CES 2008: Dolby Brands Brightside Tech

Dolby shows off the Brightside local dimming backlight technology - HDR set to hit the masses.

Back in 2005 BrightSide Technology showcased its high dynamic range backlight system for LCD screens. The technology utilised local dimming light sources, so that rather than having a single cold cathode backlight, you have multiple backlights split up into zones. This allows the screen to display different contrast levels in different areas of the display, thus addressing the “greying” issue that plagues LCD black level response.

Doby bought BrightSide Technology a while ago, but things went pretty quiet after that. Now however, as CES 2008, Dolby has shown off the BrightSide tech, having spent some time developing it. Dolby also announced its new branding for this technology, deciding to call it Dolby Contrast.

Dolby’s demonstration showed a Dolby Contrast equipped screen with 1,400 independent backlight zones, compared to a traditional LCD screen with a single cold cathode light source. The difference was very stark, with the Dolby Contrast screen giving a real sense of high dynamic range – high intensity areas of the image were whited out, while darker areas actually looked black rather than grey.

To calculate the right intensity of light, Dolby Contrast processes the incoming image as a greyscale luminance map, it applies that luminance map to the final picture. With most TV manufacturers announcing local dimming, LED backlight screens, you can expect to see Dolby Contrast branding on retail shelves very soon.

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