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Sony responds to Dolby Vision controversy

22 Jan 2018 | Rasmus Larsen |

Last week, Sony released the long-awaited Dolby Vision update but it did not work via HDMI. The company explains that Dolby Vision-capable playback devices connected via HDMI to Sony’s TVs must be updated.

More updates required

Last week, Sony finally started rolling out the Dolby Vision update to its A1 OLED, X93E, X94E, and Z9D models in the US. The same update will roll out in Europe next month.

However, while the update works as expected via streaming apps (Netflix), it does not work via HDMI sources such as Apple TV 4K or UHD Blu-ray players. After waiting for almost a year for the update to arrive, owners are frustrated and disappointed. We have pressed Sony for an answer since the update was released last week and received the following statement from Sony Europe today:

- “Select Sony TVs will support Dolby Vision with the software update to be rolled out in Europe within February, 2018. After the Sony TV receives the software update, devices with Dolby Vision playback (such streaming media players and UHD Blu-Ray players) that are connected to the Sony TV by HDMI will also require a software update to support Dolby Vision playback through the device. For more info on the timing of an update to a particular player, please contact the player’s manufacturer.”

If you are confused we can understand why. To date, Dolby Vision has required the TV to process the dynamic metadata, meaning that if the playback device outputs in Dolby Vision, your TV will accept the signal. However, Sony has implemented a new Dolby Vision profile that offloads much of the processing to the playback device, likely because the processor in Sony’s TVs lacks the capability or power.

Sony did not go into further details of the technical implements or explain why it has chosen this approach.

But there you have it. Your Dolby Vision playback device, meaning your UHD Blu-ray player or Apple TV 4K, will need a firmware update in order to be compatible with Sony’s TVs. Oppo has said that it will deliver but Apple and others have yet to comment on the matter. Sony will release its first Dolby Vision-capable UHD Blu-ray player this month but the update to enable Dolby Vision on the player will not arrive until “summer 2018”. We expect the X700 player to compatible with Sony’s TVs by then.

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