Dolby Vision high dynamic range TVs coming in 2014

Dolby, best known for audio technologies like Dolby Atmos, has announced its Dolby Vision technology will come to consumer TVs in 2014.

Dolby Vision is a new technology for Dolby, marking the first time it has ventured into an area outside of audio. It aims to hugely increase the ‘dynamic range’ of TVs, allowing TVs to show a greater difference between the darkest and brightest parts of a scene.

We think there are two other components that are very important, which is dynamic range and colour… That’s what Dolby Vision is about,” said Roland Vlaicu, VP of Consumer Imaging at Dolby.

Fundamentally, Dolby Vision expands the range of brightness and colour gamut of the content delivered to TVs to better reflect real life.

Current TV standards, Rec.709 for example, only account for 33% of what your eye and top-end cinema cameras can capture.

Much of this colour and brightness is then lost in the mastering process, where studios make compromises to ensure films and TV programmes look decent on our TVs.

On a technical level this means that whereas current content contains brightness and colour information from 0 nits (complete black) to 100 nits, Dolby’s high dynamic range mastering screens support up to 4,000 nits.

For some perspective, a 100W lightbulb can produce up to 18,000 nits of brightness, which just goes to show how limited the dynamic range of our TVs are.

While current TVs don’t have backlights that go up to 4,000 nits like Dolby’s reference display, top-end TVs do go up to around 1,000 nits.

And this is still enough to use Dolby Vision and enjoy some of the benefits of Dolby Vision’s high dynamic range mastering.

For those concerned about losing their cherished black levels, Vlaicu reassured us that “the point is not to make everything bright… it’s the ability to retain that margin between the brightest and darkest parts of a scene.”

He added that Dolby is working with several partners to release Dolby Vision TVs in 2014. “Here at IFA we’re showing Dolby Vision with Philips and TCL and we’re working with several other manufacturers making concept displays.”

Dolby also confirmed to us it is working with streaming partners first, including Vudu and Netflix, so you should be able to watch Dolby Vision films and on Dolby Vision TVs at some point later this year.

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