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post #1 of 169 Old 06-10-2015, 12:19 PM - Thread Starter
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Top 10 Things You Need to Know About Choosing Between HD and UHD



Should you get an HD or UHD display for your home theater? There are several things to consider before making this important decision.

1. HD has a pixel resolution of 1920x1080, while UHD (also commonly but inaccurately known as 4K) quadruples the resolution to 3840x2160, but that additional resolution does not offer much visible benefit at typical screen sizes and seating distances. (Of course, you can see a big difference at the "pixel-peeping" distance depicted above, but few people actually sit that close to their TV.)

2. UHD will offer several other enhancements, including high dynamic range (HDR), wider color gamut (WCG), and high frame rate (HFR), but the details are still being worked out. These enhancements will have a much greater impact on image quality than increased resolution.

3. There are several HDR systems vying for acceptance by display manufacturers and content creators, including SMPTE (the only one that's an open industry standard), Dolby Vision, Philips, Technicolor, and BBC.

4. The only currently available consumer displays with HDR and WCG capabilities are the Samsung SUHD TVs, which implement the SMPTE HDR standard; the Vizio Reference Series will offer WCG and Dolby Vision HDR when it is released, presumably later this year. Also, the Panasonic CX850 and Sony X940C LCDs and LG EG9600 OLED are scheduled to get firmware updates that add HDR capabilities—at least for streaming content—this year.

5. There is currently no consumer content with HDR, WCG, or HFR; Disney and Pixar have created HDR/WCG content for commercial cinema using Dolby Vision, and Fox has announced it will produce HDR content for the home market.

6. Streaming services Amazon, M-Go, Netflix, and Vudu have announced plans to provide HDR content this year, but they could use different HDR systems. Will HDR-capable displays be able to decode multiple types of HDR signals? We don't know yet.

7. The only way to stream UHD content at this point is via the display's built-in apps, the Sony FMP-X10 UHD server, or the Nvidia Shield streaming box; a Roku UHD streaming box is under development, as are others, I'm sure.

8. Ultra HD Blu-ray Discs will support the SMPTE, Dolby Vision, and Philips HDR systems as well as WCG when they—and the players needed to play them—start shipping by the end of this year. Those players should also support UHD streaming, presumably with HDR and WCG if available. To play UHD content with HDR from an outboard device, both the device and display must support HDMI 2.0a.

9. Many people argue that a UHDTV can make HD look much better than it does on an HDTV, but that depends on the quality of the display's upscaler, and many others maintain that the increased resolution by itself does not improve the picture quality very much at typical screen sizes and seating distances.

10. Because of all the current uncertainty, I generally recommend that mainstream consumers and enthusiasts with limited means wait to buy a UHD display until the dust settles in a year or two. This recommendation does not necessarily apply to fervent early adopters who replace their display every couple of years anyway; in fact, it's because of them that we see so much progress in the development of all consumer-electronics products.

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post #2 of 169 Old 06-10-2015, 12:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Scott Wilkinson View Post
10. Because of all the current uncertainty, I generally recommend waiting to buy a UHD display until the dust settles in a year or two—that is, unless you're a fervent early adopter and replace your display every couple of years anyway.
100% agreed.
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post #3 of 169 Old 06-10-2015, 12:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Scott Wilkinson View Post


Should you get an HD or UHD display for your home theater? There are several things to consider before making this important decision.

1. HD has a pixel resolution of 1920x1080, while UHD (also commonly but inaccurately known as 4K) quadruples the resolution to 3840x2160, but that additional resolution does not offer much visible benefit at typical screen sizes and seating distances.

2. UHD will offer several other enhancements, including high dynamic range (HDR), wider color gamut (WCG), and high frame rate (HFR), but the details are still being worked out. These enhancements will have a much greater impact on image quality than increased resolution.

3. There are several HDR systems vying for acceptance by display manufacturers and content creators, including SMPTE (the only one that's an open industry standard), Dolby Vision, Philips, Technicolor, and BBC.

4. The only currently available consumer displays with HDR and WCG capabilities are the Samsung SUHD TVs, which implement the SMPTE HDR standard; the Vizio Reference Series will offer WCG and Dolby Vision HDR when it is released, presumably later this year. Also, the Panasonic CX850 and Sony X940C LCDs and LG EG9600 OLED are scheduled to get firmware updates that add HDR capabilities—at least for streaming content—this year.

5. There is currently no consumer content with HDR, WCG, or HFR; Disney and Pixar have created HDR/WCG content for commercial cinema using Dolby Vision, and Fox has announced it will produce HDR content for the home market.

6. Streaming services Amazon, M-Go, Netflix, and Vudu have announced plans to provide HDR content this year, but they could use different HDR systems. Will HDR-capable displays be able to decode multiple types of HDR signals? We don't know yet.

7. The only way to stream UHD content at this point is via the display's built-in apps or the Sony FMP-X10 UHD server; a Roku UHD streaming box is under development.

8. Ultra HD Blu-ray Discs will support the SMPTE, Dolby Vision, and Philips HDR systems as well as WCG when they—and the players needed to play them—start shipping by the end of this year. Those players should also support UHD streaming, presumably with HDR and WCG if available.

9. Many people argue that a UHDTV can make HD look much better than it does on an HDTV, but that depends on the quality of the display's upscaler, and many others maintain that the increased resolution by itself does not improve the picture quality very much at typical screen sizes and seating distances.

10. Because of all the current uncertainty, I generally recommend waiting to buy a UHD display until the dust settles in a year or two—that is, unless you're a fervent early adopter and replace your display every couple of years anyway.

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What is the current and future prospects for projectors?
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post #4 of 169 Old 06-10-2015, 12:39 PM
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I sit 10.5ft from a 110" 1080p projection setup. I am ready for 4k but will wait until the standards are figured out and I can buy a nice 4k projector under $4k.
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post #5 of 169 Old 06-10-2015, 12:44 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Leary View Post
What is the current and future prospects for projectors?
Unknown at this time, but it seems to me that projectors are lagging behind flat panels in terms of resolution, HDR, WCG, etc. Yes, there are a few projectors with 4K resolution, but not nearly as many as the number of flat panels. And I don't know of any imminently available projectors with the other attributes. Maybe we'll see some at CEDIA; I hope so!
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post #6 of 169 Old 06-10-2015, 12:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Scott Wilkinson View Post
Unknown at this time, but it seems to me that projectors are lagging behind flat panels in terms of resolution, HDR, WCG, etc. Yes, there are a few projectors with 4K resolution, but not nearly as many as the number of flat panels. And I don't know of any imminently available projectors with the other attributes. Maybe we'll see some at CEDIA; I hope so!
They are definitely lagging but remember most consumers just jumped on board with HD, going from 720p to 1080p sets, until most of them quit working or die out, I can't see buying one. Every set I have with the exception of my LCD in kitchen is 1080p, and I have many sets, unless one dies I don't plan on replacing any of them. Now on my projector in my HT, that I could see trading up to a new system but prices are not good yet. As far as the huge flat panels, no thanks to me, been down that road and even though they are flat, much harder to get rid of and replace when you want too, I will stick with another good 4K projector like a Sony/JVC or Epson. Currently have a Sony BRAVIA VPL-VW85 that has been ISF calibrated so I am good for about another year or two.. Unless I get a great trade in, as this has low hours..
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post #7 of 169 Old 06-10-2015, 01:02 PM
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I didn't realize so many details have to sorted.

I recently bought 1080p projector and I'm sure my next be will likely be 4k. I think waiting five years to buy is a great plan for now.
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post #8 of 169 Old 06-10-2015, 01:07 PM
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For me its about waiting for the content. Format war aside, when did we really start getting a lot of bluray catalog releases? 2010? so the format had been out for a few years at that point. that was plenty of time for 1080p tvs to become more mainstream and affordable, as well as getting the feature sets worked out (stuff like # of hdmi ports)

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post #9 of 169 Old 06-10-2015, 01:12 PM
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Thank's Scott for clearing some of this up for me. Its because of your article that I am going to be waiting for the forseeable future to get into 4K and even then I dont know if I will be jumping on the ship. I'm going to be keeping a watchful eye on OLED though and see how that all pans out. Until then my Sony 55W900A suits my needs just fine.


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post #10 of 169 Old 06-10-2015, 01:26 PM
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I'm curious if HDR content would make any noticeable difference in PQ vs non-HDR content on a non-HDR display. Obviously you wouldn't get the full benefit since the display doesn't support the technology but since the content is better I could see it making some difference.

I remember when I got my first DVR from Comcast. It was an HD box but I didn't have an HDTV yet but I noticed that the HD channels always looked better than the SD channels even on a SD TV. Obviously I didn't get full 720p resolution but it still looked better. Would HDR content on a non-HDR display have a similar effect?
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post #11 of 169 Old 06-10-2015, 01:30 PM
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not buying a 4k tv until my cable provider has content for me to watch.
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post #12 of 169 Old 06-10-2015, 01:53 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by jimv1983 View Post
I'm curious if HDR content would make any noticeable difference in PQ vs non-HDR content on a non-HDR display. Obviously you wouldn't get the full benefit since the display doesn't support the technology but since the content is better I could see it making some difference.

I remember when I got my first DVR from Comcast. It was an HD box but I didn't have an HDTV yet but I noticed that the HD channels always looked better than the SD channels even on a SD TV. Obviously I didn't get full 720p resolution but it still looked better. Would HDR content on a non-HDR display have a similar effect?
I think you mean will HDR content make a noticeable difference in PQ versus the same HDR content on a non-HDR display. It's not clear, but your analogy to resolution, while a reasonable thought, is not entirely apt. With resolution, you're right that starting with more and scaling it down generally does make a noticeable improvement compared with the same content that started at the lower resolution to begin with. But dynamic range is different, and what happens when you play HDR content on a non-HDR display depends on the HDR system.

For example, Dolby Vision is a two-layer system with SDR in the base layer and HDR metadata in the enhancement layer, so it is backward-compatible with SDR displays. In that case, I wouldn't expect to see a big improvement on an SDR display, since the HDR metadata is simply ignored.

On the other hand, SMPTE is a single-layer system. In a separate thread, AVS member ray0414 documents his attempt to play the Samsung-provided HDR clips from Life of Pi and Exodus on his 2014 Samsung HU9000 before he got the One Connect Box that upgrades it to HDR, and he found the picture to look very washed out; after the upgrade, it looked way better than even high-quality SDR content.

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post #13 of 169 Old 06-10-2015, 01:54 PM
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I got a UHD PC Samsung monitor a while ago, which also claims to have a higher standard than the 709. I can only say that pictures look breathtaking on the screen. Since I have the screen (and my reading glasses) I can read the smallest possible print without a problem. Even a letter size of 4 is still smooth. For TV I will wait like everybody else; for computer work I have to recommend to everyone to consider a nice 29-32 inch UHD monitor right now.

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post #14 of 169 Old 06-10-2015, 02:07 PM
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There is something ironic, or perhaps counterproductive, isn't there, in an AV-site recommending AV-enthusiasts hold back on adopting a new format?

By that I mean: the people *most interested in jumping to a higher quality format should be US.* And if WE are going to council each other to not take the leap, who will? We'd be the ones most appreciating the change, but would be contributing to the slow...or non...adoption of the technology needed to make the change.

Not that I actually disagree with Scott's recommendation. I'm just musing on the implications....

(I guess it sort of reminds me of how weirdly often I see on AV-enthusiast sites when a new technological or format change is offered "No way, not this time. I parted with my money to upgrade the last time, you aren't going to get my money THIS TIME!" At which point I wonder what such folks are actually doing on an AV-enthusiast site).
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post #15 of 169 Old 06-10-2015, 02:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Wilkinson View Post
...
7. The only way to stream UHD content at this point is via the display's built-in apps or the Sony FMP-X10 UHD server; a Roku UHD streaming box is under development.
...
Scott, Thanks for itemizing the various aspects. While the comments about HDR and the 'non-readiness' of 4K displays for the average consumer hit the nail on the head, the item quoted above is not true.

The NVIDIA Shield Console that I reviewed recently supports streaming of Netflix UHD content on a HDMI 2.0 / HDCP 2.2 display. Proof is in the screen grab here:

http://anandtech.com/show/9289/the-n...id-tv-review/7

Roku is not the only game in town for OTT streaming

Another aspect that I would add to the above list is to choose a display which covers as much of the BT.2020 color gamut as possible. Current display technology doesn't allow for any display to cover 100% of that, but, TVs based on quantum-dot technology can cover upwards of 90% of the BT.2020 color gamut. Displays covering a wider color gamut will lead to a richer experience with the upcoming UHD Blu-ray content.

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post #16 of 169 Old 06-10-2015, 02:23 PM
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not buying a 4k tv until my cable provider has content for me to watch.
You will be waiting for a long time.

Disk and Streaming will be how 4k content gets distributed.

So no news or reality TV in 4K anytime soon.

Are you really hearing a difference?
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reality TV in 4K
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post #18 of 169 Old 06-10-2015, 02:32 PM
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In regards to resolution, I remember the same, exact arguments against 1080p when it first came around. Not necessarily in comparison to 480i/p but in comparison to 720p. And i was actually totally sold on that idea. I thought all these people flocking to the 1080 50" TVs were chumps. I was going to save a few hundred bucks by getting a 720p TV and laugh my way all the way to the bank, MWAHAHAHA!!! ... and then I saw a 1080p 50" TV sitting next to a 720P 50" tv (same brand and model level) from about 10" away. "Are those jaggies???" It was a no-brainer. Maybe there's a sitting distance where a person could actually not discern a difference between 1080p and UHD on a reasonably sized TV, but, as for all of these claims that "most of the time, you can't even tell the difference"--is complete and utter baloney. Granted, I apparently have really good vision (I can apparently still see further than my gf who just got lazik), so maybe I'm an exception.

Even taking all that into account, I'm actually not sold on the idea of a UHD TV. I'd be very interested to upgrade my projector in the near future though; however, that area oddly doesn't have much development. I mean, we're about to get PHONES (from TWO different companies) with UHD resolution and we still only have ONE company making UHD projectors??? It's absurd.
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post #19 of 169 Old 06-10-2015, 02:32 PM
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Comcast is realeasing a 4k box by year end - not such a long time. There will be a followup box next year with hdr.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Wilkinson View Post
10. Because of all the current uncertainty, I generally recommend waiting to buy a UHD display until the dust settles in a year or two—that is, unless you're a fervent early adopter and replace your display every couple of years anyway.
That ^ ... because we all know where early adopters ultimately leads to. ...No need to look any further than first generation plasma HDTVs (720p).
...Or Dolby 3D new elevation sound.

Or unless financial funds are unlimited; like earning interests from investments in the six digits every week. ...Then yes, go ahead, and keep up with the latest every six months or so.
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post #21 of 169 Old 06-10-2015, 02:39 PM
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I sit 10.5ft from a 110" 1080p projection setup. I am ready for 4k but will wait until the standards are figured out and I can buy a nice 4k projector under $4k.
Therein lies the real benefit of 4K. Very few TV users benefit from it at all. Most are buying inferior sets and upscaling 1080P content. At least a project makes use of 4k though you have to spend a small fortune to do that.
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post #22 of 169 Old 06-10-2015, 03:09 PM
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Comcast is realeasing a 4k box by year end - not such a long time. There will be a followup box next year with hdr.

Yes it will upconvert their current HD offering from their content providers. (and have HDMI 2.0/2.2
They will have a 4K channel similar to what they did with 3D.
Actually it is replacing that channel since no one watched it.

But don't expect their entire lineup to be native 4K.
That isn't happening anytime soon.
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10. Because of all the current uncertainty, I generally recommend waiting to buy a UHD display until the dust settles in a year or two—that is, unless you're a fervent early adopter and replace your display every couple of years anyway.
NOOOOOOOO!!!

now after i warmed up to the idea of upgrading from 720p to 4k (after those 12 years), you ask me to wait longer?

BTW, what happened to the 3D?
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1. HD has a pixel resolution of 1920x1080, while UHD (also commonly but inaccurately known as 4K) quadruples the resolution to 3840x2160, but that additional resolution does not offer much visible benefit at typical screen sizes and seating distances. (Of course, you can see a big difference at the "pixel-peeping" distance depicted above, but few people actually sit that close to their TV.)
can someone give me clarification on this statement. Im curious what size is ideal? I just want to make sure i didnt waste $2,000.lol
I bought the new LG 4k 3d tv 65 inch. I sit about 5-7 feet back I'm guessing?
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post #25 of 169 Old 06-10-2015, 04:19 PM
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For example, Dolby Vision is a two-layer system with SDR in the base layer and HDR metadata in the enhancement layer, so it is backward-compatible with SDR displays. In that case, I wouldn't expect to see a big improvement on an SDR display, since the HDR metadata is simply ignored.

.
I don't think this makes any sense if the television you are displaying it on is a UHD SDR one. Wouldn't you still see the WCG, Increased detail from the bit depth? Tomorrowland's HDR master aught to look significantly better on a UHD tv in SDR than an HD TV in SDR, correct? Unless you are suggesting that the resolution, WCG, and increased detail does not qualify as a big improvement?
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post #26 of 169 Old 06-10-2015, 04:30 PM
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Scott .. tks for this. Are you also contemplating something similar for A/V receivers? I'm not sure how you'd organize the content .. or what the factors might be .. but support for HDMI 2.0 and HDCP 2.2 would be a couple of items. UHD Blu-Ray implications? Support for ATMOS/Auro/Dolby would be another. Also maybe a statement as to whether you would need support for HDR/WCG/etc .. or whether that stuff just 'passes through'.
It's probably an easier discussion for a TV because it's a 'target device' .. whereas the receiver is in the middle of everything and has all the interoperability implications of not only the video stuff .. but also the audio.

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post #27 of 169 Old 06-10-2015, 04:47 PM
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I've an 82" Mitsu DLP, and the lamp is now dimming a tad(it's also very deep in size/not aesthetically pleasing anymore). Since the 4K standards are still in flux, I'm considering buying a large 1080p smart display to hold me over for the next couple of years. Some solid suggestions would be really welcome(I use a Directv Genie system & Xbox One btw). Thanks guys...

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post #28 of 169 Old 06-10-2015, 04:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Scott Wilkinson View Post
Maybe we'll see some at CEDIA; I hope so!
Me too! I think projectors are where 4K can really make a lot of sense. Now if only we can get the prices down a bit more!
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post #29 of 169 Old 06-10-2015, 04:56 PM - Thread Starter
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Scott, Thanks for itemizing the various aspects. While the comments about HDR and the 'non-readiness' of 4K displays for the average consumer hit the nail on the head, the item quoted above is not true.

The NVIDIA Shield Console that I reviewed recently supports streaming of Netflix UHD content on a HDMI 2.0 / HDCP 2.2 display. Proof is in the screen grab here:

http://anandtech.com/show/9289/the-n...id-tv-review/7

Roku is not the only game in town for OTT streaming

Another aspect that I would add to the above list is to choose a display which covers as much of the BT.2020 color gamut as possible. Current display technology doesn't allow for any display to cover 100% of that, but, TVs based on quantum-dot technology can cover upwards of 90% of the BT.2020 color gamut. Displays covering a wider color gamut will lead to a richer experience with the upcoming UHD Blu-ray content.
I didn't know about the Nvidia Shield; I updated the OP accordingly. Thanks!

The problem with current WCG displays is that there is no standardization; one TV will cover 90% of BT.2020, and another will cover 95%. And which 90 or 95% is it? Then there's the issue of how will the signal convey WCG info, and how will the TV or source device remap it if the display's color gamut is different than what is in the signal? These are as yet unanswered questions.
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post #30 of 169 Old 06-10-2015, 05:15 PM - Thread Starter
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I don't think this makes any sense if the television you are displaying it on is a UHD SDR one. Wouldn't you still see the WCG, Increased detail from the bit depth? Tomorrowland's HDR master aught to look significantly better on a UHD tv in SDR than an HD TV in SDR, correct? Unless you are suggesting that the resolution, WCG, and increased detail does not qualify as a big improvement?
Not necessarily; it all depends on what's in the signal and what the display can decode. For example, I saw Tomorrowland in both HDR and SDR; the SDR version looked considerably worse, and that was at the same resolution as the HDR version (4K). Granted, I don't know if Dolby Vision for commercial cinema works the same as it does for consumer TVs (that is, dual layer), but I would assume so. Also, I don't know if Disney released one DCP for both types of theaters, expecting the SDR projectors to ignore the HDR metadata, or if they did two separate DCPs graded accordingly. As I said in the OP and elsewhere, I believe that increased resolution offers the least amount of benefit comapred with 1080p. WCG offers more benefit compared with BT.709, but exactly how that will be conveyed and decoded remains an open question as far as I know.
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