UN­DER­STAND­ING MO­BILE HDR

More dy­namic im­ages are com­ing to your smart­phone. Here’s Mo­bile HDR in a nut­shell.

HWM (Singapore) - - LEARN - By James Lu

HDR, or High Dy­namic Range, is a buzz­word that’s been cir­cu­lat­ing in tele­vi­sions for the past cou­ple of years now. If a TV is HDR com­pat­i­ble, it gen­er­ally means it’s able to pro­duce a brighter, wider range of col­ors and con­trast, so a scene can dis­play bright high­lights, while still main­tain­ing 3delity in the darker ar­eas of the screen.

Mo­bile HDR is a new tech­nol­ogy that aims to bring a sim­i­lar ex­pe­ri­ence from your 55-inch TV to your smart­phone or tablet. Sam­sung kick­started Mo­bile HDR with the short-lived Galaxy Note7, but it’s now avail­able in many ag­ship smart­phones in­clud­ing the LG G6, Sam­sung Galaxy S8 and S8+ and Sony XZ Pre­mium.

Mo­bile HDR 10 ver­sus Dolby Vi­sion

Just like HDR on TV, there are two main com­pet­ing stan­dards for Mo­bile HDR: HDR10 and Dolby Vi­sion. HDR10 is an open source for­mat that is cur­rently more

preva­lent. Gen­er­ally speak­ing, if your TV or mo­bile de­vice is HDR com­pat­i­ble, it can play any HDR10 con­tent.

Dolby Vi­sion is an­other stan­dard that isn’t as preva­lent, but of­fers ar­guably bet­ter im­age qual­ity. To com­pare specs, HDR10 cur­rently sup­ports up to 4,000 nits peak bright­ness, with 10-bit color depth, while Dolby Vi­sion, sup­ports up to 10,000 nits peak bright­ness, with 12-bit color depth. Dolby Vi­sion also uses frame-by-frame meta­data to en­sure that the dis­play you’re watch­ing is show­ing you the best re­sults. While Dolby Vi­sion isn’t as wide­spread as HDR10, both Ama­zon and Net­flix, the two big­gest com­pa­nies push­ing Mo­bile HDR, sup­port it.

Right now, the only smart­phone with Dolby Vi­sion sup­port is the LG G6. How­ever, it’s worth not­ing that Dolby Vi­sion on mo­bile de­vices is ac­tu­ally a soft­ware so­lu­tion, rather than hard­ware-based. This means that tech­ni­cally, any HDR mo­bile de­vice could run Dolby Vi­sion if a soft­ware com­pat­i­bil­ity up­date is re­leased for it.

Mo­bile HDR Pre­mium

To make mat­ters more con­fus­ing, in Fe­bru­ary 2017, the Ul­tra HD Al­liance also an­nounced a new stan­dard for mo­bile de­vices, called Mo­bile HDR Pre­mium. This isn’t a com­pet­ing for­mat to HDR10 or Dolby Vi­sion, in­stead it’s a cer­ti­fi­ca­tion for mo­bile de­vices that en­sures you’re get­ting a great HDR ex­pe­ri­ence.

These stan­dards ap­ply to all smart­phones, tablets and lap­top com­put­ers, mean­ing that you could see the Mo­bile HDR Pre­mium cer­ti­fi­ca­tion on all those de­vices which of­fer HDR con­tent. Right now, the only smart­phones with Mo­bile HDR Pre­mium cer­ti­fi­ca­tions are the Sam­sung Galaxy S8 and S8+.

What Mo­bile HDR con­tent is avail­able?

Un­for­tu­nately, right now there’s not a lot of Mo­bile HDR con­tent out there, al­though that looks to change by the end of the year. Both Net­flix and Ama­zon have said they will be rolling out HDR10 and Dolby Vi­sion sup­port for mo­bile stream­ing in 2017. YouTube also of­fers great HDR con­tent, but it’s cur­rently not avail­able on the YouTube app. How­ever, we ex­pect an up­date from Google soon.

Right now, your best bet is to down­load HDR videos from your smart­phone man­u­fac­turer. For ex­am­ple, the Sam­sung Video Li­brary app avail­able on the app store has a few high qual­ity Mo­bile HDR videos on it.

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