HDR10+ Technologies, a consortium led by Panasonic Corp. and Samsung Electronics, has announced the specifications for a new feature called HDR10+ Adaptive, designed to optimize HDR10+ content for a more consistent viewing experience in various environments.
HDR10+ is an enhanced version of HDR10 that leverages dynamic metadata to maximize the black level and peak brightness of every scene and frame on displays.
HDR (high dynamic range) reference material is typically produced in dark rooms at mastering houses or production studios, while content viewing conditions at home range from well-lit family rooms to totally dark home theaters. As a result, ambient and stray light can affect the amount of image detail and contrast the human eye perceives, according to the group.
HDR10+ Adaptive, using HDR10+ dynamic metadata, in conjunction with real-time ambient-light information, allows compatible displays to automatically optimize brightness levels, on a scene-by-scene basis, to ensure that the creator’s intent is fully realized, under a variety of viewing conditions, according to the group.
In addition to a number of Blu-ray Discs available that utilize HDR10+ technology, including the Academy Award-winning Best Picture Parasite, distributed by Universal Pictures Home Entertainment, the group announced that a number of companies have recently released products that support HDR10+, including:
Qualcomm, which announced that their latest flagship smartphone processor (Snapdragon 888) now incorporates HDR10+ as part of its 5G Mobile Platform;
Realtek Semiconductor Corp., which debuted a series of HDR10+ compatible SOC’s (System On Chips) for use in 4K UHD set-top boxes from Android TV and RDK;
Denon and Marantz, which have introduced 13 HDR10+ compatible AV receivers to date;
and Magenta TV in Germany and Watcha in Korea, which now deliver HDR10+ programming in their respective regions.
The UHD Alliance on Sept. 30 announced that Amazon Prime will begin supporting Filmmaker Mode next year and that Hisense has joined consumer electronics companies Panasonic, Vizio, Samsung, LG, Kaleidescape and Philips in supporting the feature.
The announcements came during an online presentation with DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group.
Filmmaker Mode, introduced by the UHD Alliance in August 2019, is designed to reproduce the content in the way the creator intended. It allows viewers to enjoy a more cinematic experience on their UHD TVs when watching movies by disabling all post-processing (e.g. motion smoothing, etc.) so the movie or television show is displayed as it was intended by the filmmaker, preserving the correct aspect ratios, colors and frame rates, according to the Alliance.
“Prime Video will be launching this feature on select players next year,” said UHD Alliance chairman Mike Zink. “It’s something that we’ve been working very hard on, and I think we are very, very excited for this to come to life.”
UHD Alliance president Mike fiddler noted that CE companies supporting Filmmaker Mode represent a big chunk of TV unit shipments both domestically and globally.
Zink interviewed colorist Jill Bogdanowicz and Stephen Lighthill, president, the American Society of Cinematographers, about the importance of maintaining the intention of creators in content viewed in the home.
“Anyone that does not look at the way the image is going into the home is foolish,” noted Lighthill, adding “producers want to make sure it’s going to look the same in Jill’s suite as it does at home.”
CE company executives also joined the discussion to describe and express their support for Filmmaker Mode.
LG Electronics’ Tim Alessi said the company was putting Filmmaker Mode in every new UHD model produced in 2020.
“We kinda went all in on Filmmaker Mode,” he said, noting, “what really sets this whole effort apart is we got the entire industry to rally around one name and one set of features.”
LG is mounting an in-store display at Best Buy describing the advantages of the feature.
Samsung’s Bill Mandel said the manufacturer put the Mode in all its 2020 UHD TVs, and about a month ago launched new projectors with the feature. Samsung is running an in-store video loop about it on its TVs, he noted.
Vizio announced the launch of a partnership with Square Enix and Crystal Dynamicsas the official HDTV and sound bar partner for the Marvel’s Avengers video game.
From the new line of IQ 4K HDR processors to Vizio’s ProGaming Engine, every new Vizio 4K TV is designed to optimize the gaming experience, according to Vizio.
The Vizio 2021 collection has started hitting retail shelves over the past four weeks and will continue to roll out through the fall.
“Today’s gamers want to enhance their playing experience,” Bill Baxter, chief technology officer at Vizio, said in a statement. “When they combine a new Vizio 4K TV and new 5.1 sound bar they increase their ability to win and raise their gaming position. We have created an entirely new lineup of 4K TVs with a dedicated gaming engine and immersive 5.1 sound bars that offer a best-in-class gaming experience. We’re excited to be the official HDTV and Sound Bar partner for the new Marvel’s Avengers game and to give gamers every advantage as they play the highly anticipated game upon its release.”
“Video games are our passion,” Karl Stewart, head of worldwide strategic partnerships at Square Enix, said in a statement. “Now more than ever they are essential to bringing friends and family together. That’s why we are truly excited to work with Vizio and give gamers the perfect way to experience our game with Vizio as the official HDTV and sound bar for Marvel’s Avengers when it launches on Sept. 4.”
Vizio delivers Quantum Color, Full Array LED with up to 3,000 nits of peak brightness, according to the company. The company is further enhancing its 4K TVs with next-gen gaming performance. Vizio V-Series 4K TVs include the new V-Gaming Engine, which utilizes Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM) and Auto Game Mode to optimize performance upon identifying the game signal. Step-up models such as the M-Series, P-Series Quantum, P-Series Quantum X, and all new OLED include a ProGaming Engine, which offers support for variable refresh rate (VRR) and support for 4K at 120fps. Utilizing 64-bit image processing and offering HDMI 2.1 connectivity along with eARC passthrough, utilizing Vizio’s IQ Ultra and IQ Active processors adjust contrast at the level of individual pixels. The 1GHz CPU smooths contours and gradients in real time for more natural-looking graphics while accurately upscaling HD content to 4K resolution, according to Vizio. The Elevate Sound Bar features DTS:X and rotating speakers that blast sound overhead.
“We want Marvel’s Avengers to be a completely immersive gaming experience and VIZIO’s high performance takes everything to an entirely different level,” Crystal Dynamics creative director Shaun Escayg said in a statement. “The all-new Vizio ProGaming Engine in their TVs will make you feel like you’re a superhero.”
Marvel’s Avengers is a third-person action-adventure game combining a single-player campaign with online co-op action. Players must reassemble, rebuild, and customize their heroes’ roster to play an original Avengers single-player campaign, then enter the Avengers Initiative to battle solo or online alongside friends and continue the expanding story around the globe. They can also customize Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and master their unique powers to defend the world from escalating threats for years to come.
Marvel’s Avengers will bow for the PlayStation 4 computer entertainment system, Xbox One, Stadia, and PC on Sept. 4, and will be available on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X when the consoles launch in holiday 2020. The game is currently rated ‘T’ (Teen) by the ESRB.
The special promotion, which requires access to a 4K-compatible television, includes 222 titles, including Shazam!, John Wick 3, Bumblebee, Mission: Impossible – Fallout, Venom, Long Shot and Godzilla: King of the Monsters, among others.
Walmart’s Black Friday ad features deals for DVDs at $1.96, 4K Blu-ray Discs at $7.96 and 4K TVs as low as $198.
The Black Friday in-store sale starts at 6 p.m. Nov. 28 (Thanksgiving) and the online sale starts Nov. 27 at 10 p.m. EST.
The more than 50 titles at $1.96 include The Peanuts Movie, Trolls and The Fate of the Furious. Other price points include $3.96, $5.96, $7.96 and $9.96. 4K Blu-ray Discs at $7.96 include Avengers: Endgame, Wonder Woman, Venom, Aquaman and John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum.
4K TV deals include an onn Roku 5o-inch smart TV model at $148, an onn Roku 58-inch smart TV model at $198, a Philips 65-inch Android smart TV model at $278, a Vizio 65-inch smart TV model at $398, a Samsung 55-inch smart TV model at $328 and a Samsung 50-inch smart TV model at $278.
There’s also a 40-inch 1080p 2K Roku smart TV at $98.
Hulu, which dropped 4K content in 2018 after launching access in 2016, reintroduced 4K content this summer exclusively to subscribers using Apple TV and Google Chromecast. Hulu 4K content in 2016 was limited to Sony PlayStation 4 Pro.
The Disney-owned SVOD with 28 million domestic subs Oct. 14 announced it is expanding 4K access to Xbox One consoles — reportedly with plans to include Amazon Fire TV and LG smart TVs pending.
Hulu 4K content, which requires a 4k UHD TV but doesn’t support high-dynamic range (HDR), is limited to original programming such as “The Handmaid’s Tale,” “The First,” “Castle Rock,” “Ramy,” “Atlanta,” and “Catch-22,” among others.
The expansion comes as Disney plans to bundle Hulu with ESPN+ and pending SVOD service, Disney+ for $12.99 monthly.
Sales and shipments of 4K UHD televisions has hit 60% market penetration in some parts of the world, including the United States, according to new data from IHS Markit.
Speaking Oct. 14 at the MIPCOM confab in Cannes, France, Paul Gray, research analysis director at the London-based IHS, said 4K UHD TVs now exceed more than half of all TV shipments worldwide.
The analyst contends there are more than 260 million 4K UHD households globally — a tally that is expected to reach 574 million households by 2023, according to Advanced-Television.com, which reported Gray’s comments from France. About 34% of North American homes have 4KUHD TVs, increasing to 64% in the next four years.
Notably, domestic shipments of 4K UHD TVs surged in North America as distributors stockpile inventory ahead of any proposed tariff increases on Chinese-manufactured products by the Trump Administration.
Meanwhile, next-generation 8K resolution continues to grow slowly with 167,000 display units shipped in 2019. This is expected to reach 3 million units by 2023.
The UHD Alliance, along with leaders in consumer electronics, the Hollywood studios and members of the filmmaking community, Aug. 27 announced collaboration on a new viewing mode for watching movies and episodic TV called “Filmmaker Mode,” designed to reproduce the content in the way the creator intended. (L-R): Panasonic’s Ron Martin, Vizio’s Kenneth Lowe, Warner’s Michael Zink and director Rian Johnson were on hand to announce the launch. (Photo by Patrick T. Fallon for UHD Alliance)
The UHD Alliance, along with leaders in consumer electronics, the Hollywood studios and members of the filmmaking community, on Aug. 27 announced collaboration on a new viewing mode for watching movies and episodic TV called “Filmmaker Mode,” designed to reproduce the content in the way the creator intended.
Rian Johnson, director of Star Wars: The Last Jedi and the soon-to-be-released Knives Out, helped introduce Filmmaker Mode at an event in Los Angeles.
“As someone who makes movies, I love this so much,” he said. “I know that it means that every choice that I’ve made in the movies that I make, from the choices on set all the way up through through the color grade, are going to be coming through when somebody watches them at home.”
“I want to applaud everybody with the UHD Alliance,” he added.
“This initiative enjoys broad support from some of Hollywood’s most notable directors along with the filmmaking community,” said UHD Alliance president Mike Fiddler.
Current TVs use advanced video processing capabilities to offer consumers a broad range of options in viewing various types of content, ranging from sports to video games. Filmmaker Mode will allow viewers to enjoy a more cinematic experience on their UHD TVs when watching movies by disabling all post-processing (e.g. motion smoothing, etc.) so the movie or television show is displayed as it was intended by the filmmaker, preserving the correct aspect ratios, colors and frame rates, according to the Alliance.
LG Electronics, Panasonic and VIZIO announced support for Filmmaker Mode. Specific product and implementation plans will be announced by each company at a later date. Panasonic expects to include the mode in 2020 models, said Panasonic’s Ron Martin at the event. Vizio announced its 2020 Smart TV product lineup also will include the new mode.
Vizio’s Carlos Angulo noted that the company’s research showed that 85% of consumers leave the TV in the mode out of the box or rarely change it.
“Modern televisions have extraordinary technical capabilities, and it is important that we harness these new technologies to ensure that the home viewer sees our work presented as closely as possible to our original creative intentions,” said director Christopher Nolan (Dunkirk, Interstellar and the Dark Knight Trilogy) in a statement. “Through collaboration with TV manufacturers, Filmmaker Mode consolidates input from filmmakers into simple principles for respecting frame rate, aspect ratio, color and contrast and encoding in the actual media so that televisions can read it and can display it appropriately.”
While studios and CE manufacturers have long worked in concert to deliver new entertainment technologies and experiences to consumers, Filmmaker Mode marks the first collaboration to add leaders in the creative community to the mix.
The UHD Alliance informed the project by surveying the creative community. Of the more then 400 members of the creative community surveyed, 96% said maintaining creative intent in the home was important to them, said Annie Chang, VP of creative technology at Universal.
There were three things repeatedly heard from filmmakers, said Warner Bros. VP of technology Michael Zink. They cared about the home viewing experience of their films, they knew modern TVs delivered more advanced quality, and they wanted it to be easy for consumers to access the correct settings for their content.
“I care deeply about how cinema is experienced at home because that’s where it lives the longest. That’s where cinema is watched and re-watched and experienced by families,” added Ryan Coogler, director of Black Panther and Creed, in a statement. “By allowing the artists in the tent to help consult and give feedback to the electronics companies on Filmmaker Mode, we can collectively help make the consumer’s experience even more like it is in the cinema.”
Johnson noted that he once tried to turn off motion smoothing on a bar TV and even he couldn’t figure it out. “It’s nested very often in deep sub-menus,” he said.
Unlike some picture modes which may require the user to enter one or more menus to find and select, Filmmaker Mode will be activated either automatically, through metadata embedded in the content, or through a single button which enables the consumer to activate Filmmaker Mode without moving through multiple menu levels. Further, to make finding displays that can display content in Filmmaker Mode, the name and settings will be consistent across multiple TV brands.
“With all the advances in today’s televisions, now is a great time to introduce Filmmaker Mode. It’s just impossible to ignore what the technology can do,” noted director Paul Thomas Anderson (There Will Be Blood and Phantom Thread) in a statement. “We can use these capabilities to preserve the intent of the filmmaker, preserve the purpose of the art.”
As part of the specification development process for Filmmaker Mode, the UHDA also worked with and solicited input from the Directors Guild of America and The Film Foundation.
“I started the Film Foundation in 1990 with the goal to preserve film and protect the filmmaker’s original vision so that the audience can experience these films as they were intended to be seen,” noted director Martin Scorsese in a statement. “Most people today are watching these classic films at home rather than in movie theaters, making Filmmaker Mode of particular importance when presenting these films which have specifications unique to being shot on film.”
“Every day on set, we make hundreds of decisions about how to present and tell our story. No one decision makes or breaks a film, but there’s a cumulative effect that results in a film that looks and feels the way we envisioned it,” added Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins in a statement. “As a filmmaker, I want to see…and think viewers want to see…that vision carried through to every possible viewing environment. Filmmaker Mode makes it possible for all those choices to be seen in the home.”
While 4K Ultra HD televisions have become commonplace in the United States at Best Buy, Walmart and Target, among other retailers, global adoption of the new high-definition format is still picking up speed, according to new data from IHS Markit.
The London-based research firm cited declining prices for big-screen TV driving wider consumer adoption. Speaking at the MIPTV confab April 8-11 in Cannes, France, Paul Gray, director research and analysis, technology, media & telecom, said there are more than 142 4K UHD channels on the market, including 49 channels in Europe.