Samsung and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment have announced plans to bring a "wide selection of new release and catalog fare" to market in HDR10+ format. But is HDR10+ building momentum or actually falling apart?
Universal joins HDR10+ initiative
Universal has been mastering movies in Dolby Vision HDR for some time. We are counting a total of 34 Dolby Vision titles, based on our iTunes 4K HDR list. That is likely to continue but in the future Universal will add HDR10+, Samsung's alternative to Dolby Vision, to its portfolio.
Samsung and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment announced the plans in a press release saying that they will collaborate to "bring to market titles mastered with HDR10+".
- We are delighted to team with Samsung Electronics on HDR10+ to deliver this striking, cutting-edge technology to entertainment consumers, providing them opportunity to enjoy unparalleled, state-of-the-art movie-watching experiences across an array of Universal physical and digital titles, said Michael Bonner, EVP, Digital Distribution, Universal Pictures Home Entertainment (UPHE).
While Universal did not announce specific titles, the company did say that its plans cover "a wide selection of new release and catalog fare with HDR10+ technology, providing consumers with the best-possible home entertainment viewing experience on a variety of displays". Movies will be released in HDR10+ format on UHD Blu-ray and online.
Building momentum or falling apart?
Besides Universal, 20th Century Fox and Warner Bros as well as Amazon have released or announced plans to release content in HDR10+ but it is still difficult to find content in the format.
20th Century Fox is a founding member of the HDR10+ alliance together with Samsung and Panasonic, and the studio committed to releasing titles in HDR10+. Almost two years after joining the alliance, Fox has released only a few titles, which does not bode well for its commitment.
It remains to be seen whether Fox will continue to support HDR10+ after having been swallowed whole by Disney who backs Dolby Vision and who ousted both Fox's chief technology officer and president of product strategy as well as the leader of Fox Innovation Lab immediately after closing the acquisition, according to a report.
As for Warner Bros, the studio said in December 2018 that it "has created over seventy HDR10+ compatible titles so far and plans to have over 100 titles available for digital distribution in HDR10+ by early next year". We are past early 2019 and it is not the first time that Warner Bros has had to postpone its release plans for HDR10+ content.
Panasonic, another founding member of the alliance, will support Dolby Vision in most of its 2019 TV models. TP Vision, an early backer of HDR10+, will also be adding Dolby Vision support to its new Philips TVs in Europe. On the other hand Samsung is holding its ground, while TCL and Hisense recently joined the initiative.
At this point, it is hard to say whether HDR10+ is building momentum or actually falling apart. Dolby has a substantial head start with more than 420 Dolby Vision movies in circulation.
Nevertheless, here we are. Universal has joined the HDR10+ movement.