Think your high-def 4K, Blu-ray-whatever TV screen is amazing? Dolby thinks it can be better.
Though Dolby is best known for exceptional sound technology like Dolby Atmos, the company hosted an "At the Labs" press event December 5 to show off its latest and greatest offerings on the screen side of things.
Currently in the conceptual phase, Dolby is attempting to create a super TV – one which can display 4,000-nits (a nit being a measurement of brightness) compared to the standard 100-nits televisions usually display.
TechRadar was shown a prototype of the aforementioned 4,000-nit screen, nicknamed the "Dolby Pulsar," in a side-by-side comparison with a 100-nit, 1080p HD screen. The results were indeed impressive.
Though both had the same resolution, the Pulsar screen was noticeably better with brighter colors due to the higher dynamic range and contrast sensitivity – clouds were whiter, metallics shinier, the sun actually makes you squint, etc., without looking like a cartooned, Instagrammed world.
It’s all about the nits
The inclusion of 4,000 nits grants filmmakers in the post-production process the ability to use more realistic coloring.
Pat Griffis, Dolby’s executive director of technology strategy, gave the example of recreating the bright red of a London bus; with only 100 nits to work with, the post-production team must make creative choices to evenly distribute the right amount of nits across the screen, meaning the red bus won’t look as real in the rendering.
It seems like it might be a while before the more vibrant 4,000-nit set hits the shelves – the prototype currently requires four times the amount of LEDs for the backlighting in addition to a liquid cooled system. However, the imaging tech can be distributed to various types of displays, thereby actually improving the screen resolution because of the higher contrast sensitivity and range.
Prototypes of Dolby’s screen will probably pop up during CES 2014, and possibly consumer products to be ogled at as well.
Don’t forget about glasses-free 3D
Dolby and Philips have had a year-long partnership with the goal of creating better glasses-free 3D screens, and the joint venture seems to be paying off.
The concept of glasses-free 3D TV has been kicked about for awhile now with different TVs and prototypes making appearances here and there but there’s been little fanfare on the market since many believe 3D to be a passing phase and generally dead in the water.
But the newest version of the companies’ glasses-free 3D tech that was demoed during the event shows Dolby is still intent on releasing consumer versions of the TVs.
There are definite improvements in viewership sweet spots – you can move about the room in front of the set and still see the 3D effects thanks to the Dolby’s focus on depth enhancements, ensuring that the content won’t be distorted on various screen sizes.
Dolby has stated that glasses-free 3D TV sets will go on market next year, right before the holiday season. Pricing is still up in the air, though a Dolby rep noted that the company’s goal is to set the price point in the 4K TV-price range.
Five OEM TV screens will be on display during CES 2014 to get everyone excited, plus an undisclosed set of glasses-free 3D PC monitors as well.
- Read about how Ray Dolby changed the world of sound.