Samsung and Amazon have today introduced an update to the open HDR10 format. With HDR10+ video can be encoded with dynamic metadata to improve picture quality – much like Dolby Vision.
From HDR10 to HDR10+
Unlike Sony and LG, Samsung has refused to partner with Dolby to implement the Dolby Vision format in its TVs. The company believes that the industry needs an open and royalty-free HDR standard.
HDR10+ is an extension of the open HDR10 standard. HDR10+ ”leverages dynamic metadata to produce enhanced contrast and colors on an expanded range of televisions”. With dynamic metadata the content can announce to the TV how to best reproduce the movie on a scene-by-scene or even frame-by-frame basis.
If that sounds familiar it is because dynamic metadata is one of the key advantages of the Dolby Vision HDR format that Samsung is specifically targeting. And with the introduction of HDR10+ we think it is safe to assume that Samsung will continue to resist Dolby Vision.
- “For example, when a movie’s overall color scheme is very bright but has a few scenes filmed in relatively dim lighting, those scenes will appear significantly darker than what was originally envisioned by the director,” the company said. “HDR10+ incorporates dynamic metadata that allows a high dynamic range (HDR) TV to adjust brightness levels on a scene-by-scene or even frame-by-frame basis.”
Samsung says that all of its 2017 UHD TVs support HDR10+. In the second half of the year, the 2016 TVs will also receive support via a firmware update.
Samsung has told FlatpanelsHD in the past that it believes it may even be possible to update some existing disc players in the market with HDR10+ but no further information has been provided to us since the comments at CES 2017.
Content from Amazon
HDR10+ will go nowhere without content so Samsung has partnered with Amazon to make select TV series and movies available in the updated format.
- “Together with Samsung, we are excited to offer customers an enhanced viewing experience on a broad range of devices,” said Greg Hart, Vice President of Amazon Video, worldwide. “At Amazon, we are constantly innovating on behalf of customers and are thrilled to be the first streaming service provider to work with Samsung to make HDR10+ available on Prime Video globally later this year.”
Amazon Video ”is the first streaming service provider to begin development of the standard for its audiences”. It is not clear exactly when the content will be made available, only that it will arrive "later this year". Samsung has also partnered with company Colorfront to incorporate HDR10+ in studios’ workflows and with company MulticoreWare to include it into the HEVC codec.
No other TV manufacturers have announced support for HDR10+ at this point but all manufacturers incorporate support for HDR10. Dolby Vision is, or will be, supported on TVs from LG, Sony, TCL, and others.
Samsung is now facing an uphill battle in convincing the entire ecosystem to switch to HDR10+. HDR is an end-to-end system so besides convincing its competitors, Samsung will have to also convince studios and content creators in general as well as distributors.