Thursday, July 7

What is HDR10 +? Everything you need to know about this format | Digital Trends Spanish


High Dynamic Range (HDR) is one of the most important video technologies since standard definition gave way to HD. However, it has many facets, such as Dolby Vision, HDR10, HLG or HDR10 +. What is it about? What is HDR10 + and how to get it? In this article we answer all that and more.

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What is HDR?

Joel Chokkattu / Digital Trends

Before talking about HDR10 +, we must briefly talk about what HDR is. The High Dynamic Range, when we talk about televisions, allows video and still images to have much more brightness, contrast and color accuracy. HDR works for movies, TV shows, and video games. Unlike an increase in resolution (from 720p to 1080p, for example), which is not always immediately noticeable – especially from a distance – good HDR footage is eye-catching right out of the box.

HDR requires at least two things: an HDR-capable TV and an HDR video source, such as a 4K HDR Blu-ray, a compatible Blu-ray player, or an HDR movie on Netflix. Some believe that 4K and HDR are synonymous, but they are not. Not all 4K TVs can handle HDR, and some do it much better than others. That said, most newer TVs support both 4K UHD and HDR.

But saying “HDR” is like saying “digital music”: There are several types of HDR and each has its strengths and weaknesses.

What is HDR10?

Every HDR-capable TV supports HDR10. It is the minimum specification. The HDR10 format allows for a maximum brightness of 1,000 nits and a 10-bit color depth. Those numbers do not say much on their own, but contextualized they do: compared to SDR (Standard Dynamic Range), HDR10 allows you to see an image twice as bright, with its corresponding increase in contrast and a color palette of one billion. tones, as opposed to the SDR’s roughly 16 million.

As with all HDR formats, how well HDR 10 is implemented depends on the quality of the television on which you are going to watch it. When used properly, HDR10 makes video content look really good, however it is no longer at the top of the HDR food chain.

What is HDR10 +?

What is HDR10 +

As the name implies, the HDR10 + takes everything good about the HDR10 and improves it. It raises the maximum brightness to 4,000 nits, thus also increasing the contrast. But the biggest difference lies in the way the HDR10 + handles information. With HDR10 +, the “metadata” transmitted by the content source is static, which means that there are certain values ​​set for complete content, like an entire movie, for example. HDR10 + makes the metadata dynamic, allowing different values ​​in each frame of video. Each frame has its own parameters for colors, brightness and contrast, obtaining a much more realistic image. Areas of the screen that could have been oversaturated with HDR10 show even the finest detail with HDR10 +.

However, there is a peculiarity. Despite being a royalty-free format, HDR10 + was developed by a consortium of three companies: 20th Century Fox, Panasonic and Samsung. So HDR10 + support has so far been limited to TV models from Samsung and Panasonic. On the content side, there isn’t much support for HDR10 + yet either, although that has started to change. Netflix it doesn’t support the new format, but Amazon Prime Video does. In April 2019, Universal committed to releasing new titles and titles from its existing catalog in HDR10 +, and 20th Century Fox is set to do the same. However, 20th Century Fox is now owned by Disney, which could influence HDR10 + plans, as Disney has supported Dolby Vision, a more established HDR format.

And what is Dolby Vision all about?

Dolby Vision

HDR10 + is not the only HDR format with the ambition to become the next king of the HDR castle. Dolby Vision is an advanced HDR format created by Dolby Labs, the same organization behind famous Dolby audio technologies like Dolby Digital and Dolby Atmos. Dolby Vision is very similar to HDR10 + in that it uses non-static dynamic metadata, giving each frame its own individual HDR treatment. However, Dolby Vision provides even higher brightness (up to 10,000 nits) and more colors (12-bit depth, resulting in a staggering 68 billion colors).

For now, those specs are a bit irrelevant: There are no TVs that handle 12-bit yet, and, a brightness of that caliber, of prototypes has not passed. However, both are definitely coming for the next few years, and Dolby Vision is ready and waiting. Unlike HDR10 +, which only had its official launch in 2018 and which until now has been limited in use both in terms of content and hardware, Dolby Vision has been around for several years and has a lot of support from the industry, something which in the long run could help it to be the favorite advanced HDR format. Part of the reason Dolby Vision is less abundant than HDR10 is that it is a proprietary technology, and companies wishing to implement it as content or hardware must pay for a license. HDR10 +, like HDR10, is open source and royalty-free, so its use could skyrocket in the coming years.

Oh no, not another format war!

Does the presence of competing HDR formats like HDR10 + and Dolby Vision mean another format war is coming? Not quite. Unlike previous technologies like Blu-ray vs. DVD, HDR formats are not mutually exclusive. This means that there is nothing to prevent a film studio from releasing a Blu-ray that contains HDR10, HDR10 + and Dolby Vision metadata on the same disc.

An HDR compatible television can support multiple HDR formats, and many televisions today do just that. The most common combination is HDR10 and Dolby Vision in one device. However, we are beginning to see the arrival of televisions that support all three, in addition to HLG, the version of HDR preferred by digital TV channels. It is also possible that the firmware of some televisions that factory only supported two formats will be updated to accommodate HDR10 +.

Blu-ray players and streaming devices can also support many HDR formats. The challenge here is that despite the ability to support multiple HDR formats, this is only the case with very few televisions, playback devices, streaming services, or Blu-rays. This implies that we, as consumers, must pay close attention to labels, to understand the capabilities of the devices and the content that we have and from which we plan to purchase.

Many Blu-ray players, for example, only support HDR10, while some of the newer, like the UBP-X800M2, add support for Dolby Vision. The same considerations apply to streaming decoders. Currently, the only streaming device that we know of that can handle HDR10, HDR10 +, and Dolby Vision is the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K – which is no surprise considering that Amazon’s Prime Video service also supports all three formats. Others, like the Apple TV 4K, support HDR10 and Dolby Vision, but not HDR10 +.

What do I need to have HDR10 +?

In short, HDR10 + is a new HDR format that offers higher levels of brightness and contrast, as well as more realistic colors and details. To get it, you need:

  • An HDR10 + video source, such as a Blu-ray or Amazon Prime Video.
  • A device capable of reading HDR10 + encoded material, such as a compatible streaming device or Blu-ray player.
  • An HDR10 + compatible TV (these might also have built-in apps that allow you to bypass the player device).

Another thing: If you use a streaming device or a Blu-ray player for your content in HDR10 + and it does not connect directly to your TV, ideally, the HDMI cable you use is compatible with HDMI 2.1. The reason is that HDR10 + (Dolby Vision too) uses a much higher data bandwidth than conventional HDR10, and HDMI 2.0 cables might not be able to handle it.

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