Samsung and Amazon launch HDR10+ with Dynamic Metadata
It has been in the pipeline for a while now but Samsung, in conjunction with Amazon Video, has finally announced the introduction of HDR10+, an updated open standard of HDR that includes dynamic metadata.We got a look at HDR10+ at CES 2017 and the new update is designed to enhance the HDR10 open standard with the addition of Dynamic Tone Mapping. The current HDR10 standard utilises static metadata that does not change during playback despite scene specific brightness levels. As a result, image quality may not be optimal in some scenes. For example, when a movie’s overall color scheme is very bright but has a few scenes filmed in relatively dim lighting, those scenes will appear significantly darker than what was originally envisioned by the director.
HDR10+ incorporates dynamic metadata that allows a High Dynamic Range (HDR) TV to adjust brightness levels on a scene-by-scene or even frame-by-frame basis. With the ability to display outstanding contrast with detailed highlights and a richer range of colors, HDR10+ produces images that are much closer to the director’s intent. All of Samsung’s 2017 UHD TVs, including its premium QLED TV lineup, support HDR10+. In the second half of this year, Samsung’s 2016 UHD TVs will gain HDR10+ support through a firmware update.
The use of dynamic metadata has always been included in Dolby Vision, a rival HDR format that is currently supported by LG, Sony, Netflix and, in the US at least, Amazon Video. The first 4K Ultra HD Blu-rays to include Dolby Vision will be released in the summer but HDR10+ is not currently part of the standards for the UHD disc format. Of course it can always be added and we do know that Samsung are in discussions with a number of Hollywood studios, so we can expect further announcements this year. The real question is whether HDR10+ will gain support outside of Samsung and how much consumer confusion will result from yet another version of HDR.
Kyoungwon Lim, Vice President of Visual Display Division at Samsung Electronics said “As an advanced HDR10 technology, HDR10+ offers an unparalleled HDR viewing experience – vivid pictures, better contrast and accurate colours – that brings HDR video to life. We’re excited to work with world-class industry partners, including Amazon Video, to bring more amazing HDR content directly to our 2017 UHD TVs, including our QLED TV lineup.”
Greg Hart, Vice President of Amazon Video, worldwide said “Together with Samsung, we are excited to offer customers an enhanced viewing experience on a broad range of devices. At Amazon, we are constantly innovating on behalf of customers and are thrilled to be the first streaming service provider to work with Samsung to make HDR10+ available on Prime Video globally later this year.”
The move to HDR 10+ makes Amazon Video the first streaming service provider to begin development of the standard for its audiences. In May 2015, Samsung and Amazon Video were the first to bring High Dynamic Range to the market using the HDR10 open standard. Since then HDR10 has gone on to become the most broadly supported HDR standard and is used by TVs, projectors, streaming services and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray players.
Samsung has also partnered with other industry leaders to deliver the best HDR10+ content viewing experience by establishing an HDR10+ ecosystem. Previously, Samsung collaborated with Colorfront to improve HDR10+ workflows for creative post-production mastering by using Colorfront’s Transkoder. Samsung also partnered with MulticoreWare to complete the integration of HDR10+ support in the x265 High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC), which is available for free under an open source license, and is used by many popular commercial encoding system providers including Telestream, Haivision, and Rohde and Schwarz.
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