Understanding Dolby Vision In Sony Premium 4K Ultra HDTVs
Anyone who purchased a premium Sony 4K Ultra HDTV using the company’s powerful X1 Extreme processor–including the A1E 4K OLED TVs, Z9D flagship 4K Ultra HD LED-LCD TV, or select XBR 4K full-array LED LCD TVs–should by now have received a firmware update bringing support for the Dolby Vision flavor of high dynamic range (HDR) with dynamic metadata.
Unfortunately, not all of the supporting external devices that connect to the televisions through HDMI inputs may have received the latest Dolby Vision firmware Beta profile to send those singles to the supporting Sony televisions. This has been a point of confusion some HD Guru readers.
We recently met with Sony’s U.S. television marketing team where we got a thorough explanation of what’s happening and what it will take for any owners of 2017 of 2018 premium Sony 4K TVs to enjoy Dolby Vision from supporting 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray players, 4K set-top media adapters and other Dolby Vision supporting devices.
Phil Jones, Sony TV product management director, told HD Guru that when Sony delivered the Dolby Vision firmware update late last year, it used a new Beta profile of the Dolby Vision software, which requires any connected Dolby Vision supporting device to have the same profile version for the source device and display to communicate with one another.
“There are multiple profiles of Dolby Vision,” Jones explained. “Our new television sets are using the latest [Beta] profile and some of the Dolby Vision source devices that are available are going to require a firmware update to support the same profile in order to work with our televisions.”
Unfortunately, not all Dolby Vision supporting devices are set up to run Beta profile versions of supporting firmware. If you are someone, who, for example, has an Apple TV 4K device, and you set it up for Beta, you can download the latest version to add the appropriate Dolby Vision profile to the device to work with Sony DV-supporting televisions.
How do you tell the difference between profile versions?
If you go into “General” settings on a supporting Apple TV 4K device, and go into “About,” you will see that the product is running a particular Dolby Vision firmware version. Future Beta versions of software can be set to be pushed automatically to the product, so customers don’t have to worry about it. A user enters his/her Apple ID, and account number and specifies that they want to be a Beta tester. That will automatically enable the device to be available for Beta updates.
This update is required for both the source and display, because when they are connected there is a two-way conversation that takes place. In essence the source asks: “What are you?” and the display answers: “I am this with this format” and the source device replies, “I can play that Dolby Vision format,” and the program begins.
If you have an AV receiver in between the source and display, it gets a little more complicated because then all three devices will have to have this conversation with each other and each has to be compatible with the latest profile version to engage. If it doesn’t work, rest assured that eventually the appropriate DV firmware update will be installed in every DV device in the chain.
“We always recommend that every customer leave the firmware auto-update settings on all of their devices so that when these updates are available, each device updates automatically and is ready to work,” said Jones. “If you turn off the auto updates, then you are assuming the responsibility to make sure all of these products work together manually.”
Another thing to remember when using the Apple TV 4K device with a Sony DV TV, make sure the unit is set to “Match Dynamic Range” and “Match Frame Rate.” This will ensure everything switches very fast.
“All a consumer really has to know is that regardless of whether the device is playing HDR10 or Dolby Vision, when it’s connected to a compatible Sony TV, the picture is going to look great,” said Jones. “The built-in streaming services like Netflix and Amazon will work seamlessly, and if the consumer wants to see Dolby Vision now, there is a way to do it with this Beta update. Once they’ve set it to automatic it will update and everything will look amazing.”
By Greg Tarr
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