High dynamic range (HDR) technology is likely to have the most immediate – and substantial – near-term impact on the way entertainment content is created, consumed and distributed. In the quest to provide the ultimate immersive video experience HDR -- which leverages contrast and light to deliver a more life-like picture -- will advance the viewing experience far more than higher resolution could do alone.
HDR TV sets will soon be commonplace in the global ultra-high-definition (UHD) TV market, according to a recent IHS report. Unit shipments of HDR TVs are expected to grow dramatically from 2.9 million in 2016 to 32.6 million in 2019.[subscribe_reminder]
Robust HDR standards – as well as a full commitment to HDR in the content-creation phase -- are needed to take full advantage of HDR’s potential. Standards bodies also must be able to address issues of backwards compatibility that can take into account a wide range of device types.
While the market for HDR will take time to develop fully, ABI Research expects that 2016 will be a big year for HDR. By 2020, nearly 70 percent of UHD TVs will support these enhancements, the analysts say.
HDR goes beyond simply increasing the number of pixels, but focuses instead on delivering better pixels. Earlier this year, Twentieth Century Fox and video processing firm Ateme announced they have collaborated to deliver movies in ultra-high definition (UHD) and High Dynamic Range (HDR) for home viewing.
According to the Quarterly TV Design and Features Report from IHS Technology, HDR will start to gain a toehold in the market beginning in 2016, but the start of rapid growth won’t occur until 2017 when 12.5 million HDR TV are expected to ship.
As is often the case, however, technology innovation has outpaced the standards process. The Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) says this lack of standards affects the entire TV ecosystem -- ranging from content creation to editing/production, delivery and playback. SMPTE is working on standards, as is the UHD Alliance; work is also underway to include HDR in the ATSC 3.0 broadcast standard.
A number of proposed HDR standards currently are in the works and a growing number content creators and manufacturers are aligning their efforts accordingly.