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20th Century (Fox) seemingly abandoning HDR10+ in favor of Dolby Vision

20 Apr 2020 | Rasmus Larsen |

20th Century Fox (now 20th Century Studios), a founding member of the HDR10+ alliance, is seemingly abandoning the HDR10+ format in favor of Dolby Vision after Disney acquired the film studio.

Another blow dealt to HDR10+

In 2017, 20th Century Fox, Samsung and Panasonic formed the HDR10+ alliance as a front against Dolby's competing HDR format, Dolby Vision, which all other major Hollywood studios backed. The two formats are seen as 'premium HDR', a step up from the baseline, universally supported HDR10 format. In 2018, Panasonic changed its stance by introducing the first UHD Blu-ray player with support for both HDR10+ and Dolby Vision, followed by the first TVs with HDR10+ and Dolby Vision in 2019. In 2019, 20th Century Fox released its first movie in Dolby Vision (besides HDR10+), Alita Battle Angel, but many saw it as an outlier due to producer James Cameron's wishes. Now that Disney has taken full control of the iconic studio and rebranded it from 20th Century Fox to 20th Century Studios, it has seemingly also set in motion a transition away from HDR10+ to Dolby Vision. Here are the most recent developments:
  • Ad Astra - a 20th Century Fox title - was released in late-2019 in 4K Dolby Vision and Atmos.
  • Spies in Disguise - a 20th Century Fox Animation title - was released mid-March 2020 in 4K Dolby Vision and Atmos.
  • Ford v Ferrari - a 20th Century Fox title - was released in February 2020 in 4K Dolby Vision and Atmos.
  • Underwater - the last movie to be released under 20th Century Fox - was released this week in 4K Dolby Vision.
  • The Call of the Wild - the first movie to be released under 20th Century Studios - was released early due to the coronavirus in 4K Dolby Vision and Atmos.
  • Downhill - the first movie to be released under Searchlight Pictures (formerly Fox Searchlight Pictures) - was released early due to the coronavirus in 4K Dolby Vision.
  • Wendy - another Searchlight Pictures title - was released earlier this week in 4K Dolby Vision and Atmos.
All examples above are based on the digital release. Only a few of these titles have been released on UHD Blu-ray, and in all cases in HDR10 – not HDR10+. Also read: Full list: 4K HDR (Dolby Vision) & Dolby Atmos movies on iTunes

Call of the Wild in 4K Dolby Vision and Atmos 'The Call of the Wild' in 4K Dolby Vision and Atmos on Apple TV (iTunes)

Can HDR10+ survive this?

This is perhaps not too surprising considering that Disney has been a supporter of Dolby's Vision+Atmos initiative and that Disney immediately after the acquisition of 21st Century Fox ousted a couple of key figures, including executives responsible for Fox's decision to ditch Dolby Vision in favor of HDR10+. Regardless, it is bad news for HDR10+ as a format. Only Samsung is sticking to HDR10+ exclusively. Disney tends not to comment on such matters publicly but the recent developments probably speak for themselves. There are on the other hand a couple of recent developments that appear to stregthen HDR10+. Warner Bros and Universal have released their first UHD Blu-ray discs in HDR10+ (in addition to Dolby Vision) while Google Play Movies is planning to offer 4K movies in HDR10+ later this year. However, both studios continue to release the majority of their movies in Dolby Vision and Google is rumored to also be preparing support for Dolby Vision.



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