Industry Knowledge

What's 4K HDR Dolby Vision HDMI?

4K

Over the last year a 4K UHD (Ultra-high-definition) TV sets have become affordable for most people buying new or upgrading their old TV Sets.
Android TV Box manufactures have also made 4K UHD compatible Set Top Boxes for streaming in 4k Resolution.
Although 4K streaming has not really taken off as yet, we anticipate it is set to become a lot more popular in 2017-18.

 

HD = 720p (1280 x 720) - FHD = 1080p (1920x1080) - UHD = 4K (3840 x 2160)

HDR10 vs Dolby Vision

We are not going to go into this with any great detail because this is an Android Smart TV buying Guide, but we must mention a little about 4K TV sets to explain about HDR and Dolby Vision. You may not be aware of the format war between HDR10 (High Dynamic Range) and Dolby Vision with TV Manufacturers. Much like in the 80’s between VHS and Betamax no one knows which format will come out on top.

Most TV's will currently be 8 bit, (unless you have updated recently, and that does not mean if you have a 4K TV). What does 8 bit mean? It means the TV is capable of 256 shades of colour, for each of the three primary colours: 256 shades of red, 256 shades of green, and 256 shades of blue. So with our current TV system, it means there’s a possible 16.8 million colours (256x256x256=16,777,216). That may seem like a lot, but it’s actually not. The human eye can see way more.

 

HDR10

On August 27th 2015 the Consumer Technology Association announced the HDR10 Media Profile, more commonly known as HDR10,  it's a free open standard supported by a wide variety of companies, which includes TV manufacturers such as LG, Samsung, Sharp, Sony, and Vizio as well as Microsoft and Sony Entertainment (which support HDR10 on the PS4). HDR10 currently allows for a colour depth of up to 10-bits, (but its understood that it maybe upgraded to 12-bits at a later stage). This means more shades of colour: 1,024×1,024×1,024= 1,072,341,824. Yep, one billion colours. Potentially.

 

Dolby Vision

Owned by Dolby Laboratories, Dolby Vision is a competing HDR format that can be optionally supported on Ultra HD Blu-ray discs and streaming devices. Dolby Vision as a technology allows for a colour depth of up to 12-bits. Due to the incensing fee from Dolby Laboratories, Dolby Vision is only likely to be included in more expensive, top-end TV sets. So there is a small gamble as to whether or not Dolby Vision support really takes off.

HDMI versions 1.4, 2.0 & 2.0a

As data, images and particularly video keep increasing the data load they consume the difficulty in transporting them only grows.
After a jump last year to HDMI 2.0, the ever-evolving protocol has already evolved again to HDMI 2.0a for HDR 4K@50/60 (2160p), which is 4 times the clarity of 1080p/60 video resolution.
The latest move 2.0-2.0a is a baby step in comparison to the last jump from HDMI 1.4 to HDMI 2.0.
HDMI 2.0a one designed to accommodate HDR technology. Designed to vastly improve the contrast between light and dark images for a more realistic picture, HDR will be a highly touted feature in this year’s new 4K UHD TVs. 
The primary reason for the switch to HDMI 2.0 was that 4K Ultra HD televisions require much more bandwidth to realise their full potential. Since 4K Ultra HD is four times the resolution of 1080p, the former HD standard, it required more throughput to handle extra data going back and forth. HDMI 1.4 supported 4K resolutions, yes, but only at 24 or 30 frames per second. That works fine for movies, but isn’t useful for gaming and many TV broadcasts, which require 50 or 60 FPS. Also HDMI 1.4 limited 4K Ultra HD content to 8-bit colour. HDMI 2.0 fixed all of that because it could handle up to 18 gigabits per second — plenty enough to allow for 12-bit colour and video up to 60 frames per second.