Or why LG needs DV more than Samsung By Ng Chong Seng
At this year’s CES, LG announced that its 2017 OLED TVs will support no less than four HDR formats: HDR10, Dolby Vision (DV), Hybrid Log-Gamma (HLG), and, pending a firmware update, Technicolor’s Advanced HDR. What, four competing HDR standards? Well, yes and no. For UHD Blu-rays and 4K HDR streaming content, the leading format today is HDR10, followed by DV at quite a distance away.
While HLG and Advanced HDR can also be seen as competing standards, they’re currently viewed more as distribution systems, focused with getting HDR to play nice with TV transmissions and SDR displays, than legitimate threats. LG’s eagerness to support every HDR flavour is interesting, but I’m more amused by how DV is now more associated with OLED than LCD TVs. You see one big advantage DV has over HDR10 is its brightness potential (4,000 nits vs. 1,000 nits).
With Samsung’s best LCDs now capable of 2,000 nits, it seems bizarre that it’s LG instead who’s trumpeting Dolby’s HDR format on its 800-ish nits OLEDs. Or maybe not. Because a Dolby Vision display is smart enough to map the content to best fit within the display’s capabilities, DV HDR content has the potential to look better (e.g., more details) than HDR10 content on the same OLED display. LG basically needs DV to stay in the HDR race.
On the other hand, with HDR10 looking just as good as DV on its premium LED-LCD TVs (and most likely, better than HDR10 on OLEDs), it’s then easy to understand why Samsung has gone the more pragmatic route of improving brightness and colour volume than to cosy up to Dolby.
What TV makers were up to at CES 2017
LG still makes LCD TVs, but most of the excitement is around its new OLED line-up. That includes the Signature W7, an OLED TV so thin that the only sensible way to mount it is on the wall.
Samsung’s QLED TVs, which use a metal-coated quantum dot material to vastly improve DCI-P3 coverage and colour volume, can now hit 2,000 nits for an even more realistic HDR picture.
LCD Bravias made it to CES, but Sony’s real surprise is the A1E, a 4K OLED TV that supports Dolby Vision. The entire OLED panel is a speaker and the stand-less design effectively portrays the one-giant-canvas look.
At its CES debut, Xiaomi unveiled the 4.9mm-thin Mi TV 4 and its accompanying 10-speaker Mi TV Bar. Pair it with a subwoofer plus two rear satellite speakers and you now have a Dolby Atmos home theater.
An upward trend
for Dolby Atmos
For the uninitiated, Dolby Atmos
is an audio format that adds
a ‘height’ layer to your typical
surround sound experience. This
complements the familiar 5.1- and
7.1-channel setup, since a user
can simply add appropriate ‘height’
speakers to achieve the intended effect.
An alternative is to get Dolby Atmosenabled
sound bars, where the bar
has both upward-firing drivers and
front-firing drivers with Dolby Atmos
included. The room’s ceiling will
reflect audio downwards, emulating
the ceiling-mounted ‘height’ speakers.
2016 didn’t have that many Dolby
Atmos sound bars to choose from, but
that changed at CES 2017.
LG’s first Dolby Atmos sound bar uses 128 audio tracks to create that 3D sound, and it comes with support for “4K Sound” rated at 24-bit x 96kHz x 2 channels. It also has the ability to play lossless files, and up-sample bitrate of audio tracks to 24-bit/192Hz.
Sony’s new flagship 800W sound bar has 12 full-range speakers that uses 7.1.2-channel configuration (normal 7.1 with two upward-facing speakers for Dolby Atmos). Its three HDMI HDCP 2.2 ports support audio sources from 4K and HDR content, and it’s multi-talented with NFC and Wi-Fi features.HWM