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HDR delivers a better picture to TVs

IDG News Service | Sep 7, 2015

There's a new technology appearing in televisions: HDR; and it will bring a better picture -- when the content is available.

HDR. If you need a new TV, you should know these three letters

Every year TV makers throw something new at us. We’ve had bigger screens, thinner screens, 3D images, 4K with more pixels, curved TVs. This year it’s less about the TV set and more about the picture with a technology called HDR, or high dynamic range.

Simply put, HDR means a wider range of colors so pictures appear more lifelike.

Side-by-side comparisons like this show off the difference to great effect. I’m not entirely convinced the TV on the right is set up as best as it could be, but the difference is big and the HDR image is indeed wonderful.

You can’t really appreciate it because we’re not shooting this in HDR, and that’s an important point to understand. It’s not just a TV set technology.

“HDR is all about the video signal that comes into the TV. So first of all, the video signal has to contain that extra information. Previously TVs have been able to upscale those areas and guess, if you like, but now, no, the video signal contains that extra information, that extra dynamic range information and the TV is able to read that.”

“Where is that extra information coming from? I guess, it that being captured when something is being shot?”

“Yeah, so you get companies that we’re working closely with like Amazon for example, who are filming content with that extra information and then that gets delivered straight to the TV via their streaming service. We’re also working closely with Netflix.”

Unfortunately, TV broadcasters haven’t agreed on a standard way of sending HDR data, but they’re working on it.

Here at IFA, all of the big TV makers, Samsung, Sony, Panasonic and LG, are showing HDR sets that will be on sale this year. Sony will also be offering a software upgrade for most of its 4K TVs.

So, the technology is coming but like 4K video, it might be a few years before it becomes commonplace.