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If you’ve recently purchased a new television (or are considering one soon), then you’re probably aware of a technology called high dynamic range (HDR). HDR is one of the more important video innovations in recent years, far outpacing all of those extra pixels delivered by 4K panels. In essence, HDR allows capable TVs to produce much richer content, higher levels of brightness, more vivid colors, and better detail in the brighter and darker portions of an image.

There’s currently a decent amount of streaming and disc-based HDR content available, and when HDR is done right the results are phenomenal. As proof, I offer you a little experiment I've performed over the past month, challenging eyes of the stingiest “I can’t tell the difference” non-techie friends and family members in my life. The results aren't too surprising: resounding admissions of “wow, that’s amazing!” If you've ever tried to impress a non-enthusiast only to be met with a lackluster response, then you'll recognize that the results of my informal study carry some decent weight.

HDR really is that special.

There are currently four HDR formats (HDR-10, Dolby Vision, HLG, and Advanced HDR). Up to this point, enthusiasts in the United States have primarily been exposed to HDR-10. It’s an “open” standard designed to combat Dolby’s standard, offering 10-bit color and a peak brightness of 1,000 nits. Both HLG and Advanced HDR are newer standards that are designed to work with broadcast television, and will most likely play nicely with TVs that can support HDR-10 (assuming manufacturers issue supportive firmware updates). Then there’s Dolby Vision, which is primed to be the market leader in performance capabilities.

Dolby Vision content directly competes with HDR-10, offering 12-bit color and 10,000 nit performance (color and brightness parameters that are significantly more potent). To make use of Dolby Vision, users need televisions and Blu-ray players with onboard Dolby Vision hardware. The number of TV manufacturers jumping on the Dolby Vision train is growing, and we currently have several 4K UHD Blu-ray player options (including the recently reviewed OPPO UDP-203) that ship with the appropriate onboard hardware. So, the equipment is available, now we just need content.

Last year, a few On Demand streaming services began streaming Dolby Vision laced content (currently 80 titles are available), but disc content remained non-existent.

That is about to change.

Dolby recently announced a partnership with Lionsgate, Universal Pictures Home Entertainment, and Warner Bros Home Entertainment to release Dolby Vision enabled content on Ultra HD Blu-ray beginning in early 2017.

"Commitment from Lionsgate, Universal Pictures Home Entertainment, and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment for Dolby Vision Ultra HD Blu-ray content is a major milestone for expanded choice and accessibility for consumers," said Curt Behlmer, Senior Vice President, Content Solutions and Industry Relations, Dolby Laboratories. "With Ultra HD Blu-ray, we are able to scale faster to meet the growing demand for Dolby Vision content globally."

Not to knock streaming (because, frankly, the streaming 4K/HDR content I’ve seen has been exceedingly impressive), but the arrival of Dolby Vision on disc is a big deal for hardcore enthusiasts; the videophile world is about to see the best of what modern 4K HDR televisions can offer.

The first Dolby Vision disc titles are due to hit store shelves during "early" 2017.

Image Credit: Dolby

154 Posts
And Sony Pictures seems to support Dolby Vision as well on future 4K Blu-ray releases:
http://www.blu-ray.com/news/?id=17574 (September 14, 2015) → That was a long time ago announced.

"Dolby Laboratories, Inc. (NYSE: DLB) and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (SPHE) have announced plans to use the new Dolby Vision mastering process for the release of 4K Blu-ray titles by a variety of home entertainment distribution partners, delivering high-dynamic-range (HDR) imaging with a wider range of contrast and more vibrant colors. The availability of SPHE titles in Dolby Vision for home entertainment platforms marks a revolutionary step forward for enthusiasts and content channels worldwide."

And Disney might join in @ the end of 2017, if:

"In terms of Dolby Vision, the format did get a boost today in an announcement from Warner, Universal, and Lionsgate, which all committed to adding Dolby Vision HDR to their forthcoming 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray titles. So that’s something. (They should start arriving in stores in late Spring or early Summer).

Interestingly, neither the Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA) or the UHD Alliance (UHDA) is holding an official press conference this year at CES (just private meetings), so it’s up in the air whether or not we’ll get a Disney 4K support announcement at the show. We do know that just over 2 million 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray movie discs were sold in 2016 (that’s tentative from the UHD Alliance – we expect specific numbers soon).

However, on the subject of Disney, our sources tell that the studio is tentatively planning to begin releasing titles on the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray format by the end of 2017, but they’re in no rush for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that they’d like to see more Dolby Vision support across the CE industry. Walt Disney Studios and Dolby Laboratories have a close relationship and the studio has released a number of their big recent theatrical titles in Dolby Vision (including Doctor Strange, Moana, and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story). They have several more such films set for theatrical release this year (including Beauty and the Beast, Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2, and Cars 3)."


The more Hollywood movie studios the more merry round D Vision on 4K Blu-ray movies.

Next; Fox and Paramount? Who has a crystal ball in his bedroom's closet? :)

Anyway, imagine...Disney PIXAR animated films on 4K Blu-ray with Dolby Vision encoded. That'll be a brand new shiny day.
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