HDaaaargh! Competing Formats Vie for Dominance at CES

At this year’s CES, the murmurings of HDR (high dynamic range) format competition hit a higher pitch — or should I say contrast.

On the eve of the show Jan. 5, Fox, Samsung and Panasonic announced a push for HDR10+, the non-royalty HDR technology. Then, at the Jan. 8 Samsung “First Look” event, Warner showed its backing of the HDR10+ technology.

Meanwhile, Panasonic and Sony had 4K UHD blu-ray players that sported Dolby Vision’s HDR tech (not royalty free). And Philips/Technicolor (aligned with LG) touted Advanced HDR by Technicolor, which representatives said promises a

cheaper HDR solution that is especially convenient for broadcasters because they don’t have to employ multiple teams to shoot the same live event. (Shooting in HD as well as 4K with HDR requires two sets of cameras/teams with HDR10+ or Dolby Vision, the Technicolor reps noted.)

The alphabet soup of technology for better home entertainment made me want to exclaim “Aargh!” like a character in a comic strip. Consumers confronted with these various technologies might feel the same way.

We’ve hit them with 4K, Ultra HD, high dynamic range (HDR), wide color gamut, OLED, LCD, 8K, AI, VR …

One bright spot in the software realm is that 4K UHD blu-ray discs and players with HDR can accommodate all of these HDR schemes, according to folks I talked with at the Blu-ray Disc Association. And the UHD Alliance and the BDA are working to inform consumers about the benefits of HDR (no matter what companies are behind it).

To that I say “Aaaaahhh.”

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