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Dolby Vision -- How Good Is It?


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#1 of 1 Kevin Collins

Kevin Collins

    Kevin Collins

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  • Join Date: Jan 14 2007
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Posted January 29 2014 - 06:02 PM

I had posted earlier about Dolby presenting their display technology on one of their TV's at a press event.  The reports that came out from that press events seemed really impressive.  What wasn't clear was the great picture something that was coming from the display or some other form of technology.

 

Today I had the opportunity to see "Dolby Vision" in person.  Dolby was not presenting their display, but their technology using the Sharp Elite 65" as the HDTV as the comparison with and without their technology.  You can see a video of their technology here.

 

It wasn't exactly clear to me what Dolby is trying to do here in regards to getting this to market.  It appears that they will try to license this technology from the ingestion point all the way to the TV end point.  The interesting part is that the "technology" that they are trying to introduce isn't really "technology".  The basis of what they are going after is the same set of technical features that are discussed in the BDA 4K thread.  This would be using the REC 2020 color gamut, increasing color bit depth to 12bit and color to 4:4:4. 

 

The part that Dolby introduces, that isn't really discussed in that BDA 4K thread is the contrast ratio.  What Dolby is getting at is that the human eye has a great sensitivity to contrast ratio than any display unit.  However, until some of the current generation display units (i.e. the Sharp Elite), the content didn't have the contrast ratio to even take advantage of the display. 

 

Some of the videos they showed me were on the Vimeo trailer above.  The ones that were from video that Dolby shot looked the most different between the two monitors, but TBH, I had the same Sharp Elite that they were showing for about two months and the "normal" picture they were showing NEVER looked as bad as what they were showing.

 

When they went to actual movies then the gap between what is there today and what their technology does diminished.  It was still discernible, but not something like going from SD to HD.  I saw both "The Great Gatsby" and "Pacific Rim" as the side by side demos of BD vs. Dolby Vision.  

 

So, would Dolby Vision have an improvement worth paying for?  I would say so.  However, the big IF here is IF everyone up and down the chain will participate in creating content that meets all the requirements to take advantage of the technology.  In many ways, it is no different than what Dolby did for audio.  They had the stack from recording to playback.  They will have to do that here also, the difference is can they get the monopoly of market share to make it ubiquitous? 

 

Right now that isn't clear and it isn't clear if / when the industry will standardize on key standards to take the next gen of display units to something that will make consumers really want to upgrade.

 

As a side note, Dolby is working with streaming providers to have this technology work for them.  I asked how this could be possible if studios and the BDA are fretting over getting 4K content, with H.265 onto BD50 discs?  Dolby stated that they would have a sub-carrier that could be added on to get the extra video content.  This is similar to what THX and Dolby did for the HD Format for lossless audio.  That has seemed to work out just fine, so I don't see any reason it wouldn't work for streaming.  I'm still skeptical about 4K streaming.  I'm not happy with 2K over cable or satellite, how am I going to be happy with it over the Internet?  We will see.

 

In the meantime.  If you get a chance to see the Dolby Vision, it's worth a stop.  I would focus on the real content, and not the Dolby produced content...


Kevin Collins
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