Samsung has revealed its alternative to Dolby Vision for gaming. A new HDR10+ Gaming extension, which will launch in 2022, supports VRR, HDR auto-calibration, and low latency tone-mapping.
At the Samsung Developer Conference 2021, Samsung announced and detailed its plans to optimize the HDR10+ format for gaming on consoles and in the cloud (streaming).
- "Today, Samsung is introducing a new HDR10+ extension for video gaming," announced Bonggil Bak, Principal Engineer for SW R&D Group, Samsung Electronics.
The new HDR10+ Gaming extension will be built on three pillars:
VRR (Variable Refresh Rates)
Automated HDR Calibration
Low Latency Source Tone Mappings
HDR10+ for gaming. Source: SDC21
HDR10+ with VRR
The company explained that HDR10+ for gaming will support VRR (Variable Refresh Rate) up to 120Hz. The first TVs and displays to support HDR10+ Gaming will launch in 2022.
- "And this feature (VRR) is available from select HDR10+ gaming TVs and displays next year up to 120Hz," said Bonggil Bak.
It is not clear if any current HDR10+ compatible TVs can be updated to support HDR10+ Gaming. You can see which TV brands (and models) currently support HDR10+ in the TV Database.
HDR10+ Gaming will support variable refresh rate. Source: SDC21
Automated HDR calibration
As for Automated HDR Calibration, FlatpanelsHD believes that this feature is based on HGiG (HDR Gaming Interest Group) of which Samsung is an official member.
- "During the handshaking, a display provides its panel properties to the game's HDR10+ processing block. On receiving the physical attributes from the display the game automatically performs its HDR10+ video output optimization for the given display without the user having to do it manually," explained Bonggil Bak. "This process is not only convenient but also very effectively preserves the original creative intent of the game creators."
Sony is also currently rolling out HGiG support on its TVs – and soon PlayStation 5.
HDR10+ will most likely use HGiG for its automated HDR calibration. Source: SDC21
Low Latency Source Tone Mapping
The last HDR10+ Gaming feature is Low Latency Source Tone Mapping, which is an effort to ensure that the tone-mapping process for HDR10+ does not add any extra latency to the gaming signal.
- "One of the goals when we designed the HDR10+ Gaming extension was to make the extra latency zero, so both for the cloud scenarios and local game machine scenarios we separately developed zero latency architectures for our HDR10+ Gaming tone-mapping processes."
HDR10+ Gaming's source tone-mapping will have zero latency, says Samsung. Source: SDC21
Alternative to Dolby Vision
Samsung's HDR10+ Gaming extension is an alternative to Dolby Vision, which was recently extended to support gaming. Microsoft Xbox is the first partner to offer games in Dolby Vision.
What Samsung did not address is how it is planning to make HDR10+ Gaming relevant. The first compatible TVs will arrive next year but what about the content? And what about game console support? Will HDR10+ Gaming be supported on PlayStation or Xbox? It seems unlikely. Sony has resisted HDR10+ since its inception and Microsoft has just enabled Dolby Vision gaming on Xbox Series S/X.
Perhaps Samsung will be focusing on cloud gaming. You may recall that the South Korean company earlier this week announced that it is developing a new cloud gaming platform for Smart TVs. Samsung could also approach Google, Nvidia, and others.
An estimated 2.8 billion people across the world played video games in 2020, and the figure is expected to grow significantly in the years to come, so the potential is clear. We expect to hear more about HDR10+ Gaming at CES 2022 in January.