HDR10+ Technologies Announced New HDR10+ Gaming Plug-in

Industry group HDR10+ Technologies has announced a new HDR10+ Gaming plug-in for Unreal Engine.

HDR10+ Gaming maximizes high dynamic range display output and brightness levels without the need for manual user set-up, according to the group, which has more than 150 adopters and more than 8,000 supported devices.

The new plug-in “has been specifically designed to deliver engaging game play, with low latency and a more immersive and realistic gaming experience across a variety of consumer electronics products,” according to the group.

In contrast to SDR (standard dynamic range) games, HDR offers greater detail in dark and light image areas, along with higher contrast and wider color. However, rendering HDR onto displays can be challenging, given the different models available, according to the group. Both game developers and players require displays that are very accurate, to realize the highest quality HDR performance possible. 

The HDR10+ Gaming plug-in is available to Unreal Engine users free-of-charge and insures more seamless implementation and greater visual accuracy, from the game engine to the display, according to the group. The new plug-in’s benefits include automatic calibration; optimized dynamic HDR rendering; low latency operation; and a more simplified QA test process. All of this enables developers to save time and preserve resources, according to the group.

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“We are pleased to provide this new Unreal Engine plug-in directly to studios and developers to allow faster access to HDR10+ games on certified monitors and televisions” Bill Mandel, co-manager HDR10+ Technologies, said in a statement. “We believe this new plug-in will further expand the adoption of HDR10+ Gaming across the industry”.

The new Unreal Engine plug-in also utilizes the latest Nvidia HDR NVAPI SDK driver and conforms to the HDR10+ Gaming standard.  In addition, HDR10+ Gaming is compatible with displays from Amazon Fire TV, Hisense and Samsung. It will also be supported on the upcoming The First Descendant game developed by Nexon.

Advanced HDR by Technicolor Showcasing Its Tech at SET Expo

Advanced HDR by Technicolor is returning to  Sao Paulo, Brazil, for SET Expo 2023, taking place Aug. 7-10, to showcase its suite of solutions.

The Advanced HDR by Technicolor team will be available to discuss the latest innovations in delivering its visual experiences at booth 44 in a joint demonstration with Fraunhofer IIS and MainConcept. 

Throughout the conference, experts will be on hand to provide demonstrations of how Advanced HDR by Technicolor:

  • Delivers premium HDR to Sistema Brasileiro de Televisão Digital (SBTVD) TV2.5 to optimize the transition from SBTVD TV2.0 to SBTVD TV3.0. The demonstration will be provided along with the presentation of Cobalt’s 9904-UDX-4K openGear processing cards, providing ITM and SL-HDR encoding tools implementation and MainConcept Live Encoder with AVC/H.264 — an all-in-one video and audio encoding engine that simplifies common broadcast and OTT video workflows.
  • Worked with Globo on a FIFA World Cup 2022 trial that demonstrated TV2.5 premium HDR with unique SDR backward compatibility. Advanced HDR by Technicolor collaborated with Cobalt Digital, V-Nova and MainConcept to provide production and distribution tools.
  • Provides solutions that are fully compliant with AVC 8-bit codecs to support TV2.5 while reducing banding effects and comparing the results to HDR PQ delivery.
  • Prepares the transition to TV3.0 with VVC and LCEVC codecs.
  • Leverages the ATSC 3.0 standard to bring premium HDR viewing experiences in the United States via new Hisense TVs equipped with MTK chipsets.

 

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Advanced HDR by Technicolor is a suite of High Dynamic Range (HDR) production, distribution and display solutions that leverages machine learning  technology to maximize image quality and enhance the consumer viewing experience. There are two major components to Advanced HDR by Technicolor:

  •  The Intelligent Tone Management (ITM) tool provides a dynamic, tunable, real-time solution to up-convert SDR content to HDR with full freedom and flexibility to manage contrast, brightness and color saturation.
  • The Single Layer HDR (SL-HDR) is a dynamic and tunable real-time tool that implements the ETSI SL-HDR standards to generate and deliver a single, consistent, high-quality broadcast stream starting from any mix of input content (such as live, movies, news) across a wide range of HDR formats (HDR10, HLG, S-LOG3). SL-HDR1 transforms HDR input streams into SDR-plus-metadata streams. SL-HDR compatible receivers provide consumers with high-quality HDR images that can be adapted to optimize the display capabilities of their devices. With backward compatibility feature of SL-HDR1, consumers who do not have HDR devices can enjoy the highest quality SDR experience.

Philips Exec: HDR Hitting a ‘Critical Mass’ of Market Penetration

High dynamic range (HDR) is rapidly becoming an operational requirement for broadcasters as well as OTT streaming service providers, said Rick Dumont, head of business development for HDR and wireless at Philips, April 17 in a podcast interview released at the NAB Show by Technicolor.

Rick Dumont

“HDR is on track to achieve a critical mass of market penetration over the next few years as technical standards mature and key players throughout the content creation, capture, distribution and consumption ecosystem optimize and integrate their go-to-market processes,” he said.

Still, many consumers are unclear about the technology.

“We tend to assume that consumers know what HDR is, but the reality is that many consumers need to understand the differences between high definition and high dynamic range. This is one of the biggest challenges the market faces today,” Dumont said.

Singling out the Sinclair Broadcast Group as an exception, he said there is still limited HDR content available on broadcast stations.

“This is unfortunate because once people experience HDR, they immediately appreciate how a brighter image can deliver much more detail on the screen, resulting in a superior viewing experience,” Dumont said.

He said the entire industry needs to work together to streamline the integration of HDR technologies into their production and distribution processes. The whole ecosystem must also work together to ensure a consistent and persistent message to consumers explaining the unique value proposition of HDR.

“We are reaching a critical mass of consumers with high-definition TVs equipped with HDR capabilities,” Dumont said. “The next step is ensuring that HDR content is made available and that consumers are aware of the significant improvements the entire industry is making to enhance the viewing experience.”

In particular, he said, the system on chip (SoC) community “is critical in providing the primary processing capabilities needed to make TVs HDR capable. Chipset manufacturers are in the vanguard position of ensuring HDR components are integrated into today’s televisions.”

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MediaTek and Realtek are among the SoC manufacturers embedding HDR capabilities into the next generation of TVs. Companies such as Amlogic are integrating similar SoCs into set-top boxes, bridging the gap between TVs with and without ATSC 3.0 capabilities. These streaming boxes support chipsets that can process HDR by having consumers switch on the functionality. 

“The capabilities of TVs are also improving,” Dumont said. “The current generation of 4K HDR TVs sold by companies like Hisense support the luminance levels that are much better than standard dynamic range (SDR) TVs.”

Technicolor Showcases Advanced HDR Tech at CES

Executives representing Advanced HDR by Technicolor — a collaboration between Philips, InterDigital and Technicolor — showcased their new technology during CES. Advanced HDR by Technicolor automates SDR to HDR and HDR to SDR content conversion, providing both signals in a single stream for live TV and post-production operations.

The automated conversion process of Advanced HDR by Technicolor is especially beneficial for producing live outdoor sports programming and events, according to Technicolor. Solutions from Advanced HDR by Technicolor enable operators to dynamically manage lighting conditions throughout the day without human intervention, delivering optimal color and image quality, the company reported.

“The broadcast and streaming industries are in the process of making the transition from SDR to HDR,” Rick Dumont, senior director of business development of HDR video for Philips, said in a statement. “The single-stream solution from Advanced HDR by Technicolor — included in the ATSC 3.0 standard — plays a critical role in delivering both video formats in a cost-efficient and technically effective manner.”

During the show, Hisense, Sinclair Broadcast Group and Advanced HDR By Technicolor demonstrated the technology. Sinclair Broadcast Group delivered HDR content broadcast over the air to Hisense TVs that have integrated Advanced HDR by Technicolor solutions.

Today, 36 NextGen Broadcast (ATSC 3.0) stations owned by Sinclair transmit over-the-air content in HDR using Advanced HDR by Technicolor solutions.

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“The integration of Advanced HDR by Technicolor into Hisense TVs — a brand that is rapidly growing in the United States — means more viewers will be able to enjoy vibrant HDR content offered by leading broadcasters, such as Sinclair,” Tony Bozzini, head of business development for Advanced HDR by Technicolor at Philips, said in a statement.

“Hisense is committed to providing the best possible picture quality to consumers. With leading broadcasters, like Sinclair, offering a growing array of HDR content, especially live sports, Hisense ensures those in service areas of Sinclair’s increasing number of deployed NextGen Broadcast stations can access and enjoy the full visual benefits offered by the latest technological innovations,” David Gold, president of Hisense USA, said in a statement.

“For broadcasters who put the customer experience at the top of the list, delivering the best visual image is essential. This is especially true when it comes to broadcasting live sporting events. That is why Sinclair Broadcast Group is ensuring that stations implementing ATSC 3.0 do so with Advanced HDR by Technicolor,” Mark Aitken, SVP of technology for Sinclair Broadcast Group and president of ONE Media 3.0, said in a statement.

Fandango Celebrates Vudu’s 4K Release of ‘Godfather’ Trilogy With Exclusive Clip

Fandango is celebrating the arrival of the iconic “Godfather” movies in 4K on its transactional VOD service Vudu with an exclusive “before and after restoration” video clip.

The clip shows a scene from The Godfather Part II with Al Pacino.

For the 50th anniversary of The Godfather, Francis Ford Coppola’s remastered and restored “The Godfather Trilogy” arrives on digital for the first time in 4K Ultra HD with Dolby Vision.

The classic film is available as a standalone or as part of the “Godfather” trilogy, featuring The Godfather Part II and The Godfather Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone. The Godfather is available on Vudu in 4K Ultra HD for a limited time for $12.99, while the trilogy is available in 4K Ultra HD for $29.99. Fans who previously bought the movies on Vudu prior to March 22 can upgrade to 4K Ultra HD with special pricing. 

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This latest 4K Ultra HD offering from Vudu follows the service’s exclusive release of “Game of Thrones” on 4K Ultra HD.

Xgimi Showcases Aura 4K Short-Throw Laser Projector at CES 2022

Xgimi at CES 2022 is showcasing its new 4K ultra short-throw laser projector, the Aura.

Launched in October 2021, Aura “reimagines home entertainment” utilizing ultra short-throw technology to project 4K images at up to 150 inches, while only being inches away from the screen, according to Xgimi.

The Aura features HDR10 resolution, is powered by 2,400 ANSI lumens of brightness, and includes an Android TV 10 user interface that runs major streaming services such as Disney+, Hulu and Amazon Prime. It also includes built-in Chromecast functionality; three HDMI ports for external devices such as game consoles, cable boxes and Blu-ray players; and four 15W Harman-Kardon built-in speakers with two tweeters and two subwoofers with Dolby Audio support. 

Eight-point keystone correction technology makes focusing “a breeze,” according to an Xgimi release.

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The Xgimi Aura 4K UST Laser Projector joins the Horizon series, Elfin and Halo & MoGo series in the Central Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center.

‘A Quiet Place Part II’ Coming to Digital July 13, Disc July 27

The thriller sequel A Quiet Place Part II will debut on digital July 13 and on 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack, Blu-ray and DVD July 27 from Paramount Home Entertainment.

In the sequel, written and directed by John Krasinski, following the deadly events at home, the Abbott family (Emily Blunt, Millicent Simmonds, Noah Jupe) must now face the terrors of the outside world as they continue their fight for survival in silence. Forced to venture into the unknown, they quickly realize that the creatures that hunt by sound are not the only threats that lurk beyond the sand path.

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Special features include Krasinski on the set of the new film as he details the cast and crew’s work in a video director’s diary; information about the secrets of the monstrous invaders; an explanation of the two-film character arc of daughter Regan; a breakdown of the marina scene; and exploration of the visual effects and sound design.

The 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray Discs also include a Dolby Atmos soundtrack, and the 4K Ultra HD disc features Dolby Vision.

The  two-movie collection will also be available to buy exclusively on digital or Blu-ray with bonus content on both films.

‘The Social Network,’ ‘Taxi Driver’ and ‘Oliver!’ Among Six Classics in Sony 4K Collection Coming Oct. 12

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment is debuting six more classics on 4K Ultra HD disc for the first time ever Oct. 12, exclusively within the Columbia Classics 4K Ultra HD Collection Vol. 2.

Films in the collection, only available on 4K as part of the set, include Anatomy of a Murder, Oliver!, Taxi Driver, Stripes, Sense and Sensibility and The Social Network. Each title includes special features.

Included with the collection is a hardbound 80-page book, featuring in-depth sections about the making of each film via six new essays from writers Julie Kirgo, John Kenrick, Glenn Kenny, Michael G. McDunnah, Kayti Burt and Nev Pierce.

The set also includes an exclusive Blu-ray bonus disc featuring 20 short films from the Columbia Pictures library, all presented in high-definition. The shorts, curated from more than 80 years of the studio’s history, showcase a wide scope of creative output across both live-action and animation, from “The Three Stooges” to award-winning mid-century cartoons to titles from Sony Pictures Animation.

The courtroom drama Anatomy of a Murder was nominated for seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture (1959). The film pits a humble small-town lawyer (James Stewart) against a hard-headed big-city prosecutor (George C. Scott). Emotions flare as a jealous army lieutenant (Ben Gazzara) pleads innocent to murdering the rapist of his seductive, beautiful wife (Lee Remick). Produced and directed by  Otto Preminger, the film features a score by Duke Ellington.

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The musical Oliver!, based on Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist, won six 1968 Academy Awards including Best Picture. It follows the story of a plucky young orphan and his quest for love and happiness in a world populated by Oscars rascals, rogues and thieves.

Winner of the prestigious Golden Palm at the Cannes Film Festival (1976) and nominated for four Academy Awards including Best Picture, Taxi Driver stars Robert De Niro in Martin Scorsese’s classic film of a psychotic New York cabbie driven to violence by loneliness and desperation. The film co-stars Jodie Foster, Albert Brooks, Harvey Keitel, Peter Boyle and Cybill Shepherd.

In the comedy classic Stripes (1981), when quick-witted slacker John Winger (Bill Murray) loses his apartment, girlfriend and job all in one day, he joins the army. Directed by Ivan Reitman, the film also stars Harold Ramis, John Candy and John Larroquette.

Nominated for seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture (1995), and directed by Ang Lee, Sense and Sensibility stars Emma Thompson, Alan Rickman, Kate Winslet and Hugh Grant. The romantic comedy, based on Jane Austen’s classic novel, tells the story of the Dashwood sisters, sensible Elinor (Thompson) and passionate Marianne (Winslet), whose chances at marriage seem doomed by their family’s sudden loss of fortune. Rickman, Grant and Greg Wise co-star as the well-intentioned suitors who are trapped by the strict rules of society and the conflicting laws of desire.

Nominated for eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture (2010), The Social Network, directed by David Fincher, chronicles the formation of Facebook and the battles over ownership that followed upon the website’s unfathomable success. With a screenplay by Aaron Sorkin and a cast including Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield and Justin Timberlake, the film bears witness to the birth of an idea that rewove the fabric of society even as it unraveled the friendship of its creators.

Update (8/24/21): Release date changed from Sept. 14 to Sept. 28.
Update (9/10/21): Date changed to Oct. 12.

Apple Announces New Apple TV 4K Device With High-Frame-Rate HDR and Dolby Vision

Apple April 20 announced the next generation of Apple TV 4K, delivering high frame rate HDR with Dolby Vision.

The new Apple TV 4K features an A12 Bionic chip that provides a significant boost in graphics performance, video decoding and audio processing, according to Apple. The Siri Remote also has a new design.

The new Apple TV 4K will be available starting at $179 (U.S.) from apple.com, in the Apple Store app, and at Apple Store locations. Apple TV 4K is also available through Apple Authorized Resellers and select pay TV providers.

Customers can order the new Apple TV 4K beginning April 30, with availability beginning in the second half of May in more than 30 countries and regions, including the United States. Apple TV HD with the new Siri Remote will be available for $149. The new Siri Remote will be available separately for $59, and is compatible with the previous-generation Apple TV 4K and Apple TV HD.

“Apple TV 4K is in a category of its own, leveraging a deep integration of Apple hardware, software, and services that delivers a massive upgrade to any TV for the very best cinematic experience,” Bob Borchers, Apple’s VP of worldwide product marketing, said in a statement. “With the A12 Bionic and the all-new Siri Remote, Apple TV 4K lets customers enjoy their favorite shows, movies, and more in the highest quality, with simple and intuitive controls. And of course, Apple TV 4K offers easy access to Apple services, along with thousands of apps on the App Store for even more entertainment options.”

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With A12 Bionic, Apple TV 4K now supports high frame rate HDR (high dynamic range) and Dolby Vision video, enabling fast-moving action at 60 frames per second (fps) to play more smoothly and appear more lifelike, according to the Apple announcement. Apple is working with leading video providers around the world, including Fox Sports, NBCUniversal, Paramount+, Red Bull TV and Canal+, as they begin to stream in high-frame-rate HDR. With high-frame-rate support in AirPlay, videos shot on iPhone 12 Pro can be displayed in full 60-fps Dolby Vision on the new Apple TV 4K.

Through a new color balance process, Apple TV works with iPhone and its advanced sensors to improve a television’s picture quality, according to the announcement. Apple TV uses the light sensor in the iPhone to compare the color balance to the industry-standard specifications used by cinematographers worldwide. Using this data, Apple TV automatically tailors its video output to deliver much more accurate colors and improved contrast — without customers ever having to adjust their television settings, according to Apple.

The new Siri remote for Apple TV

The new Siri Remote features a clickpad control that offers five-way navigation for better accuracy and is also touch-enabled for fast directional swipes. The outer ring of the clickpad supports a circular gesture that turns it into a jog control, which can be used for finding a scene in a movie or show. The new Siri Remote also has a power button that controls a TV’s power and another for mute to eliminate the need for other remots. Using Siri, customers can search for specific shows or movies, control smart home accessories, check sports scores or the weather and more, according to Apple. Siri now works on Apple TV in Austria, Ireland, and New Zealand, joining the 13 countries and regions that already support Siri.

Apple TV 4K runs tvOS. AirPlay on Apple TV 4K lets customers effortlessly share videos, school projects and other content from their iPhone, iPad or Mac directly to the TV. Videos shot on iPhone 12 Pro can be displayed in full 60-fps Dolby Vision with high frame rate support in AirPlay. Apple TV 4K can be used as a home hub to control HomeKit accessories, and allows customers to view HomeKit video cameras and doorbell notifications on the television screen. With multiuser support on Apple TV 4K, family members can see personalized recommendations for shows, movies and music, access their purchased apps in the App Store, or play games on Apple Arcade.

For the first time, AppleCare+ will be available for Apple TV, providing three years of technical support and additional hardware coverage, including up to two incidents of accidental damage protection every 12 months.