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post #1 of 403 Old 04-16-2015, 08:11 PM - Thread Starter
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High Dynamic-Range Displays at NAB 2015



Finally—HDR is here, and content is being graded for it. UHD/4K isn't only about pixel count any more!

In my view, one of the biggest stories at this week's National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) convention in Las Vegas, NV, was high dynamic range (HDR) in terms of capture, grading, and display. On the display side of things, many companies were showing prototypes and, in some cases, currently or nearly available flat panels capable of fully reproducing an HDR video signal. Granted, most were professional monitors that cost in the five figures for a screen typically measuring 30 inches or less. But those products often point the way to consumer variations—and there are even a few consumer models being demo'd with content specifically graded for HDR.

As anyone who follows my work knows, I think HDR is the most important aspect of UHD/4K, far more important than pixel count. Yet virtually all UHDTVs sold today do not have HDR capabilities. (Of course, the Samsung SUHD TVs and newly re-announced Vizio Reference series do, and there was a prototype of a Sony HDR consumer flat panel at NAB.) So I was thrilled to see so many HDR displays at the show. It's great to know that the content creators are starting to work with HDR, which can only be good for content consumers.

Among the important parameters of HDR displays is their peak brightness, which is typically greater than the peak brightness of standard dynamic-range (SDR) displays. (SDR consumer content is graded to a peak brightness of 100 nits or about 30 foot-lamberts, while most HDR displays can produce a peak brightness of 1000 nits or more.) Many viewers are concerned that high peak brightness means a searingly bright picture, especially in a dark room, but I have not found that to be a problem. Instead, it generally means that small areas of high brightness can be rendered accurately with visible detail along with areas of lower brightness in the same image.

High peak brightness also means that color can be rendered more accurately over a wider range of luminance. Colors often wash out to white as they approach the display's peak brightness, so having that extra headroom helps keep colors true even in high-brightness areas of the image. Speaking of color, most of the HDR displays at the show had color gamuts wider than BT.709. Most encompassed DCI-P3, the commercial-cinema color gamut, while a couple claimed to reach all the way to BT.2020.

HDR displays require more than 8 bits per primary color to avoid banding artifacts; most of the examples on the show floor used 10 bits. A related factor is the gamma curve, which defines how the light output from the display is related to the brightness level in the signal; this is also known as the electro-optical transfer function (EOTF). Most of the HDR displays at NAB use PQ gamma, which was developed by Dolby and is now part of the SMPTE ST.2084 HDR standard.

I always enjoy taking product shots at trade shows, but accurate photos of HDR displays are impossible without an HDR camera, which I don't have. So the photos I'm sharing here do not accurately depict what these displays actually looked like. I include them only as an avatar for each display I describe.

The shot at the top of this thread is from the Arri booth. Footage shot on the Arri Alexa 65 and Amira 4K HDR cameras was displayed on a Samsung UE65JS9500 SUHD consumer TV, which can achieve a peak brightness of 1000 nits. The JS9500 uses the SMPTE ST.2084 HDR standard with PQ gamma to render HDR content with 10 bits per color. Like all the HDR displays I saw, this one looked spectacular.


My favorite HDR flat panel at the show was this 4K LED-FALD LCD prototype by Canon, which has a peak brightness of 2000 nits and uses a proprietary HDR system based on PQ gamma; no one would reveal to me the bit depth of this 30-inch-wide display, which encompasses the BT.2020 color gamut. The demo footage included shots inside a dimly lit bar with a window to a very bright day outside; on an SDR display with SDR content—or in an SDR photo of those shots—any details in the window would be totally blown out, but in this demo, the details outside and inside the bar were equally clear. Plus, the red of the Mustang seen here was definitely outside the boundaries of BT.709. It was jaw-dropping.


Canon was also showing two 4K HDR production monitors, including the new 24" DP-V2410 seen here, which is scheduled for release in November. Its peak brightness is "only" 400 nits with 10 bits per color using the SMPTE ST.2084 HDR standard, and its color gamut is DCI-P3. The existing 30" DP-V3010 will get a firmware upgrade in November to allow HDR up to 200 nits.


Sony had two samples of its 4K OLED monitor, the BVM-X300, set up side by side in a blacked-out area. One was showing SDR-graded content (left), while the other was showing HDR-graded content (right). The X300 has a peak brightness of 1000 nits using 10 bits per color and Sony's S-Log3 gamma curve, and it can reproduce the BT.2020 color gamut. The HDR version was obviously brighter, and the colors were more saturated; it looked quite amazing, as I would expect for $42,000!


Sony was also demonstrating a prototype 75" HDR consumer UHDTV (right) showing HDR-graded content next to a 70" X850B (left) showing the same content graded for SDR. The prototype can produce up to 1000 nits of peak brightness using 10 bits per color and the SMPTE ST.2084 HDR standard; I was told the color gamut is "P3-ish." The difference between these two displays was not as dramatic as the OLEDs—the X850B might have been stretching the dynamic range as Sony TVs can do—but I still preferred the prototype. I won't be surprised if it's introduced as a product at CES 2016.


Dolby was one of the first companies out of the HDR gate with Dolby Vision, which uses the PQ gamma curve and 12 bits per color. Seen here are two samples of the company's second-generation, 1080p Dolby Vision monitor (32") with 2000 nits of peak brightness encompassing the P3 color gamut. The one on the left is showing SDR-graded content, while the one on the right is showing HDR content; as with most such demos, the HDR image looked far superior to the SDR image, with much more detail and no blooming or washed-out colors despite the brighter image.

The company's first Dolby Vision 1080p monitor has been demo'd for a while now, and Dolby claims it's the brightest display in the world at 4000 nits. It was also shown next to an SDR monitor—in this case, a Dolby PRM-4220 reference monitor—and it was so bright, I couldn't get a good photo of it without severely underexposing the SDR monitor. Even so, I did not find it uncomfortable to view in the dark environment.

Both Dolby Vision monitors are LED-FALD LCD flat panels, and each LED in the array is independently dimmable. In the original one, the LEDs are white, while the new one uses blue LEDs firing through a quantum-dot film, which uses less power and provides a potentially wider color gamut.


Also in the Dolby booth were two 65" Vizio Reference Series TVs, which implement Dolby Vision and were recently re-introduced at a press event in New York. The one seen here was showing some Dolby-generated HDR game footage—there is much more detail in the bright areas than you can see in this photo—while the other one was streaming an HDR-graded version of The Lego Movie from Vudu. Sweet!


JVC had an interesting HDR demo. An HDR-capable camera in the center of this photo was trained on a still-life scene to the right, and the live signal was displayed on a prototype 1080p HDR display to the left—in this case, a 36" D-ILA rear-projection setup. I was told it can generate up to 2500 nits of peak brightness with 10 bits per color using the SMPTE ST.2084 HDR standard with PQ gamma and reproduce the P3 color gamut. JVC wanted to emphasize that D-ILA technology naturally exhibits high dynamic range. And I thought rear projection was dead!

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post #2 of 403 Old 04-16-2015, 08:16 PM
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AWESOME. So glad HDR is finally ready for prime time.

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post #3 of 403 Old 04-16-2015, 08:29 PM
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I realize that 3D is not part of the Ultra 4K spec ( hope I got my terminology correct), and is fading fast, but it would seem that high dynamic range technology would really benefit 3D. Or is there some incompatibility issue?
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post #4 of 403 Old 04-16-2015, 08:42 PM
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Give it all time, and some day we will all have one in our homes. I hope I live that long.
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post #5 of 403 Old 04-16-2015, 08:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Wilkinson View Post
My favorite HDR flat panel at the show was this 4K LED-FALD LCD prototype by Canon, which has a peak brightness of 2000 nits and uses a proprietary HDR system based on PQ gamma; no one would reveal to me the bit depth of this 30-inch-wide display, which encompasses the BT.2020 color gamut. The demo footage included shots inside a dimly lit bar with a window to a very bright day outside; on an SDR display with SDR content—or in an SDR photo of those shots—any details in the window would be totally blown out, but in this demo, the details outside and inside the bar were equally clear. Plus, the red of the Mustang seen here was definitely outside the boundaries of BT.709. It was jaw-dropping.
Scott, in many situations the director does not want attention drawn to what's outside the bar and window. Just as a very shallow DOF will force the viewer's attention to the subject and not what's behind the subject, so is the situation in deliberately blowing out detail outside that window.

I'm sorry, but in so many of these situations (not all) we are finding a solution to a problem that simply doesn't exist.
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post #6 of 403 Old 04-16-2015, 09:04 PM
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Do all Samsung SUHD support HDR?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skimanfz1 View Post
I realize that 3D is not part of the Ultra 4K spec ( hope I got my terminology correct), and is fading fast, but it would seem that high dynamic range technology would really benefit 3D. Or is there some incompatibility issue?
I agree with you, and that's why I feel truly sad. ...Perhaps one day, ...after the sunset. ...When storage won't be an issue anymore.
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post #8 of 403 Old 04-16-2015, 09:29 PM
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Great report...HDR/wider color gamut will give filmmakers and videographers who know what their doing more tools to tell a story visually, and likely with much greater immersion for the viewer.
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post #9 of 403 Old 04-16-2015, 09:46 PM
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I can't wait to own one! Plus... Star Wars in HDR !!! This is going to be AWESOME.

Samsung should pony up and make some PC monitors with HDR in them. Or somebody should. That don't cost 2k let alone 20 or 40. Seriously I've been looking at the prices for UHD monitors and it's almost to the point where I spend a little bit more, and get a UHD HDTV to use as my work screen instead.

Browsers are going to need some kind of plugin to avoid massive jumps in dynamic range once this gets off the ground. I love the idea of super bright landscapes that mimic looking out a car window on a sunny day, but not for some silly popup ad. It'll be like those commercials that are SUPER LOUD all of a sudden, but instead SUPER BRIGHT. That will get old, fast. I guess with all new tech, there is going to be some learning curve and safety standards coming out.

Were there any HDR projectors on display? I mean aside from the JVC rear projection ones. I just don't see those creating a market for themselves in a world where ultra-thin TVs reign supreme.
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post #10 of 403 Old 04-16-2015, 09:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Ross View Post
Scott, in many situations the director does not want attention drawn to what's outside the bar and window. Just as a very shallow DOF will force the viewer's attention to the subject and not what's behind the subject, so is the situation in deliberately blowing out detail outside that window.

I'm sorry, but in so many of these situations (not all) we are finding a solution to a problem that simply doesn't exist.
C'mon Ken you know you are just p*ssed that you are now going to have to wait it out for a 77" HDR OLED...
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post #11 of 403 Old 04-16-2015, 11:29 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Ross View Post
Scott, in many situations the director does not want attention drawn to what's outside the bar and window. Just as a very shallow DOF will force the viewer's attention to the subject and not what's behind the subject, so is the situation in deliberately blowing out detail outside that window.

I'm sorry, but in so many of these situations (not all) we are finding a solution to a problem that simply doesn't exist.
Of course, a director can do whatever they want to draw attention to something specific in a scene, but in the case of a dim room with a bright window, they've had no choice up to now; they can expose for the room or the window, but not both. I maintain that SDR is quite limiting, which is a problem that HDR solves. HDR offers more creative freedom than SDR, which is a good thing in my book.
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post #12 of 403 Old 04-16-2015, 11:37 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Skimanfz1 View Post
I realize that 3D is not part of the Ultra 4K spec ( hope I got my terminology correct), and is fading fast, but it would seem that high dynamic range technology would really benefit 3D. Or is there some incompatibility issue?
There's no compatibility issue I know of. And there is no Ultra HD spec per se—at least, not yet—because some things, such as HDR, have not been adopted as standard for UHDTVs, so there is no reason that 3D could not be implemented. In fact, UHD is perfect for passive-glasses 3D, because it gives you 1080p in each eye, and HDR would make it much better because of the increased peak brightness. I don't know if the upcoming Ultra HD Blu-ray spec includes 3D; I'd be surprised if it doesn't, but I'll have to find out.
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post #13 of 403 Old 04-16-2015, 11:41 PM
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Was the 75" HDR Sony prototype a wedge design with speakers?
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Do all Samsung SUHD support HDR?
Yep, that's a big part of what makes them special.

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Were there any HDR projectors on display? I mean aside from the JVC rear projection ones. I just don't see those creating a market for themselves in a world where ultra-thin TVs reign supreme.
Sadly, not that I saw; that will be one story from CinemaCon next week. The Dolby Vision projectors that will be installed in AMC Prime theaters are HDR, but I haven't seen one yet. The Christie CP-42LH laser-illuminated projector at NAB is the platform for the Dolby Vision projectors, and it can reach 60,000 lumens, so I suppose it's HDR by definition. But I think Dolby adds some secret sauce to make it Dolby Vision.

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post #16 of 403 Old 04-17-2015, 12:08 AM - Thread Starter
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Was the 75" HDR Sony prototype a wedge design with speakers?
Yep, exactly so.

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post #17 of 403 Old 04-17-2015, 03:49 AM
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I can't wait to own one! Plus... Star Wars in HDR !!! This is going to be AWESOME.
I hope the restoration of the original trilogy's theatrical version takes HDR into account and they restore the original, vibrant colors the Special Edition on Blu-ray lacks so painfully (heck, in comparison already my CAV LBX Japanese LaserDisc looks like HDR...).

Another title I know Dolby already mastered in Dolby Vision is the musical Chicago. Too bad the Japanese release next week will just be a standard Blu-ray, but at least it will feature a sound remix in Dolby Atmos.

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http://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/12...oadmap/?page=2

- Will there be one standard or will there be several standards? Will these standards be changed after a few years? I have been reading about starting with 8oo Nits, then going to 1500 Nits.
- How much extra power will HDR use?
- What about viewer discomfort? Eye strain? One cannot stare into a realistic TV sun for to long.
- Apparently one can choose between HDR/not HDR version (probably not once it becomes part of broadcasting). How much extra will a TV cost when it has HDR capability?
- And what about the concern that Kenn Ross an Rogo have about a bright HDR image popping up in a dark room in a dark scene?


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post #19 of 403 Old 04-17-2015, 04:32 AM
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Of course, a director can do whatever they want to draw attention to something specific in a scene, but in the case of a dim room with a bright window, they've had no choice up to now; they can expose for the room or the window, but not both. I maintain that SDR is quite limiting, which is a problem that HDR solves. HDR offers more creative freedom than SDR, which is a good thing in my book.
Not strictly true Scott... it might just be your wording but it feels like HDR display is getting mixed up with HDR capture once again.

Its not a question of exposure, the information has always been there in the capture (35mm film, digital cinema has always been 'HDR'), but a matter of displaying that range of information.

Imagine that scene, if you retain the information in both the window and the dim room on an SDR grade, the image would look quite flat and lifeless due to the limited dynamic range the monitor/TV can display. But if you wanted that, you could do it.

Often you would opt to either crush some shadow detail in the room and retain the detail outside, or blow-out the window detail and retain the shadow detail in the room to give an image with a pleasing amount of contrast.

Now you could (and most likely would) get round this some-what with masks, separately treating the window and the room, adding contrast in the room and retaining detail out the window, but pushed too far the scene could look un-natural. Closer to a tone-mapped photo.

With an HDR grade you can keep detail AND contrast. Of course you could still choose to lose the detail out the window and limit the luminance too if you didn't want any attention drawn to it.

Like you say, HDR offers more creative freedom and I for one can't wait to work in an HDR delivery format.
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Scott do you need HDMI 2.a? This looks like the same problem that 4K TV'S had when they first came out and only had HDMI 1.4.From what I've seen of the new 2015 TV'S none have the hardware for HDMI.a(except the TV'S you mention and maybe 4K OLED)
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post #21 of 403 Old 04-17-2015, 05:47 AM
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C'mon Ken you know you are just p*ssed that you are now going to have to wait it out for a 77" HDR OLED...
The only thing I'm waiting for on the current 77" OLED is a price drop.

If there's no HDR 'off switch' on that future 77" OLED, I'll be forced to look elsewhere.

Sorry, I'm just not onboard the HDR 'hype train'.
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post #22 of 403 Old 04-17-2015, 06:12 AM
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Of course, a director can do whatever they want to draw attention to something specific in a scene, but in the case of a dim room with a bright window, they've had no choice up to now; they can expose for the room or the window, but not both. I maintain that SDR is quite limiting, which is a problem that HDR solves. HDR offers more creative freedom than SDR, which is a good thing in my book.
From what I've seen it can 'potentially' be a good thing in a bright room and when not used in a gimmicky manner.

As far as the exposure issue is concerned, I've seen severely blown out exteriors that are blown out far beyond what the camera that shot it was capable of.

I've done lots of video over the years and even my 'prosumer' cameras have been capable of shooting properly exposed interiors, yet not so severely blowing out the exteriors as you often see in movies or shows. Sure, you can't perfectly expose both interior and bright exteriors at the same time with standard video equipment, but my point is you can do a much better job than you see in many movies and TV shows if you so desired. so why is that? The reason is simple, that's the way the director wanted it, he didn't want the viewer's eyes diverted to what was outside.

My concern with HDR goes beyond dark room viewing, it's also the huge potential for gimmickry. If not used in a gimmicky way, I'd contend it's not going to be the day and night difference that some think it will be. If used in a dark room, I still believe it can be an unpleasant experience.

We've lived with these luminance standards for dark room viewing for years and now, all of a sudden, we find they were meaningless? Hmm.

APL is one thing, but now we're striving for eye-searing highlights after our eyes have adapted to our dark room? Hmm.

We've had equipment that could go far brighter than what the ISF guys told us was ideal for dark room viewing and now we're throwing those ideas out that 'properly exposed window'. Hmm.

Yeah, I guess it's me, but this sounds like an industry trying to sell us the solution to a problem that doesn't exist. Grab your sunglasses!
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post #23 of 403 Old 04-17-2015, 06:16 AM
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There's no compatibility issue I know of. And there is no Ultra HD spec per se—at least, not yet—because some things, such as HDR, have not been adopted as standard for UHDTVs, so there is no reason that 3D could not be implemented. In fact, UHD is perfect for passive-glasses 3D, because it gives you 1080p in each eye, and HDR would make it much better because of the increased peak brightness. I don't know if the upcoming Ultra HD Blu-ray spec includes 3D; I'd be surprised if it doesn't, but I'll have to find out.
I'd actually agree with this. Although I've never been a fan of 3D, the most common complaint beyond ghosting, is the relatively dim picture. So I could certainly see the higher luminance values of HDR displays helping out there.
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Wow Ken, so negative about HDR when you have seen precious little of it. I will wait to see what cinematographers do with it rather than dismiss it out of hand after seeing a handful or less of at at CES. Will watching a 2 hour HDR graded movie in the dark at home hurt my eyes? I don't know. I will have to see this in action to know. I do know that I will check it out just as I have with OLED. You have haranged some of us that see issues with LG OLEDS yet you take this stand against HDR. I get being cautious as that is how I am as well. I am not on the OLED hype train and you aren't on board the HDR hype train. Imagine that. I am not on the HDR hype train either until I check into to it much further but I don't completely dismiss it at this juncture. Gee, how will you feel if you get the 77" OLED that doesn't support HDR only to see actual real world HDR content and discover that you actually like it? At these prices, I am willing to wait for all UHD standards to be implemented in any set I buy.
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post #25 of 403 Old 04-17-2015, 06:25 AM
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From what I've seen it can 'potentially' be a good thing in a bright room and when not used in a gimmicky manner.

As far as the exposure issue is concerned, I've seen severely blown out exteriors that are blown out far beyond what the camera that shot it was capable of.

I've done lots of video over the years and even my 'prosumer' cameras have been capable of shooting properly exposed interiors, yet not so severely blowing out the exteriors as you often see in movies or shows. Sure, you can't perfectly expose both interior and bright exteriors at the same time with standard video equipment, but my point is you can do a much better job than you see in many movies and TV shows if you so desired. so why is that? The reason is simple, that's the way the director wanted it, he didn't want the viewer's eyes diverted to what was outside.

My concern with HDR goes beyond dark room viewing, it's also the huge potential for gimmickry. If not used in a gimmicky way, I'd contend it's not going to be the day and night difference that some think it will be. If used in a dark room, I still believe it can be an unpleasant experience.

We've lived with these luminance standards for dark room viewing for years and now, all of a sudden, we find they were meaningless? Hmm.



APL is one thing, but now we're striving for eye-searing highlights after our eyes have adapted to our dark room? Hmm.

We've had equipment that could go far brighter than what the ISF guys told us was ideal for dark room viewing and now we're throwing those ideas out that 'properly exposed window'. Hmm.

Yeah, I guess it's me, but this sounds like an industry trying to sell us the solution to a problem that doesn't exist. Grab your sunglasses!


Perhaps these luminance standards are due to the limitations of 20th Century tech? Now that we are no longer limited by such tech, why keep the outdated standards? I have no issues with that at all Get rid of gamma too.
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post #26 of 403 Old 04-17-2015, 06:27 AM
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Will sending a 10 bit or 12 bit signal require significantly more bandwidth over the current 8 bit? Like 25% and 50% more respectively?
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post #27 of 403 Old 04-17-2015, 06:28 AM
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Yep, that's a big part of what makes them special.
'Special' for HDR application, not necessarily 'special' for basic PQ parameters...and therein lies another issue. Sure, your shiny new display may be HDR capable, but does it excel in the PQ parameters that the industry has told us forever were so important?

But the world seems keen on revisionist history, so who knows. The pros who touted plasma's superior PQ never seemed too concerned about the fact that they couldn't hold a brightness candle (no pun intended) to the garishly bright LCDs. Yet reading blurbs today, you'd think there was nothing more important than brightness.

I wonder if Pioneer were still making Kuros, if the same pros who praised Kuros to the sky (I had Kuros too), would now be dissing them for not having HDR capabilities. I wonder.

I'm sorry, I just find all of this kind of amusing.
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post #28 of 403 Old 04-17-2015, 06:37 AM
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[quote=JWhip;33550849]
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Wow Ken, so negative about HDR when you have seen precious little of it. I will wait to see what cinematographers do with it rather than dismiss it out of hand after seeing a handful or less of at at CES.
Well that's a few demos more than you've seen, correct?
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Will watching a 2 hour HDR graded movie in the dark at home hurt my eyes? I don't know. I will have to see this in action to know. I do know that I will check it out just as I have with OLED. You have haranged some of us that see issues with LG OLEDS yet you take this stand against HDR.
Sorry, you're conflating two mutually exclusive ideas here. As you know OLED is fully HDR capable. In fact, those that saw the LG OLED HDR demo, said it was the best. But this discussion is not about OLED. Let it go JWhip.
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I get being cautious as that is how I am as well. I am not on the OLED hype train and you aren't on board the HDR hype train. Imagine that. I am not on the HDR hype train either until I check into to it much further but I don't completely dismiss it at this juncture. Gee, how will you feel if you get the 77" OLED that doesn't support HDR only to see actual real world HDR content and discover that you actually like it? At these prices, I am willing to wait for all UHD standards to be implemented in any set I buy.
I'll be absolutely fine. Why? Because that display will have the basic PQ parameters nailed down far better than the other non-OLED HDR displays.
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post #29 of 403 Old 04-17-2015, 06:40 AM
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'
But the world seems keen on revisionist history, so who knows. The pros who touted plasma's superior PQ never seemed too concerned about the fact that they couldn't hold a brightness candle (no pun intended) to the garishly bright LCDs. Yet reading blurbs today, you'd think there was nothing more important than brightness.
HDR isn't the same thing as cranking up the brightness. It allows a greater range of brightness within an image. It's not the same as uniformly increasing the brightness of an image.
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post #30 of 403 Old 04-17-2015, 06:40 AM
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Perhaps these luminance standards are due to the limitations of 20th Century tech? Now that we are no longer limited by such tech, why keep the outdated standards? I have no issues with that at all Get rid of gamma too.
You're so very wrong about this. Very wrong. Most of our displays have been fully capable of reaching far greater APLs than were recommended for dark room viewing.
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