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CES 2014: Dolby Vision promises a brighter future for TV, Netflix and Xbox Video on board

Dolby has officially revealed Vision, an image enhancement technology it hopes will become synonymous with picture quality

Dolby has officially named its ultra-bright picture enhancement technology, which it hopes will turn consumers away from a resolution arms race and concentrate on picture quality. Dolby Vision is an entirely new way of handling video, from mastering to final playback, which significantly increases the brightness that we’re used to seeing on traditional TVs.

According to the company, existing TV and cinema colour-grading standards are based on limitations imposed by old technology. Despite current TVs being able to display brighter pictures and more colours, video content is still being altered to reduce the colour range, brightness and contrast before it gets transmitted for playback.

Dolby Vision will solve this with a combination of hardware and new colour grading standards, which should give film makers the ability to use the full gamut of colors, peak brightness, and local contrast.

Dolby Vision demo

To do so, Dolby has turned up the brightness on its prototype displays – from a mere 100 nit as you’d find on the average TV to a whopping 4,000 nit. Apparently prototype hardware will be on the CES show floor this week, where we’ll hopefully get our first look at the brightness Vision is capable of, but it should technically be possible for off-the-shelf TVs to support Vision signals without needing a significantly brighter backlight.

Hardware is only half the story, however; the video content itself needs to be colour graded specifically for these high-brightness displays. Blu-ray discs are theoretically able to contain the extra colour information, but for the time being it will be limited to online streaming services. Dolby has confirmed that Amazon, Netflix and Xbox Video will include Vision in the future, but a lack of supported content could hold back adoption – particularly if the sets themselves cost more than the competition.

So far, Dolby has confirmed Sharp and TCL are on board to produce Vision-ready TVs. These first sets should be available in the Autumn, but likely only in the US – we’ll have to wait until Dolby reveals more information at CES this week to find out if Vision will be coming to the UK.

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