Universal Pictures Home Entertainment (UPHE) in association with Samsung announced Thursday that it will introduce both new release and catalog movies and videos for the home mastered in the HDR10+ High Dynamic Range (HDR) profile that is based on dynamic metadata.
HDR10+ is a format originally developed by Samsung in association with 20th Century Fox and Panasonic as an “open-sourced” alternative to Dolby’s Dolby Vision dynamic metadata HDR format. Unlike HDR10+, Dolby Vision is licensed for a fee to hardware manufacturers and software developers.
Dynamic metadata-based HDR allows presenting images with a wide range of brightness and contrast that is adjusted on a scene-by-scene basis, rather than at one set level throughout a movie like the commonly supported HDR10 profile.
Interestingly, Universal has previously introduced titles supporting Dolby Vision HDR, which like HDR10+ is dependent on compatible playback and display hardware. The new partnership with Samsung will enable Universal to offer titles in either or both of the two primary dynamic HDR profiles.
This will allow Universal to provide movies to owners of a wider range of 4K TV and media player brands.
The HDR10+ profile added to software will require a playback device (such as an Ultra HD Blu-ray player or streaming platform) and a 4K Ultra HDTV to support HDR10+ metadata. This dynamic metadata carries instructions to playback devices for presenting the proper levels of brightness, contrast and color in the program on a scene-by-scene basis.
Currently, Samsung 4K Ultra HDTVs and some legacy Ultra HD Blu-ray players support HDR10+ although Samsung recently announced it is no longer introducing new Ultra HD Blu-ray devices.
In addition some Panasonic Ultra HD Blu-ray players available in the United States support HDR10+. Panasonic also makes televisions that are HDR10+ compatible, but none of these are currently available in the United States. TPV, which markets Philips-brand televisions outside of North America, is also supporting both HDR10+ and Dolby Vision.
Sony and LG support Dolby Vision but not HDR10+.
As for content producers, Amazon is supporting HDR10+ in titles streamed via its Prime platform. 20th Century Fox has released certain movies in HDR10+ for streaming and on Ultra HD Blu-ray discs, but that studio was recently acquired by Disney, which so far has only supported the Dolby Vision dynamic metadata format.
The joint announcement said that Samsung and UPHE “will collaborate on a wide selection of new release and catalog fare with HDR10+ technology,” but did specify how many or which titles are initially planned.
“We are delighted to team with Samsung Electronics on HDR10+ to deliver this striking, cutting-edge technology to entertainment consumers, providing them opportunity to enjoy unparalleled, state-of-the-art movie-watching experiences across an array of Universal physical and digital titles,” Michael Bonner, UPHE Digital Distribution executive VP said in a statement.
Hyogun Lee, Samsung Visual Display Business R&D Team executive VP, added: “We will continue to expand our alliances with premier partners like Universal to provide consumers with the best HDR content possible.”
Although its announcement to exit the Ultra HD Blu-ray player category created some uncertainty about the future of HDR10+, Samsung and its partners continue to enlist support for the profile through the HDR10+ Alliance. Members pay only a modest fee to join, and the group offers a third-party testing laboratory for product certification. The accompanying logo and technology fees are free to members’ qualifying products.
By Greg Tarr
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