High dynamic range, wide color gamut, new content sources will proliferate
TV suppliers will expand the selection of 4K Ultra HD TVs at CES, where at least three suppliers will launch the first 4K Blu-ray players for the U.S. market. At least one more TV maker will join Vizio in adding Dolby Vision HDR technology to select 4K TVs.
Suppliers will also expand the selection of 4K TVs with high dynamic range (HDR), with some suppliers adopting the technology for the first time and others expanding the technology to their entire lineup of 4K TVs.
More companies will also adopt quantum-dot technology to achieve wider color gamut in their 4K TVs, with gamut expanding to as much as 91 percent of the future-proof Rec. 2020 standard in select TVs. Some TVs already deliver 87 percent of the Rec. 2020 color space.
Depending on the industry source, Rec. 2020 is said to deliver 63 percent to 76 percent of the color spectrum that can be perceived by the human eye.
Dealers at CES will also find the first 4K TVs whose performance meets the criteria that will be announced at the show by the Ultra HD Alliance, whose members hail from the consumer electronics, content-production and content-distribution industries. The alliance will announce minimum specifications for 4K Ultra HD displays, content and distribution. Products and content meeting the standards will be able to display a certification logo. The alliance criteria include resolution, HDR, wide color gamut, immersive audio, and other factors.
Also at CES, new sources of 4K content will be revealed, but they won’t be limited to 4K Blu-ray discs or streaming services. Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (SPHE) has already announced that its first movies on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray discs will arrive in early 2016 with HDR. Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment has said it would release its first batch of movies on 4K discs with HDR in early 2016 to coincide with the expected launch of the first 4K Blu-ray players from Samsung.
4K Blu-ray: Though some companies will launch 4K Blu-ray players at CES, others will hold off, waiting to see how the market develops The cautious suppliers contended that Hollywood hasn’t yet committed to many 4K Blu-ray titles and that many consumers already get 4K video via streaming services.
Despite the availability of 4K streaming through smart TVs and IP-streaming devices in the living room, 4K Blu-ray supporters believe the physical format will succeed because of its superior performance. They cited the format’s 100Mbps “constant and guaranteed” data rate compared with average home-network speeds of less than 5Mbps. The experience will also be uninterruptible because it doesn’t depend on the vagaries of Internet connections and home Wi-Fi networks, they said.
Some proponents also don’t believe the appeal of 4K Blu-ray will be limited at launch to early adopters, as was the case with the FullHD Blu-ray launch. A broad range of consumers will be attracted to 4K Blu-ray because they are already aware of 4K TVs, 4K’s advantages, and the added features that physical media provide, including interactive features, they said.
The 4K Blu-ray specifications developed by the Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA) require the baseline 10-bit SMPTE 2084 HDR (Open HDR) standard on 4K Blu-ray players, but the technology is optional on discs. If a disc offers HDR, however, it must at a minimum use the baseline 10-bit SMPTE 2084 Open HDR standard. Optional BDA-approved HDR technologies from Dolby Vision and Philips can accompany 2084 on a disc, but players aren’t required to recognize the Dolby and Philips technologies.
And more: Hisense plans to bring 4K HDR technology to “disruptive” price points, and Hisense’s Sharp brand will unveil new picture-quality technologies.
Also at the show:
• more TVs will feature HDMI 2.0a inputs to accept HDR content from outboard devices such as 4K Blu-ray players and 4K settop streaming boxes;
• suppliers will scale back their selections of FullHD 1080p TVs, though one company will expand its selection;
• at least one more supplier will enter the curved-TV market;
• at least one supplier will expand its selection of TVs running Roku TV, which enables streaming of all A/V services available through Roku’s HDMI sticks and settop boxes; and
• at least one company will offer its first Netflix-recommended TVs.