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CES 2015: Philips demonstrate High Dynamic Range TVs

But will it be Dolby Vision or their own system?

by Steve Withers Jan 12, 2015


  • Philips have been developing high dynamic range TVs for a number of years, so it's no surprise to find them at the forefront of this new technology.
    For Philips the question is, do they go with Dolby Vision or do they continue to develop their own version of High Dynamic Range (HDR). Apparently Philips have yet to decide but, in a closed-door demonstration held for AVForums, Philips showed us a prototype TV that supported Dolby Vision. In the demo there were two TVs - the first was one of last year's Philips LED/LCD TVs with edge lighting and capable of Rec.709 and 450nits; whilst the second was a Dolby Vision set that was capable of P3/DCI and 700nits. Hollywood is keen for UHD to offer more than just higher resolution, hence a wider colour gamut and higher dynamic range.

    The two TVs were running the same content but the first TV was showing the 100nits, Rec.709 master and the second TV was showing the P3/DCI, 1000nits master. Whilst the final standards for UHD are being finalised by the UHD Alliance it appears that Dolby Vision and HDR will be included as options and the BDA (Blu-ray Disc Association) has also included them for UHD Blu-ray. Warner Bros. has already announced the first three films to be remastered in HDR (Into the Storm, Edge of Tomorrow and The Lego Movie); whilst Netflix have also announced support, although they have yet to detail their specifications.

    TP Vision's Danny Tack


    The two films being used for the demonstration were Oblivion and The Great Gatsby and the differences were quite pronounced. The Dolby Vision vision didn't just look brighter but had more punch and far more detail in the bright parts of the image. There was still detail in the blacks and the colours appeared superior as well, proving that the new standards really make a difference. The current standards are over 20 years old, so this is the perfect opportunity to change them to match new technology. The content will be mastered on monitors capable of 1700 to 4000nits and using the P3/DCI cinema master will save the studios money.
    The Dolby Vision demo was impressive with superior colours, a punchy image and more details in the bright parts of the picture.
    Philips plan to use a direct LED backlight for their Dolby Vision or HDR TVs, which will allow for greater brightness, as well as a more even backlight. The company is using new LEDs that are brighter and more efficient, which means that, along with the direct array, will result in a higher nit output without generating more heat. The TVs will also include Micro Dimming Premium and intelligent dimming that will increase the power in the bright parts of the image and reduce it in the darker parts. This approach will also make the TVs more energy efficient, whilst the use of Quantum Dot will allow them to expand the colour gamut to P3/DCI.

    We had a chance to take a look at Philips new flagship Ultra HD 4K TV for this year and the images were impressive, especially the Micro Dimming Premium. There was a demo scene that involved fireworks against a black sky and the local dimming kept the fireworks bright and detailed and the night sky black without introducing any haloing. Philips admitted that in a dark room OLED was superior in terms of blacks but was currently only capable of about 100-200nits; although they did mention that LG are working on brighter OLED panels. So Philips have no plans to release an OLED TV in 2015 but they feel that their current approach will deliver an impressive performance for a third of the cost of OLED.

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