Dynamic metadata is coming to Amazon and Samsung’s 2016 plus 2017 UHD TVs. In a joint press release, the two companies announced that HDR10+ is here and will be available to stream on Amazon Prime.
2017 Samsung UHD TVs, including QLED models, already support HDR10+. The surprising news is the company will release a firmware update later this year that adds support for HDR10+ to its 2016 UHD models.
Just to be clear, here’s the exact wording, copied verbatim from the press release. “All of Samsung’s 2017 UHD TVs, including its premium QLED TV lineup, support HDR10+. In the second half of this year, Samsung’s 2016 UHD TVs will gain HDR10+ support through a firmware update.”
The new format is a big deal because it brings the main advantage of the proprietary Dolby Vision format—dynamic metadata—to an open HDR ecosystem.
Although the press release does not specify when exactly Amazon plans to add the format, or what content will be available in HDR10+, the announcement notes it will be available worldwide sometime in 2017.
“Together with Samsung, we are excited to offer customers an enhanced viewing experience on a broad range of devices,” said Greg Hart, VP of Amazon Video, worldwide. “At Amazon, we are constantly innovating on behalf of customers and are thrilled to be the first streaming service provider to work with Samsung to make HDR10+ available on Prime Video globally later this year.”
Interestingly, Amazon and Samsung were the first to bring HDR to market, using the HDR10 standard that is the most popular HDR format. So, it’s fitting that the two companies teamed up again for this launch.
With dynamic metadata, the fidelity of HDR content will better reflect the creative intent of the director. That’s because dynamic metadata makes it possible to adjust brightness levels scene-by-scene and even frame-by-frame. The result is a better viewing experience that takes full advantage of an HDR TV’s capabilities.
“As an advanced HDR10 technology, HDR10+ offers an unparalleled HDR viewing experience — vivid picture, better contrast and accurate colors — that brings HDR video to life,” said Kyoungwon Lim, VP of Visual Display Division at Samsung Electronics. “We’re excited to work with world-class industry partners, including Amazon Video, to bring more amazing HDR content directly to our 2017 UHD TVs, including our QLED TV lineup.”
It’ll be interesting to see how the battle between HDR10+ and Dolby Vision plays out. One major thing HDR10+ has going for it is cost—it’s open-source whereas using Dolby Vision entails licensing fees. If it mitigates issues that created an image quality gap between Dolby Vision and plain HDR10, will studios and TV makers still want to pay Dolby for its flavor of premium HDR?
One thing is for sure, HDR is taking off. Is a format war brewing? Or is there room for both HDR10+ and Dolby Vision?
You can read the original press release by clicking here.