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Gerbil XP
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4K HDR madness

Tue May 16, 2017 4:12 am

Be warned: I need to vent.

So about a year ago I picked up an LG 4K TV on sale in anticipation for the PS4 Pro. I admit. I knew nothing about 4K at that point other than it must be better than Full HD. So when the PS4 Pro came, I found out about HDR and how it was the next big thing and I had this sinking feeling that I pulled the trigger too soon. Sure enough. TV did not support HDR even though webOS had an option for it. The TV went bust past its warranty anyway but that's another story (I HATE LG).

Guess what's the next TV I bought? The LG 55UH850V coz it was on sale (Duh! I am such a glutton for punishment). It's not bad but after seeing reviews for Vizio P50-C1, I feel like I've gotten the short end of the stick again. Complicating matters is the HDR standards situation. From what I gather, Dolby Labs developed HDR10 and gave it away for free, except they kept a flaw in it whereby loss of detail occurs in darker scenes. Dolby Vision fixes this but requires a specialized chip in both the UHD Bluray player and the TV. From Dolby Labs estimates, Dolby Vision shouldn't cost more than a dollar per TV unit sold but apparently Samsung had other plans. They dropped the bomb with their own open standard HDR10+ that is currently only promised for 2016 and beyond Samsung TV's via firmware update. Then there's upconversion of SDR content to HDR and Technicolor is supposed to deliver on that with their Advanced HDR standard (currently only promised for LG 2017 TVs). Manufacturer specific SDR to HDR upconversion schemes like Sony's HDR Remaster and LG's Active HDR promise to help you pull out the last bits of hair if you have any left after contemplating this insane situation. So what the hell am I supposed to do? Here are the options:

1) Stick with LG 55UH850V and enjoy its poor contrast and less than stellar HDR performance

2) Pick up the Vizio P50-C1 and then later buy ANOTHER TV when the HDR climate stabilizes and manufacturers make up their minds about what to support

3) Start saving and pay through the nose for LG's C7 OLED

4) Jump off a cliff and ask God to re-incarnate me as Supreme Leader of the world so I can get the heads of these TV manufacturers, Dolby Vision and Technicolor together and threaten to spank their bottoms off unless they agree on one damn HDR standard

EDIT: Forgot to mention: The following websites were excellent help in understanding the unholy mess of 4K HDR:
Gerbil Team Leader
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Re: 4K HDR madness

Tue May 16, 2017 5:05 am

Igor_Kavinski wrote:
Complicating matters is the HDR standards situation. From what I gather, Dolby Labs developed HDR10 and gave it away for free, except they kept a flaw in it whereby loss of detail occurs in darker scenes.

Do you mean static metadata? It's a bit odd to call it a flaw, it's just a technology that isn't supported. Whether and to what extent that technology will be used remains to be seen.

HDR is a new technology and right now it's early adopter territory with all the incompatibilities, limitations and high costs that go with it. If you want everything to just work then I'd definitely wait another couple of years at least, It wouldn't surprise me if it took five years to get really good HDR (KS9800/Z9D quality) at the UH850 price point

It's not just the standards either, the implementations - particularly local dimming and rolloff - on a TV like the UH850 are very limited.

I'm not familiar with the Vizio but judging from rtings review it looks fairly decent, akin to a Philips PUS7601, so that might be a reasonable choice for the next five years or so. Chances are HDR10 will continue to be widely used. Every Blu-ray UHD disc that's been released supports it, even the two or three (literally) that have Dolby Vision as well.

Although of course every TV has trade-offs so make sure the weaknesses next to your current LG matter less to you than the benefits.

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