Wednesday, 21 June 2017 17:47

HDR coming to notebooks, monitors and more

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HDR10, seen first in smart TVs giving better detail and highlight reproduction, is now seeing a “version” creeping into smartphone cameras, screens, computer monitors, and notebooks, according to WitsView, a division of TrendForce.

HDR stands for High Dynamic Range but it also means “Higher Dollar Returns” as PC and peripheral makers try to differentiate their products and gain consumer support. But a lack of standards and native content impedes its progress.

Initially, demand growth of HDR-capable monitors for gaming is especially robust as many games support HDR. The market for HDR-capable monitors is expected to expand rapidly once major vendors in IT industries have established a separate HDR standard specifically for their products.

WitsView analyst Julian Lee, said, “4K with HDR monitors have been shown to deliver much more superior gaming visuals than traditional LCD monitors featuring SDR (Standard Dynamic Range) can ever offer. The next stage in the development of HDR displays for IT products will be about vendors working towards standardization and compatibility in the generation, transmission, and playing of the HDR video content.”

At present, high-end LCD monitors sized 27 inches and larger generally feature 4K resolution and a high refresh rate of 144Hz. Some of these monitors use panels that natively support 8-bit colour or they can display 10-bit colours using “8-bit+FRC (frame rate control)” technologies.

Starting this year, panel makers have additionally introduced solutions for their TV technology into their monitors. For example, higher end monitor panels have incorporated direct backlight with as many as 384 local dimming zones. Panel makers have also used QDEF (Quantum Dot Enhancement Film) to achieve wider colour gamut.

Taiwan-based PC and peripheral vendors Acer and ASUS respective gaming product lines, Predator and ROG, are now equipped with NVIDIA’s G-Sync chip that works with LCD monitors to maximize the HDR effect.

Most HDR-capable LCD monitors support HDR10, a standard established by the UHD Alliance for TVs. However, there are wide differences between TVs and displays for IT devices in hardware and size specifications. IT product vendors must develop and agree to an HDR standard separate from HDR10.

NVIDIA’s G-Sync, for example, only works with games that are developed using game engines capable of HDR rendering. Games and video content from sources that do not support HDR will not be able to take advantage of G-Sync that is integrated into a monitor with HDR specifications.

HDR Games 

“Currently, metadata from different content providers are not following a consistent HDR standard. This led to incompatibility between some HDR content and HDR-enabled IT hardware,” said Lee.

WitsView suggested that it is best for processor manufacturers such as Intel and AMD and OS publishers like Microsoft to have a major role in the development of such standard. By building support for HDR content, they could help accelerate the market growth of high-end, HDR-capable monitors soon.

 

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Ray Shaw

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Ray Shaw ray@im.com.au  has a passion for IT ever since building his first computer in 1980. He is a qualified journalist, hosted a consumer IT based radio program on ABC radio for 10 years, has developed world leading software for the events industry and is smart enough to no longer own a retail computer store!

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