New Dolby Vision aims to reinvent television

Today’s TV signal is dull compared to what the eye can discern.


What if you could see images on your TV that delivered all the brightness levels your eyes are capable of seeing? Today our TV standards top out at only about 100 nits, and yet we’re capable of seeing and discerning 100,000 times that. (Nits are a measure of bright­ness, also known as candelas per square meter, or cd/m2. For reference, a 100-watt light bulb radiates about 18,000 nits.)

Dolby says its new Dolby Vision imaging technology will restore fidelity to broadcast signals. (Source: Dolby)
Dolby says its new Dolby Vision imaging technology will restore fidelity to broadcast signals. (Source: Dolby)

Dolby says their new imaging tech­nology will help content creators and TV manufacturers deliver true-to-life brightness, colors, and contrast. It aug­ments the fidelity of Ultra HD and HD video signals for over-the-top online streaming, broadcast, and gaming appli­cations by maintaining and reproducing the dynamic range and color palette of the original content.

Even though most television shows and movies are recorded using cam­era technology that captures the colors and brightness of real life, much of that richness is lost as the content is passed through various stages of distribution. That’s because current television and cinema standards are based on the limi­tations of old technologies and require that the original video content be al­tered—dramatically reducing the range of colors, brightness, and contrast—be­fore it can be reproduced for transmis­sion and playback.

Dolby says their new imaging tech­nology changes that, giving creative teams the freedom to use a fuller range of colors, peak brightness, and local contrast with the confidence that once the content is encoded for transmission with Dolby’s new imaging technology, it can be reproduced on televisions with Dolby’s new technology.

According to the company, what Dolby’s technology will deliver to con­sumers is dramatically brighter and more vivid images with more accurate color and higher contrast to make it easier to discern details that might have previously gone unnoticed. The technol­ogy will do this through an expanded color palette for movies and broadcasts to include more of the colors the human eye can actually see.

Dolby believes that it will succeed because this new technology will allow creative teams to use the full range of colors, peak brightness, and local con­trast already captured with current cam­era technologies. This new technology will, says Dolby, give the creative teams the confidence that films and TV shows encoded and transmitted with Dolby’s new imaging technology will be repro­duced faithfully on televisions.

Dolby says their new imaging tech­nology is already getting support from all points in the ecosystem, from those who create and distribute entertainment content, to those who manufacture the devices to display it.

Filmmakers and other content creators get to unleash their creativity with the broader range of colors and bright­ness already captured by their cameras, and TV OEMs can offer consumers a dramatically improved video experi­ence, regardless of screen size or dis­tance.

TV manufacturers such as Sharp and TCL are showing prototype televi­sions at CES that illustrate the benefits of Dolby Vision on various panel types and screen sizes. In addition, Dolby has fostered an Ecosystem with partners like Amazon (Amazon Instant Video), Microsoft (Xbox Video), and VUDU. They hope to deliver movies and televi­sion shows in Dolby Vision once there are TVs in the market and content mas­tered and graded in Dolby Vision.

More background on the technol­ogy can be found at Dolby Lab Notes blog: