- With the exception of the Sinclair Broadcast Group, there is limited high dynamic range content available on US broadcast stations today.
- Technicolor and Philips think it will be necessary for the entire industry to work together to streamline the integration of HDR technologies into their production and distribution processes.
- The key to ensuring broad adoption of HDR will hinge on elevating awareness of how this technology improves the viewing experience of consumers around the world.
READ MORE: NAB 2023: Ecosystem Optimization and Consumer Education Will Drive High Dynamic Range Adoption Through 2023 (Advanced HDR by Technicolor)
High dynamic range is rapidly becoming an “operational requirement” for broadcasters and streaming service providers, according to Rick Dumont, head of business development for HDR and Wireless at Philips.
“HDR is on track to achieve a critical mass of market penetration over the next few years,” said Dumont, in a podcast interview.
However, to continue the momentum HDR is enjoying the value chain responsible for bringing this enhanced viewing experience will have to expose more consumers to enhanced experiences by integrating this critical technology into current and emerging offerings.
“We tend to assume that consumers know what HDR is, but the reality is that many consumers need to understand the differences between high definition and high dynamic range. This is one of the biggest challenges the market faces today,” says Dumont. “We are reaching a critical mass of consumers with high-definition TVs equipped with HDR capabilities.
“The next step is ensuring that HDR content is made available and that consumers are aware of the significant improvements the entire industry is making to enhance the viewing experience. That will drive the second and third waves of consumer adoption.”
It’s not explained why this is the case. Perhaps with greater consumer awareness broadcasters and OTT services could sell HDR content/channels at a premium. According to Dumont, we are reaching a critical mass of consumers with high-definition TVs equipped with HDR capabilities.
HDR is being used as a service differentiator. Dumont points to the Sinclair Broadcast Group, which is delivering HDR content “all day, every day of the year” to more than 30 US markets through its affiliate stations.
This is the exception, though. Phillips has partnered with Technicolor and InterDigital on a HDR technology initiative and want to see more broadcasters and TV set makers license it.
Advanced HDR by Technicolor is a suite of high dynamic range production, distribution and display solutions that Dumont says is gaining rapid traction across the industry.
“Advanced HDR by Technicolor prioritized providing HDR content across the board,” he said. “No matter what type of screen and whether your original content is SDR, HDR or another format.”
The Advanced Television Systems Committee is integrating HDR — and specifically Advanced HDR by Technicolor — into ATSC 3.0.
On the viewing side, TV makers can enable the feature by having the System on a Chip (SoCs) already inside that embed the solution’s decoding technologies.
TV maker Hisense, for example, has done this. MediaTek and Realtek are among the SoC manufacturers embedding HDR capabilities into the next generation of TVs
Phillips and Technicolor also say they are working with streaming content providers to ensure episodic and feature film content are delivered in the standard.
“Regardless of the type of content — episodic, feature film, live sporting events, legacy content and even advertisement — Advanced HDR by Technicolor delivers consistent, high-quality images with brightness and contrast in high and low light scenes that is fully compatible with today’s TV and mobile device screens,” he said.
This is important because viewing experiences can be disrupted when the show you’re viewing is in HDR and an advertisement is presented in SDR.
Dumont also called on the industry to work together to enhance the availability of HDR programming by upconverting content developed in standard dynamic range (SDR).
“TV manufacturers are already doing their utmost to convert the content they receive in SDR to HDR,” he said. “This exposes consumers to an even broader spectrum of HDR experiences.
“The challenge on this front is to ensure that viewers receive consistent, high-quality experiences and that the creative intent of content producers is respected and transmitted to HDR devices.”
Given the current momentum, Dumont said he expects HDR to be fully available on half of screens worldwide within two years.