We have already seen the term Dolby Vision several times in recent months, but we have not gone into it really deeply. Now that CES 2015 is behind us and we’ve heard more details, it’s time to put the facts together. What is Dolby Vision, what is Dolby Vision on TV and how can you see it?
Dolby is of course mainly known for its audio techniques and standards. For example, Dolby Atmos was recently presented as the ultimate surround experience for the home cinema. However, Dolby focuses on the complete home cinema experience and of course that includes images. Dolby Vision must drastically improve the way we watch movies.
High Dynamic Range
The idea behind Dolby Vision is that the image quality that we are now presented with leaves a lot to be desired. It could all be much better, but both the content and the hardware limit the quality. The reason for this is that the dynamic range, the dynamic range, is not large enough.
High Dynamic Range is a term that we have also seen several times in recent months. In short, it means that the brightness of HDR material is higher, without this being at the expense of the deep black. The contrast is higher, so that the content appears richer and more dynamic than non-HDR material. This in turn results in detailed shadows, natural bright sunlight and convincing colors.
We have seen the High Dynamic Range option for a while on video cameras, photo cameras and smartphones, but Dolby now also wants to bring the higher dynamic range to the TV. Dolby Vision thus promises higher brightness, higher contrast, more dynamic colors and an overall more intense experience.
How Dolby Vision works –
Dolby Vision is a standard that must be maintained from start to finish in the production and distribution of a film. This means that the filmmakers have to work with Dolby Vision while the film is running, that the studio must master the film for Dolby Vision and that the TV (or other display) on which the film is viewed supports Dolby playback. Vision material must provide. For a TV this means, among other things, that the maximum brightness and maximum contrast must be at a very high level and that 12-bit video must be supported.
How can you watch Dolby Vision?
Nowadays you can already go to the cinema to get the Dolby Vision experience , but of course you also want to be able to enjoy it at home. As indicated above, it is a matter of getting the right content and buying a compatible display. But, is that already possible?
Blu-ray discs with Dolby Vision are not available yet, but various studios have already announced that they will be working with the standard. In addition, Dolby Vision has been included as an HDR technology in the definitive standard for Ultra HD Blu-ray , the new Blu-ray disc for 4K material. Please note; Dolby Vision will only be combined with films in at least 4K Ultra HD resolution. Incidentally, streaming services such as Netflix will also offer films and series with Dolby Vision in the long term, although it is not yet clear which services exactly, what must be paid for and when we can expect the first films.
On the other hand, you therefore need hardware that supports Dolby Vision. If you use a streaming service, a TV with Dolby Vision support is sufficient. If you use Blu-ray, the player must also be equipped with support for the standard. However, at the moment no TV or Blu-ray player is available that offers this support and no specific products have even been announced yet. However, a number of manufacturers, including Philips and Sharp, have announced that they will come with Dolby Vision-compatible TVs later this year (2015). Dolby itself indicates that we can expect the first hardware in the shops before Christmas 2015. If we receive more information about this, we will update this article.
How Good Is Dolby Vision?
We have been able to experience Dolby Vision a number of times at trade shows and during demonstrations and are now convinced of the standard. With impressive demonstration material, various manufacturers have shown what the possibilities are, by placing a current LCD TV next to a prototype LCD TV with Dolby Vision. The higher brightness, the higher contrast, the more intense colors and the subtle details generally make the picture a lot more impressive and make the TVs that we now have in the living room fade. The high brightness in particular lets light objects jump off the screen without disturbing and without negatively affecting the dark parts of the screen. The larger color spectrum, together with the higher contrast, ensures a very dynamic display, making images seem to come to life and almost make you think you are watching a 3D movie. However, it is a standard that you have to experience yourself, words from others say too little.
However, there is one thing to all of this. Dolby Vision is one of the HDR techniques currently under development. For example, the new Ultra HD Blu-ray standard is also provided with support from Philips and HDR technology and an open standard. We also see that manufacturers of TVs implement their own HDR techniques; Samsung calls it SUHD, for example . Unfortunately, the consequences of this story are not yet completely clear, especially with regard to compatibility. However, we assume that you actually need to have a Dolby Vision logo on your hardware to experience Dolby Vision.