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M-Go Planning HDR Streaming This Year

Los Angeles — Video-streaming service M-Go, a joint venture between Technicolor and DreamWorks, will begin offering Ultra HD 4K video with high dynamic range (HDR) sometime later this year, joining other streaming companies that have also said they would offer the technology later this year,  M-Go COO Christophe Louvion told TWICE.

 The non-subscription pay-per-view site “will launch not with two to three titles but a full selection,” he said “There will be several dozens [of movies and TV episodes],” and the selection “will build up quickly,” he said.

He called HDR technology a “giant leap” akin to the leap from black and white to color and more dramatic than the leap from 1080p FullHD to 4K UHD. “It’s almost like looking through a window,” he said of the wider color gamut as well as the brighter highlights and deeper blacks that don’t wash out details.

The company demonstrated HDR at International CES.

Other vide-streaming services planning HDR sometime later this year are Vudu, Amazon and Netflix.

M-Go’s parent Technicolor is a member of the UHD Alliance, which is developing specs and minimum performance standards for 4K content, including HDR. M-Go will support the alliance standard.

For its part, however, Vudu will launch multiple Warner Brothers titles in Dolby Vision HDR. Both Netflix and Amazon last year announced support for Dolby Vision, but earlier this year, Netflix VP Scott Mirer appeared to be on board with the alliance standard. Netflix is an alliance member, as is Dolby.

Alliance members have said Dolby could always create a version of “two-layer” Dolby Vision that supports the “single-layer” approach favored by the alliance.  “Most people in the industry believe single layer is best,” Louvion said. The costs “make sense” in the distribution chain from production to post production and in CE devices, he said. “It’s less complex for everyone.”

TV’s however, could incorporate the UHD single-layer open standard and Dolby’s two-layer standard, Louvion said.

M-Go co-owner and alliance member Technicolor has already developed tools that will be able to create HDR content using whatever specs are published by the alliance. The company already offers remastering services for broadcasters and studios to add HDR to movies, TV shows and commercials and has already started working on titles. The intent is to ensure a significant amount of content conforming to the alliance’s HDR spec will be available when TVs incorporating the alliance’s 4K and HDR specs hit the market later this year, Technicolor said.

The UHD Alliance is a group of film studios, TV makers, content distributors, and post-production and technology companies that are creating performance minimums for 4K home-video content such as resolution, HDR, wide color gamut, high frame rates, and immersive object-based audio.

Members include Netflix, DirecTV, Dolby, DTS, LG, M Star Semiconductor, NVIDIA, Panasonic, Samsung, Sony, Technicolor, The Walt Disney Studios, Twentieth Century Fox, Warner Bros. Entertainment, and Universal Pictures.

M-Go, launched about 1.5 years ago, debuted its first 4K titles late last year, becoming the first video-service provider to offer 4K just before Amazon, Comcast, and DirecTV, Louvion said. The company’s HD service, which offers more than 30,000 movies and TV episodes, is available on TVs from Samsung, LG, Toshiba, Vizio, TCL and others through Roku devices, iOS and Android apps, and the web. The company’s 4K titles are available for now only through Samsung TVs. M-Go’s 4K selection is up to 110 movies and TV episodes.

“Studios are not letting out a lot of 4K until HDR arrives” to provide a “more refined” picture, said Louvion.

M-Go’s HD service includes next-day TV, movies that are still in theaters, and movies released on M-Go day and date with theatrical releases, weeks before DVD, and up to a year before subscription-streaming services, Louvion. Two-day viewing windows run from $3.99 to $4.99, and purchases run from $12 to $20.