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Dolby Vision IQ: Everything you need to know

Dolby Vision IQ is the latest imaging technology from the firm that helps improve Dolby HDR content on your TV in changing room conditions.

Launched at CES 2020, Dolby Vision IQ builds upon the foundations of the Dolby Vision HDR. IQ is one of a number of technologies seeking to improve viewing quality in everyday living room conditions, which include Panasonic’s Intelligent Sensing and Samsung’s Adaptive Picture modes.

For those who need a refresh, Dolby Vision is a dynamic variant of HDR and adds metadata – essentially instructions on how the content should be displayed – to the HDR signal so the viewer sees the image at its best, whether that’s brightness, contrast and colour.

While standard Dolby Vision compensates for the capabilities of a TV’s display, what it cannot do is compensate for living room lighting conditions. In certain environments you may not be seeing the picture in the way it was intended, meaning you lose details in the darker parts of an image. That’s where Dolby Vision IQ enters the frame.

Related: Dolby Vision HDR explained

What is Dolby Vision IQ?

The conundrum that Vision IQ seeks to solve is that of changeable light conditions in an living room environment. HDR content is mastered in darkly lit grading suites – a far cry from the the rooms viewers watch films in, which are bright and full of various light sources.

Dolby Vision IQ effectively updates the standard Dolby Vision signal on supported TVs. It uses the metadata within the signal alongside a TV’s light sensor to detect how bright or how dark a room is, and optimises the picture quality to suit the amount of ambient light in a room.

Two black Panasonic TVs standing on tables in dark displaying scene in Dolby Vision IQ

The benefits of Dolby Vision IQ sees more visible detail being shown on the TV to the left

The result, according to Dolby, is that the content retains its luminance (i.e. brightness), so you can see all the details in a picture regardless of the amount of brightness in a room. And it does this on the fly, without requiring any input from the viewer.

Change between bright to darker content, or vice versa, and the TV will recognise the switch and react accordingly, optimising said picture for the room conditions.

The result is that details in dark scenes are more intelligible, whether in the foreground or background, and it’s achieved without boosting the brightness to a point where the image looks washed out. The result can be subtle, but it’s noticeable nonetheless.

Which TVs support Dolby Vision IQ?

Both LG and Panasonic have adopted the tech for 2020 across selected TVs. A number of other TV manufacturers that support Dolby Vision but haven’t jumped onboard with IQ such as Sony, Philips, Hisense and TCL to name a few.

For TVs that do support the new format, it’s automatically selected when the TV senses Dolby Vision content, effectively replacing the ‘normal’ Vision HDR setting.

A black TV standing on a table displaying Dolby Vision IQ settings under picture menu

On compatible LG TVs, there are no settings in the menu for Dolby Vision IQ. IQ on LG TVs is a combination of the TV selecting Dolby Vision Home Cinema mode and turning AI Brightness on by default. On Panasonic OLEDs – HZ980, HZ1000, HZ1500 and HZ2000 – it’s turned on automatically, but you can select other versions of Dolby Vision if you wish (in its Vivid or Dark states).



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