4000 nits, baby!

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One corner of TCL’s large hall had this 4000-nit dis­play in op­er­a­tion. Nits are a lu­mi­nance unit quaintly de­fined in terms of can­dle­light — your av­er­age wax can­dle pro­duces one can­dela of light (can­dela is an SI unit) and your nits are equal to one can­dela per square me­ter.

They’ve slipped into con­sumer tech par­lance in re­cent years be­cause of High Dy­namic Range in Ul­tra High Def­i­ni­tion TV sig­nals — movies are mas­tered for HDR up to a cer­tain num­ber of nits, and this is then scaled down (in­tel­li­gently, us­ing a trans­fer func­tion) to match the avail­able nits from your par­tic­u­lar TV. Not many TVs are ad­ver­tis­ing their nit lev­els, be­cause most of them are pretty low, in the hun­dreds, with a few higher-end LCDs push­ing over the 1000.

Dolby Vi­sion is spec­i­fied up to 10,000 nits, though most movies are mas­tered on a scale only up to 4000 nits, which is partly be­cause that’s as high as the pro­fes­sional mon­i­tors used for mas­ter­ing go, and that’s the re­ally rather ex­pen­sive Dolby Pul­sar, hith­erto the only 4000-nit dis­play avail­able.

Sony did turn up at CES last Jan­uary with a gi­ant 10,000-nit TV, but it was firmly placed in the ‘Con­cept Corner’.

TCL’s 4000-nit­ter is sim­i­larly for dis­play pur­poses only. Marek Ma­ciejew­ski, TCL’s Europe Prod­uct De­vel­op­ment Direc­tor, hap­pened to be on hand, and con­firmed that there’s no in­ten­tion of putting this on the mar­ket — it was brought to IFA 2018 so that TCL could demon­strate the full per­for­mance avail­able from Dolby Vi­sion ma­te­rial. Well, 4000-nit mas­tered Dolby Vi­sion ma­te­rial, any­way...

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