of HDR compared to the ultra-high picture resolution. However, putting aside these gimmicks, the focus of the current TV warfare is already the main battlefield of HDR technology competition.
HDR stands for High Dynamic Range, which is a technical term for it. It describes a new type of TV screen and technical standard related to this type of screen. It first appeared in the exposure method of still photography. In fact, the idea of developing HDR TV screens appeared 5 years ago, because screen manufacturers were able to develop light-emitting diodes with better color and brightness response.
There are two methods for this, one is to use phosphoric acid materials with better response, and the other is to use organic semiconductors also known as OLEDs. With this new technology, manufacturers can create higher-brightness screens while maintaining lower shadow levels, effectively creating larger contrast screens. Most HDR screens can reach a maximum brightness of 1,000 nits, but current standards allow brightness up to 10,000 nits. In contrast, the maximum brightness that an ordinary HDTV can display is only 100 nits (nits are the unit of measurement of visible light intensity). The new HDR screen can also display a larger color gamut than the current HDTV screen can display, becoming the current mainstream TV with better picture quality performance.
Technical characteristics of HDR
Before HDR, the most important technological innovation in the TV market was 4K, which brought resolutions much higher than the existing 1080p. However, the fact is that 4K does not play as big a role in improving the picture quality as we think. After all, if you keep the ideal viewing distance, 1080p movies are already quite clear. HDR is different. It guarantees that each part of the image can have rich details and dynamic range. In people’s opinion, it is a more realistic, deeper, and fuller color image.
However, the fact is that although the Ultra HD Alliance specifies HDR as the 4K standard, not all 4K TVs have HDR technology. Without HDR to show the details of the image, no matter how high the resolution is, it will look dull. Many people will say this when evaluating 4K Blu-ray players: “If you want to maximize its potential, you must pair it with a high-end TV that supports HDR.” This illustrates the importance of HDR for image quality. The essence of HDR is to show the highlight details that are usually lost or cropped, making the colors look more realistic.
Pixel resolution and HDR
Pixel resolution is not the only measure of sharpness. Mathematically, increasing the pixel count can achieve the goal, but when a certain threshold is exceeded, it will be useless. After reaching the UHD resolution, it is not necessary to simply increase the pixels in order to improve the quality of the image. At this time, it is necessary to improve from other dimensions such as HDR and WCG.
For example, if you compare two TVs together, the former has better contrast and more accurate colors, and the latter only has higher resolution, then almost every viewer will think that the former has better picture quality. Although the resolution is lower, the higher contrast and chroma make the picture look more natural and realistic. In other words, a 1080p resolution TV with excellent resolution and color is definitely more popular than a 4K TV with average contrast and color performance. It can be understood like this: HDR can greatly expand contrast and color at the same time. The bright parts of the picture will be brighter, making it look more “deep”; and the expansion of colors can make red, green and blue and all the colors between them look brighter and purer.
HDR new technology, new standard
As a newly emerging black technology, HDR has greatly increased the brightness level range of the image, and it has indeed brought us more colorful pictures. At present, this technology is widely used in film and television and other fields. In the future, it will be in terms of brightness and color gamut. To achieve a breakthrough, HDR will definitely redefine the TV picture for us. Currently, HDR technology currently has two mainstream formats-HDR10 and Dolby Vision. Of course, HDR10 is not the only standard. In addition to Dolby Vision, HDR10, there are HLG and Prime/SL-HDR1. Almost all HDR TVs support the HDR10 format, but the TVs of Samsung and Sony only support HDR10, and in their TV product line launched this year, we can’t see the shadow of Dolby Vision.
Samsung and Sony are not indifferent to HDR technology. On the contrary, they have been emphasizing the benefits of HDR and showing them everywhere. The reason why it only chose HDR10, Sony stated that it was because the vast majority of HDR content is in this format, and HDR10 is enough to bring the best viewing experience. As for Samsung, it claims that the open source of HDR10 gives them the opportunity to customize and optimize the experience.
From a technical perspective, HDR10 and Dolby Vision have many similarities, such as metadata processing and rendering images. However, Dolby Vision is dynamic and can even be rendered frame by frame, while HDR10 is relatively static and can only process the content piece by piece.
However, the real problem is not technical, because from people’s actual experience, the two formats will not have a decisive difference in perception on high-end TVs. The problem is that manufacturers including LG, Vizio, and a large number of video streaming service providers can provide dual-format support. The advantage of this is that users can access all HDR content without entanglement, without worrying about whether or not they support it. If a content is exclusive to Dolby Vision, then Sony and Samsung users can only stare at it, at least until the HDR10 version is released.
In fact, the key to the problem is not which format is better. The two major formats, HDR 10 and Dolby Vision, are side by side, and the content is likely to be inconsistent in the future. At this time, products that can support both at the same time show their advantages. TV is not like a mobile phone, users will not change every year, on the contrary, it will be used for a long, long time. For such a product, consumers naturally require it to be as versatile as possible. The impact of HDR on picture quality is obvious. If a high-end TV only supports half of them, I believe many users will definitely reconsider before buying.
After all, in fact, Dolby Vision and HDR10, they both follow ST2084, so they can be said to be brothers in the same discipline. But the Dolby Vision version can generate HDR10 version, but not vice versa. HDR10 is a freely licensed universal version. It has a color depth of 10bits, uses static metadata, and is not compatible with SDR. Therefore, it can be said that HDR10 is a compromise product drawn by people who set standards to take care of the performance of most equipment.
And Dolby Vision adopts double-layer coding technology, adding an enhancement layer that supports HDR to the basic layer of SDR content, so as to achieve the purpose of compatibility with SDR. So here we can say that HDR10 is a subset of Dolby Vision. Dolby Vision provides more functions than HDR10. Therefore, it can be concluded that all current devices that support Dolby Vision can support HDR10, and there is no compatibility issue between multiple HDR formats. Compared with Dolby Vision and HDR10, HLG is more suitable for the field of television signals. Therefore, the previously heated format dispute may not exist at all.
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HDR future development
It can be predicted that the development of HDR in the future is what we are looking forward to, but it is certain that HDR will bring richer performance in terms of brightness and color gamut. This has also become a new selling point for products such as televisions and projectors to compete for display technology strength in the future. In the future, whether it is a TV or a projector, if you want to get a good HDR picture effect, the most critical point is the brightness output and color performance.
In the final analysis, HDR is actually a substantial expansion of the overall brightness range of the picture, and this is not only limited to the brightness of white, but also involves other colors. As a result, the entire color gamut is changed. When the brightness of all colors is increased, the entire color space can be greatly increased, but if only the brightness of a certain point of color is increased, it is not enough to drive the brightness of this space to increase. Therefore, the wider the color gamut and the higher the brightness, the true potential of HDR high dynamic pictures can be fully released.