Advanced HDR by Technicolor, defined

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Technicolor has been a part of the Hollywood panorama for over a century, and now it is aiming for prominence in your house too. Its weapon is a brand new format referred to as Advanced HDR.

The firm faces some sturdy competitors in your front room. High dynamic range (HDR) delivers the most effective dwelling video photographs obtainable right now, boosting distinction and pop. Done nicely, particularly on a pleasant TV, it supplies a way more seen profit than 4K resolution. 4K HDR is principally the way forward for tv, which is why Technicolor (and seemingly all people else) has an HDR format.

The industry-standard HDR10 format is just about in all places, obtainable from a number of streaming companies together with Netflix and Amazon, 4K Blu-ray in addition to TVs as cheap as $280. Three different HDR codecs are additionally obtainable: Samsung’s HDR10+, hybrid log gamma (HLG) and naturally Dolby Vision.

HDR10 vs. Dolby Vision vs. HLG: How do HDR formats compare?

A couple of years in the past I visited Technicolor during the early days of Advanced HDR, however now the format is definitely obtainable in TVs, particularly these from LG. Does Advanced HDR have sufficient distinctive options to compete with the likes of Dolby Vision and HDR10+? Does it have the breadth of assist of HDR10? (Spoiler: not but). Does it have some distinctive and fascinating facets plus a complete lot of letters and numbers? You guess! Let’s dive in.

HDR-2-U

Brace your self: the time period “Advanced HDR” really covers a gaggle of Technicolor’s HDR technologies. For you at dwelling it is three totally different HDR codecs. There’s additionally some tech useful to broadcasters and distributors (like Netflix or Vudu). Here are the fundamentals:

SL-HDR1: Single-Layer HDR1 is maybe probably the most fascinating. It’s primarily an SDR (commonplace dynamic vary — consider it as common TV) sign, however with HDR information “hidden” inside. This means a single broadcast may work with older SDR TVs, and likewise present newer HDR TVs with HDR content material. 

This single stream permits for easier manufacturing, like at a reside sporting occasion. A single manufacturing truck may broadcast each the HDR and SDR program with minimal effort. The advantages for broadcasters are apparent: Simpler means cheaper. Also, it really works on each TV. The draw back is that it does not fairly have the image high quality potential of the opposite choices. Still, it is probably higher than SDR. This is just like what’s promised by Hybrid Log Gamma (HLG). SL-HDR1 been accepted for inclusion within the upcoming ATSC 3.0 broadcast standard.

The path to SDR and HDR in a single SL-HDR1 sign. The prime is the content material creation, the underside is what your TV will do with it. The SDR content material is routinely created from the HDR sign.


Technicolor

SL-HDR2: This is a full HDR sign, utilizing HDR10 as a base. Added on prime of that’s dynamic metadata, so every scene, and even every picture inside a scene, can look its greatest in your TV. This is a step up over HDR10’s static metadata that has one international HDR “look” per present or film. HDR10+ and Dolby Vision even have dynamic metadata. The draw back right here, like these codecs, is that it is HDR or nothing. A SDR TV would do not know what to do with the sign. This, in fact, is not a problem with streaming or 4K Blu-ray, which may have a SL-HDR2 stream together with an SDR stream. With broadcast, the shortage of SDR makes it a non-starter.

SL-HDR3: This makes use of HLG as a base, however provides metadata on prime, probably enhancing the picture high quality of that format. This continues to be within the early levels, so we’ll probably hear extra about it sooner or later.

That’s quite a lot of letters and numbers. OK, 5 letters and three numbers, however nonetheless. The primary factor you need to take away is that SL-HDR1 is backwards appropriate with non-SDR TVs. This is what makes it good for broadcast. SL-HDR2 has dynamic metadata, so it probably provides the image high quality enhancements of the extra superior HDR codecs like HDR10+ and Dolby Vision. SL-HDR3 continues to be within the early levels, and is tied to HLG which itself is within the early levels, so it isn’t value worrying about for now.

technicolor-sdr-hdr-exampletechnicolor-sdr-hdr-example

These are SDR photographs created from HDR movies, utilizing HLG (left) and SL-HDR1. From Technicolor’s whitepaper.


Technicolor

Also, and form of associated, the “Advanced HDR” banner typically additionally contains Technicolor’s proprietary SDR-to-HDR conversion course of referred to as Intelligent Tone Management. For extra information on that, try this explainer.

Where are you able to see it?

With any video format, there are two primary questions: is there content material obtainable now, and might you show that content material in your TV? The quick reply is not any to the primary half, and theoretically sure to the second (as soon as content material turns into obtainable).

There is at present no Advanced HDR content material obtainable in any of its three flavors. There is a few check footage, just like the Dodgers recreation you see on the prime, however when it comes to “sit down and watch a brand new present on my TV,” nothing but. This may change as soon as ATSC three.zero arrives round 2020. If we begin to see ATSC three.zero broadcasts utilizing SL-HDR1, it isn’t a stretch to assume we would see different flavors of the format in wider use, like SL-HDR2 on a streaming platform, for instance. It’s additionally attainable we’ll see SL-HDR2 on Ultra HD Blu-ray discs, however there is no content material but.

Though they’ve a late begin to the HDR race, the ace up Technicolor’s sleeve is LG. You should purchase an LG TV right now, maybe you even purchased one in every of theirs final yr, that may already decode Advanced HDR. This is a part of a method by LG to cowl as many format bases as attainable, greatest described by their Senior Director of Product Marketing, Tim Alessi:

“LG’s method has been to supply the widest assist for HDR codecs as a way to present a cinematic expertise within the dwelling, and take away any potential uncertainty about compatibility. For instance, we had been among the many first to introduce assist for the premium viewing expertise of Dolby Vision, and add assist for HLG along with HDR10.  We see inclusion of Advanced HDR by Technicolor as a continuation of that philosophy.”

LG TVs do not assist HDR10+, in fact, however no shock there as a result of that format was principally created by arch-rival Samsung, partly to make up for a scarcity of Dolby Vision assist on Samsung TVs. 

LG’s OLEDs, and shortly their UHD LCDs, even have a “Technicolor Expert Mode” as one of many image presets, which LG claims will make the picture look as shut as attainable to the way it did within the Technicolor mastering suites. In CNET’s review of the C8 OLED TV, that mode did present an especially correct image with each SDR and HDR content material, in order that’s cool.

Beyond LG, Funai, which sells TVs underneath the Philips model and a number of other others, has introduced assist for Technicolor Advanced HDR of their 2019 fashions.

Even although that is only one, quickly to be two, firms, that is nonetheless a large put in and rising base. That’s a much better place than Technicolor was in two years in the past: arising with a format and attempting to buy it to content material creators with no means for shoppers to look at it.

technicolor-logotechnicolor-logo

Technicolor

So will we see extra firms provide Technicolor Advanced HDR? Samsung, pushing their HDR10+ format, looks like a non-starter. Vizio has had Dolby Vision from the start, whereas Sony was late to Dolby Vision nevertheless it’s catching up this yr. Either firm might be subsequent. 

Advanced HDR has been included within the draft of the upcoming broadcast commonplace in China. If it is adopted, may that imply wider availability from Chinese TV firms, like TCL or Hisense? Possibly.

Technicolor claims we’ll see extra TVs with decoding built-in on the IFA commerce present in September. They additionally informed us we would hear about much more firms supporting Advanced HDR at CES 2019 in January.

Joseph and the Amazing HDR Dreamcoat

Technicolor’s Advanced HDR is fascinating sufficient, however at this stage it’s miles from essential in your subsequent TV. And its success is hardly assured.

The actual query now could be whether or not Technicolor can persuade content material creators that Advanced HDR’s choices provide sufficient of an enchancment in image high quality, discount in manufacturing prices or each, in comparison with different HDR strategies. In that means it is largely out of our, the shoppers, fingers. We’ll have to attend and see the way it all shakes out, particularly with ATSC three.zero across the nook.

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