Is 4k Dolby Vision Better Than 4k HDR? Yes! We have got the answer! Let’s discuss it in detail in this article.
How do televisions cope with 4K?
As it’s impossible for a consumer television to display images using over four times more pixels than Full HD (the maximum resolution of Blu-ray), all modern TVs use sophisticated upscaling technology.
This essentially means taking a lower resolution image and ‘guessing’ how it should look when displayed on a 4K TV by filling in the gaps between existing pixels with information from multiple surrounding pixels to create one single pixel.
Is 4k Dolby Vision Better Than 4k HDR? (Read This First)
If you’re into TV and movies, you have likely already heard about the new standard in home video content: High Dynamic Range (HDR). This term refers to a set of standards that allow for brighter images, more intense colors, and a wider range between dark and bright areas on the screen.
The technology is experiencing a real boom at the moment, with all manufacturers from Samsung to Sony rushing their premium TVs onto the market. In addition to this new generation of televisions, there are now several original series produced in HDR as well as two devices that will play Ultra HD Blu-rays later this year.
However, this article is not about Ultra HD Blu-ray or HDR. We will be looking at the other standard that is becoming more and more relevant: Dolby Vision.
For those out of the loop, Dolby Vision is a competitor to HDR 10+, which was developed by industry consortium Digital Content Next (DCN) in association with Amazon, Disney, Fox, Warner Bros, and several other companies. Although it’s still relatively new on the market, both standards look very similar at first glance.
However, there are some major differences between these two formats that you should know about if you’re interested in buying a TV or streaming device capable of playing back this content in UHD resolution and high dynamic range.
What Is Dolby Vision?
Dolby Vision is a new form of High Dynamic Range (HDR) for TVs, with support on some new TVs from LG and Vizio. It uses the Rec 2020 color space, which is wider than the DCI-P3 color space used by HDR10 and standard dynamic range content.
This means it can reproduce much greater brightness levels (up to 10,000 cd/m2) whilst also improving detail in darker areas.
How do you get Dolby Vision?
Dolby Vision only comes built into/certified high-end 4K TVs. Currently, there are around 14 models announced or available, including; Vizio M Series Quantum Series, Sony X930E Samsung Q7C Sony A1 OLED LG UK6500 Both manufacturers and content producers need to work together for this format to become widely adopted.
Is it better than HDR10?
Yes and no! Dolby Vision is a superior HDR implementation (in theory) with brighter highlights and better detail in dark areas.
However, Dolby Vision is not backward compatible with current TVs without major modifications or additional hardware/software installed by the manufacturer which can introduce compatibility issues such as flickering, banding, and input lag.
Also, most manufacturers have modded their Dolby Vision implementation so that it is incompatible with most other brands of TV. This means if you want to watch DV content, you will either need to buy a DV-enabled TV or be limited to streaming DV content from Netflix and Vudu only.
When watching standard dynamic range content on a DV TV, the DV processing is automatically turned off, so you get to enjoy the best of both worlds.
Is it better than 4K HDR10?
No! HDR10 was developed by the UHD Alliance, which includes companies such as Disney, Fox, Panasonic, and Samsung. It uses the DCI-P3 color space to reproduce much greater brightness levels (up to 2 000 cd/m2) whilst also improving detail in darker areas.
And unlike Dolby Vision HDR, it is universally compatible with all current-generation TVs regardless of make or model. So what are my options if I want great picture quality but don’t want to buy a new TV? Here’s your answer:
Process your Xbox One S or Xbox One X in a way that generates HDR10, but also supports Dolby Vision if the TV does. This would mean you get all the benefits of both formats without any of the drawbacks.
I am aware that some TVs can process and display HDR10 and DV simultaneously on different inputs, however, this is only possible with HDMI 2.0a enabled ports which are rare on TVs, usually found on high-end models only.
And even then they generate a lot of input lag which for games is not ideal at all! In my opinion, this method makes much more sense because it solves all these issues while still producing an excellent picture.
If you are really lucky your TV manufacturer might release a firmware update to add DV support over HDMI. But don’t get your hopes up, I think this is very unlikely due to the fact that it would be incompatible with other brands’ devices.
For example, even though Samsung has announced that they plan to bring Dolby Vision to their 2018 QLED range of TVs via firmware update in early 2018, there’s no guarantee that Microsoft will ever release an Xbox One X compatible with these TVs.
These changes in technology can take years before they become mainstream enough for software developers like Xbox and tv manufacturers to adopt them so please do not buy new devices based on promises that they may support DV.
So let’s take a closer look at what makes these two HDR formats different – and how they affect the pictures you see on your TV.
Dolby Vision vs HDR 10+: What do they have in common?
Despite being competitors, both HDR standards are actually quite similar. They also share several key features that make them vastly different from the standard dynamic range (SDR). For example, both Dolby Vision and HDR 10+ support up to 4,000 nits of brightness – four times as many as SDR TVs can reproduce.
A nit is a unit of light intensity equal to one candela per square meter. So if two OLED screens covered in Dolby Vision or HDR 10+ panels are placed side by side, the screen with the higher peak brightness will appear brighter to viewers with normal vision.
Both formats use 12 bits per sample, allowing for over 68 billion colors. That is roughly twice as many as standard 8-bit SDR screens are capable of showing.
However, there are some limitations to this color depth since both HDR 10+, and Dolby Vision are currently limited to 10-bit panels. This means that 16 million shades of red, green, and blue will not be possible with either format – although the difference between these numbers should not really affect picture quality.
Both standards support BT 2020 color primaries for an even wider range of colors than either SDR or HDTVs can reproduce. While you will likely never see all the colors made available by new TV sets, they can display 99 percent of the DCI-P3 color space used in commercial cinemas.
Watch this video Is 4k Dolby Vision Better Than 4k HDR?
Dolby Vision vs HDR 10+: What is different?
So far both HDR standards look very similar, but there are major differences between them. The biggest difference is the way they are mastered. Unlike Dolby Vision, HDR 10+ cannot be created directly for UHD TVs because its pixel count (4K) exceeds the resolution of 8K encoder chipsets.
Therefore, content providers convert HDR 10+ to SDR before it’s encoded into a MPEG stream that can then be sent to compatible TVs using existing video formats like H.264 or HEVC (H.265).
This conversion makes HDR 10+ compatible with almost any existing TV or streaming device, but it also means that the final picture will be noticeably inferior to Dolby Vision.
However, Dolby Vision TVs are able to playback HDR 10+ content because the latter’s metadata is placed in the video stream itself. This was probably done to make sure that even older TVs (i.e. those without built-in decoders for either HDR format) can still display these videos in SDR using BT 2020 color primaries.
Unfortunately, this approach also makes playing native Dolby Vision content on non-certified UHD screens impossible due to DRM (digital rights management).
Another drawback of placing metadata inside an HDR 10+ stream is that some players may resort to converting the SDR BT 2020 images back into HDR before it’s displayed on the screen.
However, this will result in a picture that is not quite as good as native HDR since some of the metadata data might be lost during the conversion process.
Dolby Vision vs HDR 10+: How should you decide which format to get?
In theory, neither Dolby Vision nor HDR 10+ provides a visible advantage over its competitor when used with standard dynamic range TVs. Both formats can reproduce 1,000 nits of brightness and a wide color gamut while also supporting 4K resolution – so what really makes one better than the other?
The main difference between these standards lies in mastering and playback quality rather than any technical specifications. Content providers will always prefer to use the format that has the widest possible compatibility. Besides, they will likely favor Dolby Vision if their TVs support both standards since this allows them to maximize profits by selling the same video twice.
Even though HDR 10+ can be encoded directly into UHD TV signals, it still means an additional conversion is necessary, which may result in some loss of picture quality.
This being said, if you have a Dolby Vision compatible TV and no plans on upgrading it anytime soon – stick with Dolby Vision. Otherwise, you should go for HDR 10+.
If your TV supports neither standard, then there is little point in spending money on additional hardware as those TVs do not reproduce high dynamic range content at all.
So, the Xbox One S supports 4K HDR, so does it also support Dolby Vision? Read on to find out.
|Refers to screen resolution (the number of pixels a screen can fit).
|Stands for High Dynamic Range.
|Used synonymously with Ultra HD (UHD). Refers to the horizontal screen resolution of about 4,000 pixels.
|Wider color gamut and contrast range than Standard Dynamic Range (SDR).
|Requires UHD-compatible devices and components to avoid upscaling.
|Bright tones are made brighter without overexposing. Dark tones are made darker without underexposing.
What exactly is ‘True’ 4K or 8 million pixels?
The simplest way of thinking about this in basic terms is that a display with 4K resolution (or 3840 x 2160 pixels) has twice as many pixels in each direction when compared to a display with 1920 x 1080 Full HD resolution, which results in four times more detail overall.
To put it simply: A 4K TV displays images using over twice as many pixels as a standard FHD TV, resulting in up to four times more detail. But bear in mind that not all 4K TVs are created equal; there are many different types of 4K TV that vary in quality, technology, and features.
Is the Xbox One X really ‘better’ at 4K?
The Xbox One X can output games and UHD Blu-ray content with a native resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels (4K) or 60Hz. It can do this in three different ways: By using its faster GPU to scale down a 4K image to 1080p, which is then upscaled back to 4K.
Using its extremely powerful custom-made Scorpio Engine, it can render natively at full 4K, resulting in zero scaling or upscaling from the GPU.
Utilizing some clever rendering techniques such as checkerboarding, dynamic resolution scaling, or running games at 60fps & 4K UHD resolutions simultaneously results in an effective final image that appears to the human eye as native 4K.
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