Samsung, Panasonic, and 20th Century Fox announced today that they are forming a new partnership to create a certification and logo program for HDR10+, an updated version of HDR10 with dynamic metadata. The new organization will license the technology to content creators and manufacturers of TVs, UHD Blu-ray players, and set-top boxes as well as SoC (system-on-chip) vendors. The license will be royalty-free with only a nominal administrative fee.

High dynamic-range (HDR) video depends on metadata to operate correctly on TVs with different capabilities. The metadata includes the peak and average brightness of the display on which the content was finalized, and consumer TVs use that information to "tone map" the signal to the TV's particular capabilities. The current HDR10 format uses static metadata, which specifies the mastering monitor's peak and average brightness over the entire program, be it a movie, TV show, or other content. By contrast, Dolby Vision and HDR10+ use dynamic metadata, which specifies the peak and average brightness for each scene or even each frame. The result is a better HDR image on a variety of displays.

"As leaders in home entertainment content and hardware, the three companies are ideal partners for bringing HDR10+ into the homes of consumers everywhere," says Jongsuk Chu, Senior Vice President of the Visual Display Business at Samsung Electronics. "We are committed to making the latest technology available in our TVs and are confident that HDR10+ will deliver premium quality content and enhance the way you experience television programs and movies in the home."

"HDR10+ is a technological step forward that optimizes picture quality for next generation displays," says Danny Kaye, Executive Vice President at 20th Century Fox and Managing Director of the Fox Innovation Lab. "HDR10+ provides dynamic metadata, which precisely describes every scene to deliver unprecedented picture quality. Working in partnership with Panasonic and Samsung through the Fox Innovation Lab, we are able to bring new platforms like HDR10+ to the market that more accurately realize the vision of our filmmakers beyond the theater."

"Panasonic has a long history of working with industry leaders to develop lasting technical formats. We are delighted to work together with 20th Century Fox and Samsung to develop a new HDR format, which will bring consumers so many benefits," says Yuki Kusumi, Executive Officer at Panasonic. "By offering considerable HDR picture quality improvements across a wider range of TVs while accelerating the amount of premium HDR content available, we expect HDR10+ to quickly become the de facto HDR format."

If more studios and manufacturers support HDR10+, it could become a viable alternative to Dolby Vision. And unlike DV, HDR10+ is royalty-free, which could speed its adoption. However, I don't know if HDR10+ can be implemented in current products with a firmware update. If it requires new hardware, that could slow things down considerably.

Also, the UHD Blu-ray specification does not include HDR10+, only HDR10, Dolby Vision, and Technicolor HDR. Will it be possible to include HDR10+ on UHD Blu-ray discs? After all, it's only an extension of HDR10, albeit with a lot more data. It might require an addendum to the spec, or it might not. Of course, HDR10+ could be used with streaming content immediately—as long as consumers have equipment that can decode it properly.

The three companies will announce more details about the licensing program at CES 2018.