Over the past several years, I’ve become a bit disenchanted with the video side of our industry. Between 3D and curved televisions, everything felt like a gimmick. More recently, I’ve started to regain some pride around Audio Advice being associated with video.
When 4K arrived, I was ecstatic. Finally, something that actually made for a better picture! In my book the picture is what matters. I was worried the next innovation would be another gimmick, but lo and behold, HDR is next, and boy is it a leap forward. Hurray!
What is HDR (High Dynamic Range)?
Pull out your smartphone — you probably have it! HDR stands for high dynamic range. It is about the ratio of light to dark in an image. Have you ever pointed your camera at an object and had a brightly lit window in the background? If you have, you know that this great difference in light just totally freaks out a camera resulting in an image that is overexposed in some areas and underexposed in others. HDR offers a huge step up in dynamic range.
Can You Tell the Difference?
I got to see a demo of HDR in the Sony booth at CEDIA in October 2015. While I think they probably had the non HDR set, shall we say, “not perfectly fine tuned,” the difference was staggering! The thing that struck me was how much more three dimensional the image appeared to be — and no glasses required!
The huge spectrum of colors and the difference between light and dark that our eyes can detect is far more than any video system is able to reproduce. HDR moves the video industry one more giant step closer to what the human eye can do.
As with most tech in our space, the product comes out before the content. Amazon, Netflix, Vudu and many movie studios are already planning to release HDR content, though it’s not clear when. Even HDR Bluray players are on the slate from some vendors.
Sony has several sets with HDR and it’s also included on their new 650 and 5000ES front projectors. I can’t wait until it goes mainstream. Better video imagery for all!