The concept of HDR is certainly familiar to home theater fans. This image technology, known as high dynamic range display, can bring more realistic highlights and dark details to reproduce the creator’s real intention. It is widely used in flat-panel TVs, projectors and other display devices, and also obtains ultra high definition Blu ray movies, video streaming media resources, and other resources on the content side Video game support. Up to now, HDR has formed a huge ecosystem. With regard to its specifications, HDR has formed a variety of technical specifications, including HDR 10, Dolby vision, HDR 10 +, HLG, for different application fields or in view of different production concepts. From the development stage of the existing specifications, we only consider the present, not the future upper limit, Dolby vision can be said to be one of the most mature and cutting-edge.
In theory, Dolby vision based on dynamic metadata is naturally better than HDR technology based on other non dynamic metadata. However, for various reasons, our common home theater display devices such as projectors and flat-panel TVs rarely support Dolby vision, while HDR 10 and HLG are common.
In addition, the film source is also a big factor. Compared with the growing UHD film source, at present, all Blu ray discs marked with HDR effect basically only support HDR 10. It’s very rare to support Dolby vision. It’s reasonable to say that Dolby vision has better visual effect, but why does it not form the momentum of latecomers?
In addition, we also see many netizens saying that they have not found Dolby vision on flat-panel TV. Compared with other HDR specifications, Dolby vision looks ordinary! And why? To answer these questions, let’s start with Dolby vision itself.
Dolby vision has not become a “hot money” what is Dolby vision? We have introduced this problem more than once before, so I just want to repeat its concept. Dolby vision is a HDR technology that can give full play to the advantages of color and light and shade contrast of display devices. Similar to other HDR specifications, Dolby vision is also based on metadata processing, but the metadata is dynamic. That is to say, it does not apply a fixed algorithm, but optimizes in real time for different scenes. It seems that the picture is naturally beautiful and realistic, Especially when the screen has more light and shade levels.
So why is Dolby vision far less popular than other competitors? There are many reasons. First, an important factor is the authorization fee. Dolby vision has made strict regulations on the authorization of Dolby vision, including the enterprise itself, products and machines. Applicants need to fill in quite detailed information, and at the same time pay Dolby a certain authorization fee. On the other hand, HDR 10, including the upcoming HDR 10 +, is a completely free technical standard, just like the current Android system. Because it is free and open source, there are more manufacturers using it naturally.
Secondly, the display device itself is also an important constraint. In fact, Dolby vision has a strict requirement on the quality of display devices, which requires a minimum screen contrast of 200000:1, a peak brightness of 1000 nits, a color gamut close to rec 2020, and supports SMPTE st2084 HDR format. Because of the lack of brightness, this is why few home projectors can support Dolby vision output. Of course, brightness alone is not enough. Many flat-panel TVs on the market now have enough brightness to meet Dolby vision’s standard. However, when it comes to other indicators, such as contrast, gamut range and so on, whether they can meet the requirements is another matter. Under the influence of various conditions, it is difficult to see the advantages of Dolby vision.
Is Dolby vision better than HDR 10? In theory, there is no mistake. But in fact, as we mentioned earlier, due to the limitation of the display device itself, the display effect of Dolby vision is not better than HDR 10 in all environments. The key depends on the equipment configuration. In addition, with the maturity and further development of technology, it is difficult to say whether Dolby vision can always become the most outstanding HDR specification in terms of comprehensive quality, because at present we can see other HDR technologies under development, such as HDR 10 +, which is also based on dynamic metadata and free of charge, and advanced HDR of Technicolor, It is also reported that IMAX will soon work with DTS to develop new home theater standards, including HDR. Therefore, there are still many uncertainties about the future of HDR, and there are also many things to look forward to.
Dolby vision can be widely used. Speaking of Dolby vision’s application, many people’s first impression must stay in the home field. Indeed, integration into the home theater is one of the highlights of Dolby vision. At present, if we want to enjoy the visual effects brought by Dolby vision at home, an important prerequisite is to have the following three conditions: signal source, software and display device. Currently, there is no Dolby vision projector on the market, and consumers have little choice except for flat screen TV. As for the purchase of flat panel TV, if you want to better see the effect of Dolby vision, the more expensive the equipment, the better. In terms of software, for domestic users, playing 4K Blu ray discs is almost the only way to obtain Dolby vision in home cinemas. Unfortunately, there are not many Blu ray discs that support Dolby vision display in China. For foreign users, in addition to 4K Blu ray discs, they can also watch Dolby vision programs through various video streaming media, such as Amazon, Netflix, Vudu, etc., which provide corresponding content for users to demand. In contrast, the popularity of domestic high-definition streaming media is far behind the pace of foreign countries.
Like Dolby atmos, Dolby vision is actually a commercial standard. Dolby applies Dolby vision to its own Dolby cinema. With Dolby atmos sound effect, what kind of experience is a “Dolby home theater” with bigger pictures and more channels? It should be noted that Dolby vision can only be applied to Dolby cinema in the commercial field, that is to say, Dolby cinema is the only choice for Dolby vision to feel its original flavor. Dolby studios in other studios don’t have Dolby vision’s image output. At present, there are few Dolby theaters in China. They are only concentrated in some economically developed first and second tier cities, such as Beijing and Shanghai, and their annual layout is really slow. However, from the feedback of the audience’s general praise, Dolby cinema’s audio-visual effect does have its unique place, which is worth waiting for fans in other regions.
Dolby vision can be applied to mobile devices as well as home theaters and commercial theaters. The launch of iPhone X in 2017 can be said to be very dazzling. Although it is not perfect in itself, its release has led to the real arrival of the trend of full screen mobile phones. Before that, full screen mobile phones were more conceptual products. Of course, full screen is only one aspect. The other two features of iPhone x really attract the attention of “picture party”: one is OLED screen, and the other is support for Dolby vision. Maybe because of the lack of publicity, in fact, the first Dolby vision mobile phone did not come from apple, but LG G6. However, it was not until the release of iPhone X that more and more people paid attention to this HDR technology which can also be applied to mobile devices. The purpose of putting Dolby vision in mobile phones is the same as that of display devices, which is to get more wonderful picture expression when watching movies. One year later, Apple released three new mobile phones, iPhone XS, iPhone Max and iPhone XR, which also support Dolby vision output. However, it is a pity that the whole Dolby vision mobile phone camp has not expanded much. A few smart phones seem to be in danger. Maybe mobile devices are not the focus of Dolby vision. In contrast, in China, due to the lack of online resources, it is difficult for us to really touch the display advantages of Dolby vision on the mobile phone screen. For domestic consumers, Dolby vision is more often an dispensable device.
Dolby vision is facing more and more competition. Before that, we can always see such an argument: there is no direct competition between HDR 10 and Dolby vision, because devices compatible with Dolby vision are bound to support HDR 10, and manufacturers hope that their devices can support more HDR specifications to attract more consumers’ attention. So there’s nothing wrong with it, but today is different from the past. Previously, only Dolby vision was based on dynamic metadata processing. As a contrast, when the performance of the device is enough to meet all the harsh conditions of HDR, HDR 10 is really hard to compete with it. But don’t forget, now there is another HDR 10 +, which is also based on dynamic metadata. Moreover, HDR 10 + has no patent license fee. Because of its open source, it also allows manufacturers to have more free customization. When HDR 10 + technology is further mature and film sources are further enriched, will smart manufacturers still stick to Dolby vision?
The same is true in the commercial field. At present, Samsung is the biggest supporter of HDR 10 +. Although Dolby has its own exclusive cinema, Samsung also has it! It’s not advocating Samsung, just because Samsung is still the global leader in OLED and qled display devices. When a hardware manufacturer concurrently serves as a standard setter, the pressure faced by Dolby can be imagined. In addition to HDR 10 +, Dolby vision also has IMAX enhance. Although the latter has not caused much trouble at present, who can guarantee that it will be a fuel-efficient lamp?