Certain Panasonic and Samsung TVs just became some of the first to support the new HDR10+ HDR standard thanks to a new firmware update. The update was rolled out to “select 2018 television models,” according to a press release that was sent out today.
HDR10+ was developed by HDR10+ Technologies—a joint venture by 20th Century Fox, Panasonic, and Samsung—to offer an improvement to the existing HDR10 standard and compete directly with Dolby Vision.
Samsung, which is the leading driver of the HDR10+ standard, has argued that HDR10+ will allow film directors’ visions to be more accurately represented on HDR TVs, because filmmakers who master their films in HDR can fine-tune each scene to their hearts’ content. Dolby has made similar claims about Dolby Vision.
HDR10 and Dolby Vision have been the two most popular HDR standards up to this point, but HDR10 has enjoyed wider adoption. There are two main reasons for this. The first is that, because some of Dolby Vision’s advantages aren’t that relevant for dynamic content like video games, the PlayStation 4, PlayStation 4 Pro, Xbox One S, and Xbox One X only support HDR10.
Further, Dolby Vision support requires manufacturers of TVs, Blu-ray players, and other devices to pay significant licensing fees. By contrast, HDR10 and HDR10+ are open standards. Samsung has declined to support Dolby Vision with its TVs, but most other high-end TVs support both HDR10 and Dolby Vision at this point. Streaming services, Blu-ray players, game consoles, and streaming boxes sometimes only support one of the two big standards, though.
Dolby Vision has always allowed for dynamic metadata in each frame, and it has also long offered quality advantages over HDR10, like 12-bit color. Not even HDR10+ allows for 12-bit color, but that’s not relevant for most consumers, since there are no mainstream consumer TVs on the market now for displaying 12-bit content. These panels are generally reserved for professional monitors—at least for now.
Saying that available HDR10+ content is sparse would be an understatement, though. There’s practically none, although 20th Century Fox has committed to supporting it in future UltraHD Blu-ray releases. Warner Bros has made a similar commitment, and Amazon has also announced intentions to support the format. It remains to be seen exactly which films and streaming TV series will support the format, though. These are early days for the standard.
As with Dolby Vision, HDR10+ is about future-proofing for tomorrow’s better, brighter TVs. Dolby Vision’s 12-bit support and a target brightness of 4,000 to 10,000 nits (compared to between 1,000 and around 4,000 nits for HDR10+) look a little more future-proof than HDR10+’s offerings do. But with the world’s largest TV manufacturer (Samsung) as its driving force, HDR10+’s proliferation is all but assured at this point.