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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Dolby Aims to Make TV Colors Look More Like Real Life with Dolby Vision

Dolby is really well known for everything they've done for the world of audio. Now, they want to share the love with the video side. The company just announced Dolby Vision, a new imaging technology for content creators and TV manufacturers.

Dolby Vision is designed to pump up all of the contrast, brightness and color that's typically dulled down during a video's production and/or distribution process. According to Dolby, TV and cinema color-grading standards are old and need original video to be altered before it can get to the viewer. Dolby Vision should change that, allowing creative types to use everything they've got -- colors, peak brightness, and local contrast -- and actually have it reach the audience.

In other words, Dolby Vision will deliver an image that's as lifelike as you can get without actually pulling your chair up to a window.

The company describes it as an "end-to-end solution," which means that it involves everything from the content to the distribution to the display. In other words, don't expect to get the Dolby Vision experience on your existing TV, Blu-ray player, or other equipment.


 Dolby shows the difference between a typical display (left) and one using Dolby Vision (right).

TVs are in the works, thanks to partnerships between Sharp and TCL Multimedia. Neither company has any formal product announcements yet, but both were showing off Dolby Vision TV prototypes at this week's CES. VIZIO also had a little something -- well, a big something. Although VIZIO has yet to be named as a partner, the company did have a 120-inch Dolby Vision-enhanced TV offsite at The Wynn Hotel.

"By dramatically enhancing picture quality, Dolby Vision will drive adoption of UHD 4K displays with a winning combination of more and better pixels," said Hao E, VP of TCL Corporation and CEO of TCL Multimedia.

As far as the content, Dolby says that Amazon (Amazon Instant Video), Netflix, Microsoft (Xbox Video), and VUDU are also frothing to deliver movies and TV shows in Dolby Vision once there are TVs in market and content mastered and graded in Dolby Vision.

"The creative community is thrilled to have an expanded color palette and the added contrast so that viewers can see details that might have previously gone unnoticed," said Roland Vlaicu, senior director of broadcast imaging for Dolby Laboratories. "Meanwhile, TV manufacturers can offer consumers a dramatically improved video experience, regardless of screen size or viewing distance."

TVs with Dolby Vision technology are expected to be available for purchase sometime later this year.


 Editor Chris Boylan stands in front of the 120-inch Dolby Vision-enhanced TV VIZIO was showing at The Wynn Hotel during CES week.

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