LG HDR-enabled OLED TV: The Ideal Platform for HDR Content

With Multiple Format Support and Wider Color Reproduction (vs 2015), LG’s 2016 HDR-enabled OLED TVs Offer Everything Movie Buffs are After

Over the past few years, we’ve seen a constant evolution in TV picture quality. This growth has occurred alongside enhanced resolution, superior color reproduction and higher refresh rates. All of these elements combine to create an improved visual experience. However, when it comes to producing a more realistic picture, other aspects of picture quality are also equally - if not actually more important – to realizing the director’s original vision. Meeting these lofty standards requires more than just an increased spatial resolution and color reproduction rate; it requires screens with greater contrast ratio and higher dynamic range.

What is High Dynamic Range (HDR): Standard Dynamic Range (SDR) vs. HDR

Traditionally when content is created, the original information is degraded during the process of post-production, digital mastering, distribution, and finally rendering or display.  When a content provider offers its content it is in standard dynamic range (SDR). With modern advances, today’s HDR technology drastically preserves original contrast ratio and colors. This improvement in picture quality is made possible by a whole host of HDR technology including HDR-capable displays.

LG OLED TV SDR

< SDR vs. HDR >

HDR content contains information about brightness and color across a much wider range. HDR-capable displays can read that information and show an image built from a wider gamut of color and brightness (Link). Human eyes can sense a larger range of light and contrast than what SDR content offers, from the darkest black to the brightest white. HDR provides displayed images with highly intact contrast and vibrant colors, which closely simulate what is seen in reality by the human eye.

Seeing Movies the way they were intended

Movies are works of art that take months of work from studios and visual professionals dedicated to getting everything just right. Directors and cinematographers pour over every frame, balancing colors and tweaking lighting so that each moment of the film is a visual experience. During this process each frame is edited to catch and hold the attention of viewers.

High dynamic range (HDR) is viewed by Hollywood tech leaders as key to achieving noticeable advances in picture quality for viewers in the years to come. Hollywood studios have shown their commitment to HDR for cinema by creating content in HDR for viewing in cinemas. To echo this, most major studios have committed to release titles in 4K UHD with HDR in order to provide the best cinematic viewing experience.

The Perfect display technology for HDR

With an abundance of positive reviews, the LG OLED TV display has been hailed as a perfect display technology. Experts recognize that OLED’s purest black serves as a platform that improves the TV’s color palette. The self-lighting OLED panel also serves as a great platform for HDR content playback.

Pixel Dimming (OLED) vs. Local Dimming (LCD)

The LG OLED TV lineup’s HDR capabilities are enriched by OLED’s Pixel Dimming technology. Unlike LCD TVs where the traditional LED backlight locally dims entire sections of the screen, each pixel on an OLED panel can independently turn on and off. OLED therefore renders crisp, vibrant colors and shadow details, even when tiny bright objects are directly adjacent to inky dark regions, like in images of space, where tiny stars speckle a vast black void.

In some tests which compare OLED with traditional LCD, there is a stark contrast in displaying tiny lit dots or a diagonal white line in absolutely dark scenes on the screen like in the images below. Due to light seepages caused by the back light panel, the LCD TV screen can have light cloud and bleeding issues throughout the black background. When displaying an entirely black picture, the traditional LCD panel has vignette effect on the top and bottom edges. On the other hand, OLED passes all these visual tests flawlessly.

sdr 2

< Pattern test on OLED vs. LCD >

OLED TV’s Wider Contrast Range: Supremacy of HDR Capability

Think of an image of the night sky. As a city-dweller, it’s quite possible you don’t know how dark the night sky should be. That’s because of artificial light pollution. This residual light makes it more difficult to see some of the more faint objects in the night sky. However, OLED is able to show a perfectly clear black image, as if you were looking at the night sky in in a very remote place, like at the North Pole or in the middle of a desert.

The brightness of a TV does not always lead to better picture quality. Though LCD TVs can offer a picture brighter than OLED TVs, the ability of LCD to render HDR content is inevitably limited. That’s because the LCD TVs make up for lack of luminance by using back light panels, which consistently keep the screen’s brightness to a certain degree. Therefore, LCD TVs can compromise the capability of representing dark objects and may not have any comparative advantage.

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< TV Dynamic Range: LCD vs. OLED >

An OLED panel, which can light itself, has an infinite contrast ratio due to the ability to accurately render very low brightness values including perfect black, while LCD TVs are limited in the overall contrast that they can exhibit. An OLED TV also has a greater dynamic range in contrast (more than 20 stops), compared to traditional LCD’s 14 stops. OLED is able to clearly depict even the darkest regions, with vibrant details. See extremely dark yet still existing onscreen objects from Vesta (a minor planet) at 0.0003 nits to the Vega star at 0.031 nits in the comparative images above.

A Wide Range of HDR Formats

HDR’s enhanced color reproduction represents an amazing leap in picture quality. As of today there are three different HDR formats that can achieve outstanding image quality, but each functions differently.

HDR10 supports the technical standards specified by Ultra HD Premium, a display quality certification from the UHD Alliance. This technology analyzes image data to determine peak HDR levels, and then applies these settings to create a much more vivid and lifelike color range.

Dolby VisionTM takes HDR to the next level.  Using dynamic metadata to adjust color, contrast and brightness on a scene-by-scene basis, Dolby VisionTM content boasts superior color accuracy. In addition, Dolby VisionTM technology’s mapping engine ensures that content is optimized to match each TV’s capabilities instead of adopting a less precise, one-size-fits-all approach to content rendering.

Leading streaming companies such as Netflix, Amazon Video® and VUDU® are already offering premium HDR content.

Amazon Netflix VUDU
HDR10 YES YES NO
Dolby VisionTM YES YES YES

Hybrid Log Gamma (HLG) represents HDR for broadcasting. The format was developed by the BBC and NHK to enable a backwards compatible transmission of HDR content. The goal of HLG is to equip broadcasters to deliver HDR information over cable and broadcast methods for live and pre-recorded content.

LG’s OLED TVs Support Every Possible HDR Technology on the Market

Already boasting dual HDR capabilities with both HDR10 and Dolby Vision formats supported, this year LG demoed high HDR capabilities of OLED TV at shows such as SES Astra Industry Days in Europe and will further demo new capabilities at IFA 2016. Viewed on LG’s OLED TVs, HDR HLG content looks more realistic, delivers greater depth and the deepest blacks. As the first flat-panel television with infinite contrast ratio and no backlight panels, LG OLED TVs are unrivaled in their ability to deliver an HDR experience like no other.

To prove the company’s advances in HDR – hailed as the next big thing in display technology – LG’s OLED TVs will break ground by displaying cutting-edge 4K High Frame Rate (HFR) HLG content at IFA

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