September 22, 2019
Dynamic Metadata, as opposed to static (HDR10), is considered by many to be the pinnacle of high dynamic range, adjusting the picture scene by scene.
Two forms of dynamic metadata enhancement are in the market, one licensed and one license-free.
Dolby Vision is a propriety licensed-based feature from Dolby, which also licenses the sound enhancement Dolby Atmos. There are now more than 500 movies and more than 1,500 episodes of original TV series available in Dolby Vision and more than 500 movies and more than 800 original TV episodes featuring Dolby Atmos, according to the company, and all major Hollywood studios have now released movies for home distribution in Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos. Titles released this past year in Dolby Vision and/or Dolby Atmos include Stranger Things 3 (Netflix), “Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan” (Amazon), Avengers: Endgame (Disney) and Alita: Battle Angel (Fox).
Nine streaming services around the world are delivering the combined Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos experience, according to the company, and Disney recently announced that it will support both Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos its upcoming Disney+ streaming service. Dolby Vision is available on more than 140 4K UHD Blu-ray discs.
As far as devices, Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos devices are now widely available at prices between $200 and $300, according to the company, and more than 30 CE manufacturers have launched products featuring Dolby Vision. Apple recently announced it would support Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos on its latest iPhone, iPad, Mac and Apple TV 4K devices. Amazon also launched its first product to support both Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos, the Fire TV Stick 4K, which is available at prices below $50.
“Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos continue to play a primary role in delivering the highest quality and value to the 4K consumer experience across content, platforms and devices,” said Ron Geller, VP of worldwide content relations at Dolby. “As consumers broaden their engagement with 4K content from a growing variety of sources, Dolby technologies are at the forefront to ensure a spectacular experience across transactional digital, disc and the growing list of direct-to-consumer offerings.”
HDR10+ is a royalty-free technology, which backers tout as a key advantage. A joint venture among 20th Century Fox, Panasonic Corp. and Samsung Electronics, the technology’s ecosystem includes 81 adopting companies globally. In September, the consortium released an updated technical specification to respond to the industry’s request for new device categories and codecs expanded to include AV receiver/soundbar and VP9 compatibility via WebM.
The HDR10+ logo and certification program currently supports displays, including mobile displays; distribution devices, including UHD Blu-ray player and OTT streaming devices; and content, including UHD Blu-ray Disc and OTT.
Universal Pictures Home Entertainment and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment debuted HDR10+ on UHD Blu-ray with The Secret Life of Pets 2 and Godzilla: King of the Monsters, respectively, adding to the UHD Blu-ray discs already released from 20th Century Fox and others.
On the mobile side, Samsung announced the Galaxy S10 as the first mobile device featuring HDR10+ playback and recording. Other mobile devices followed, such as OnePlus 7, Samsung Note 10, and Galaxy Tab S6, which is the first HDR10+ tablet device.
“All our latest media products such as the Galaxy S10 line-up, the WALL Pro & Lux and all our UHD TVs include HDR10+ support to provide the best HDR image from Amazon Prime to major studio UHD Blu-ray releases,” said EVP Hyogun Lee from Samsung Visual Display. “Samsung is working with the HDR10+ LLC and the industry to continuously increase this ecosystem.”
Globally, companies such as Rakuten TV, Chili, The Explorers, Megogo, DT, Molotov, Videociety and Enteractive from Europe will feature HDR10+ technology.
Supporting companies also include TCL and Shout! Factory.
While dynamic metadata adds to quality viewing, consumers aren’t so keen on the competing technologies, which each require different hardware.
“I think a lot of people are frustrated by it,” said Bill Hunt of The Digital Bits.
Home Theater Forum’s Adam Gregorich bought equipment that supported Dolby Vision before the advent of HDR10+.
“I’m in no rush to upgrade really expensive displays,” he said, adding “if I had to buy one today I’d consider it.”