IHS: HDR Is `The Biggest Improvement Coming To TV’
Global unit shipments of televisions supporting High Dynamic Range (HDR) are forecast to reach 12.2 million in 2017 and will continue to expand to 47.9 million in 2021, according to television market research conducted in the IHS Markit TV Design and Features Tracker for the third quarter of 2017.
The London, England-based market analytics firm called HDR “the strongest-developing feature in television sets” today. In addition to selling 47.9 million HDR displays, IHS expects that by 2021 the global industry will move 88.6 million “HDR-ready” television sets that will accept HDR signals but will not display the full benefits on screen.
IHS classifies an HDR television as a display that will accept and read an HDR signal and display it on a screen with at least 500 nits of brightness or higher.
Paul Gray, IHS Markit consumer devices associate director, said that below 500 nits gains and differences from HDR will be marginal, adding that “there is some element of an arbitrary boundary” that requires “a thoughtful investment in a better experience.”
On a regional basis, IHS Markit forecasts North America will lead HDR TV shipments with 14.6 million HDR sets shipping in 2021, while China will be second with 11.8 million.
“North America remains the sweet spot for TVs, with a preference for large screens, the availability of rich UHD content and a willingness from consumers to buy full-featured sets,” Gray stated. “While Chinese consumers are buying the biggest TV sets these days, price sensitivity is higher and UHD content is scarcer.”
Read more on IHS Markit’s HDR television forecasts after the jump:
IHS forecasts that only 23 percent of the 4K Ultra HDTVs that will ship in 2017 will offer the “the full HDR experience,” Gray said.
Gray said HDR, “is the biggest improvement coming to TV viewing,” and “it has been conclusively demonstrated to have the biggest impact with viewers, and what’s more, the effect works regardless of screen size or resolution.”
IHS does not yet have a breakout forecast for HDR televisions by HDR profile, which most commonly includes HDR10, HDR10+, Dolby Vision, HLG and/or Technicolor HDR.
“Chipmakers are strongly incentivized to ship all flavors in their devices – typically they can incorporate the IP for free; it’s TV brands who make the choices. This means that IC selection is unlikely to be a factor. Brands will pretty much universally support HDR10 and HLG. I suspect that any remaining battle is between Dolby Vision and HDR10+. I think CES’18 will reveal which way the land lies. However, as ICs potentially offer universal support, running changes are possible,” Gray told HD Guru.
Which HDR formats will eventually win out “will be determined by workflow – live events seem almost universally to be in HLG and broadcasters are going in that direction — both terrestrial and satellite,” said Gray. “So far, Dolby Vision is more for content, which is graded, although there are tools for live automated approaches. Clearly in a streaming world you can offer all flavors and serve up the relevant stream for the receiver’s capabilities. Broadcasters have to respect the lowest common denominator.”
Meanwhile, IHS is predicting that as video service markets get more and more congested and available bandwidth becomes increasingly scarce, over-the-air broadcasters and multichannel video service providers will begin to opt to deliver HDR programming with HD and Full HD resolution instead of more data-heavy 4K Ultra HD resolution.
“HD with HDR provides a huge increase in perceived quality for a very low data overhead, and that’s incredibly interesting,” Gray said, who added that most people won’t notice the difference between HDR in HD or HDR in 4K Ultra HD.
According to Gray: most people with 4K Ultra HDTVs “watch too far from their screen to see the resolution, or alternatively have too small a screen. Therefore, much of the resolution is invisible. Add in real-world compression effects, motion blur from the camera’s slow shutter speed and the resolution visibility is questionable. 4K Ultra HD demo loops have very slow camera pans and slowly-changing content – not like real television at all.”
Both Europe and the United States have broadcasters seriously examining 1080p/HDR, Gray said.
HD/HDR is “very economical on radio spectrum and offers most of the bang of UHD. I would describe it as a pragmatic compromise. In countries like Italy, which has 18 broadcast multiplexes all for 60-odd million people then there simply isn’t the spare capacity for 4K UHD.”
As for which display type – today that would include LED-LCD TVs and organic light emitting diode (OLED) technologies – consumers will ultimately gravitate toward to enjoy the best HDR experience, Gray was neutral.
“Definitely you can skew the results by the retail light level,” Gray said. “However, the effect of a really contrasty display, regardless of technology, is that magical moment when you appear to be looking through it rather than at it. That works either way and I think the highlight / lowlight issue is a secondary one behind the basic question of is it truly HDR.”
“If you watch in the dark an OLED will likely be more rewarding, but probably under typical real-life room conditions with some lighting the LCD’s extra candelas may make all the difference, especially with reflections. I think that a well-executed LCD with plenty of backlight zones is very competitive,” Gray observed.
Gray will present findings from the TV Design and Features Tracker at the 4K-HDR Summit in Málaga, Spain on Nov. 10 at 13:40 local time.
By Greg Tarr
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