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Samsung adds HDR "upscaling" to its 2016 TVs

27 Jul 2016 | Rasmus Larsen |

With a new "HDR+" function Samsung TVs will be capable of upscaling regular content to HDR (high dynamic range), the company today announced. The feature will be added to 2016 TVs through a firmware update.

Upscale SDR to HDR

When a movie studio wants to restore - or remaster - any given title, the director typically has to be brought in to approve or participate in the process. This also covers any changes to the visual representation of the movie.

TV manufacturers often take the matter into own hands and through various processes aim to enhance the picture. Samsung believes that the same process can be applied to HDR.

Samsung HDR+

That is why the company is now introducing its new “HDR+” function that can upscale regular content to HDR (high dynamic range) by enhancing colors and contrast.

- “One of the biggest benefits of HDR+ is its ability to upgrade Standard Dynamic Range (SDR) content to HDR-like picture quality, allowing viewers to enjoy all of their favorite content in the highest picture quality possible," explains Samsung.

The new feature will also work with content that is already mastered in HDR, Samsung added.

- "With HDR native contents, HDR+ also uncovers previously hidden images from darker content scenes, supplementing the level of brightness to express objects hidden in darker shadows. For brighter content scenes, HDR+ increases the level of contrast ratio to differentiate objects from the background, while still depicting more image details on the screen for an overall better picture."

Technically the new feature works by employing algorithms to analyze the video signal in real time. Based on this it arrives at an educated guess for how contrast, colors, and details can be enhanced or changed.

Hollywood completely refrains from applying similar enhancements when showing its content. For example, through the Digital Cinema Initiative (DCI) the movie industry has implemented guidelines for how its content should look. Cinema projectors follow these guidelines but TV manufacturers do not.

HDR calibration settings

In the same firmware update Samsung will also implement more flexible picture setting options for HDR. Normally TVs lock most settings when a HDR signal is detected.

Samsung HDR+

Samsung says that "Picture – Special viewing" under "Expert Mode" will allow the user to adjust HDR picture settings. However, you also need to have HDR+ activated.

The HDR+ function will be added through a firmware update. The update is available now for the 2016 SUHD TVs and will be released for 2016 UHD TVs in September.

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