Taking TV to the Next Level Page 2

S&V: What is the most exciting aspect of this undertaking—the thing consumers will benefit most from?
VP: While the extra resolution of UHD provides enhanced quality, especially on larger displays, we’re most excited by higher dynamic range video, which will provide a radical increase in video quality. HDR is not just increasing brightness. At Technicolor, we believe that enhancing dark shadow images is equally important. HDR technology allows us to both raise the ceiling and drop the floor, to the point where dark blacks and gray gradients reveal incredible detail that the consumer has never before been able to see. Expanding the dynamic range also has a side benefit of increasing the perception of saturation of any particular color, so even without expanding the color gamut, HDR can create richer colors in addition to higher contrast.

HDR and wider color gamuts are often bundled together. Although the two can serve independently, they may be best enjoyed together. There’s a huge benefit to widening the color gamut beyond the current REC-709 specification (which is 25 years old this year). But it’s hard to explain to a consumer because they don’t know what they’ve been missing. The exact red of a London phone booth or green of a freeway sign in Los Angeles are both examples of colors that do not currently exist in the consumer display color space. That means that whenever they are represented on TVs, you are actually not seeing them as they are in real life. A wider color gamut makes more real-world colors available to the creator and allows the consumers to enjoy content that is more true to life.

The true key to the UHD Alliance will be in combining all of these elements to create a video experience that will surpass anything that a consumer has seen before.

HDR technology allows us to both raise the ceiling and drop the floor, to the point where dark blacks and gray gradients reveal incredible detail that the consumer has never before been able to see

S&V: As we look six to nine months down the road, which new TV/video technology will deliver the greatest consumer benefit?
VP: Quantum Dots, OLED, and other emerging display technologies are evolving quickly and they will allow consumers a home viewing experience that will exceed anything they have seen before, either in cinemas or at home. These new display technologies expand the amount of colors that a display can show and deepen the black levels, offering significantly higher contrast ratios and dynamic range, which is stunning to see. That, combined with displays that match or exceed the cinema color space (DCI-P3), allow consumers to also see a wide color gamut, and UHD resolution for enhanced detail. It’s really an exciting time for consumers, but it’s not all about the displays. The availability of content specifically for this new technology will be important, and the creative community has only just started to explore the potential that can be unleashed.

S&V: At CES back in January several proprietary approaches to high-dynamic range emerged, which has the potential for creating consumer confusion. Ultimately, how will HDR be implemented and when can we expect to see HDR content from Hollywood?
VP: What we want to avoid is new innovations in consumer technologies that are not compatible with other devices or specific pieces of content that are only available on certain devices. That level of fragmentation would only delay consumer adoption. The UHD Alliance will ensure that players at every stage of the ecosystem, from content creators to encoders, distributors and CE manufacturers, will be able to move forward with confidence. We’re expecting HDR titles, graded to an interoperable standard, to be available later this year.

S&V: Where do things stand with the industry’s advanced color gamut initiative?
VP: The industry has been limited by the REC-709 color gamut for 25 years now. Although the digital cinema industry has used a different and larger color space called P3, it is only just now slowly making its way to consumer devices. The new color gamut, defined under REC-2020, is still some years away from making it to mass market consumer displays, but the CE companies are expanding further each year.

S&V: Any closing observations?
VP: We expect the adoption of HDR displays to be very rapid once consumers can experience those displays at retail. TVs next to an HDR display will look strangely washed out, pale, and dull in comparison. Side-by-side comparison will drive consumer demand for HDR displays, whether those are TVs, tablets, or even phones.