Skip to content

Dolby? In a TV context?

The big deal this season looks to be TV sets. The fifty to eighty inch diagonals are getting below $2k for OLED and below $1k for standard LCD with all the bells and whistles. One of the new features is HDR or high dynamic range that is showing up in 4k sets with a lot of brightness. PhysOrg carries a report that New TV tech promises better picture for mainstream consumers (November 25, 2016 by George Avalos, The Mercury News).

Televisions that promise a significantly improved picture will be available this holiday season at mainstream prices for the first time. Using a technology called HDR, or high-dynamic range, the sets can display more dynamic colors than older TVs and will allow you to see more details in both bright and dark areas of the screen.

HDR is only available on TVs that offer 4K – or ultra-high definition – resolutions. It promises to do what 4K generally doesn’t – offer a noticeable difference in picture quality.

While more programming and cheaper TVs are hitting the market, analysts are skeptical that a consumer rush on HDR sets is imminent. While the 4K HDR sets offer dazzling pictures, the increase in quality is not nearly as dramatic as the leap from older TVs to the first generation of flat-screen sets.

Another factor that could hold up sales is a nascent standard war between different flavors of HDR technology. Some sets and online video services support a standard pushed by Dolby called Dolby Vision.

This brings back memories of the 80’s and the quad channel sound, Dolby noise reduction, and the struggle to come up with something commonly available. So many choices and you can’t tell which is best (unless you’re super-human).

One item to look for: nits. The more nits, which refers to the brightness of a display, the better. Consumers should seek TVs with a spec of at least 1,000 nits, said Paul Gagnon, San Diego-based director of TV research with IHS.

Plus, there’s the old rule of thumb for buying a TV: Experts recommend shoppers seek out high-end models produced by well-known manufacturers.

“There are a lot of claims made by companies around specifications, but the consumer needs to make those judgments in person,” Gagnon said. “It really pays to go into a store and look at demonstrations. We all perceive images differently.

“You really need to be there in person to see if it’s worth the difference in price.”

It’s deja vu all over again!