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What is Dynamic Range?

Oct 01, 2018

Professor Pixel: Dynamic range. 

Phil Michael: So many dynamic ranges!

Professor Pixel: Yes. Well, I know I don’t have to explain it to you, but for the audience at home dynamic range is a fancy term for the amount of contrast a camera can capture, a playback format can deliver, or display can reproduce. Bright and vivid picture is more than just your display or your UHD blu ray player. It is the culmination of multiple components bearing the Ultra-HD Premium logo. 

Phil Michael: I’m beginning to sense a pattern here. 

Professor Pixel: Indeed. A high-dynamic range or HDR pipeline means that your final display image will be capable of a far greater contrast ratio between peak brightness and black level than ever before. A TV bought in 2015 might have had a contrast ratio of 5000 to one, but today an Ultra HD Premium device can have a ratio of one million to one or more. 

Phil MIchael: What a time to be alive!

Professor Pixel: I know. Let’s say that your current standard dynamic range display seems good. It’s like talking to your best friend on the phone, but it’s nothing like what you get from an Ultra HD Premium certified HDR system. That technology takes it to a whole other level. Now it’s like your best friend being in the same room as you. What you lose in high and low end over the phone is suddenly an undeniable presence that’s hard to describe. It’s like the stars jumping out at you on a moonless night, or the subtle texture in a panther’s fur. 

Phil Michael:It’s what my eyes have been waiting for. 

Professor Pixel: Precisely. Let’s take a look at these. So what do you think?

Phil MIchael: Well obviously the high and low ends are just way better in the HDR one. The bottom ones look all...bad.

Professor Pixel: Precisely. There are a lot of TVs out there that say HDR, or HDR ready, or HDR capable. But with the Ultra HD Premium logo you know that the display you have your eye on meets the UHD’s performance specs for delivering a premium 4K UHD with HDR experience. It makes sure you won’t take or TV or other product home or end up with...you know...bad.

Phil Michael: It’s a game changer for sure. 

Professor Pixel: They’re not just brighter pixels, they’re better pixels.

Phil Michael: It’s like a deep subwoofer and a clean tweeter for your picture. 

Professor Pixel: Nice, Phil. I couldn’t have said it better myself. Hey! Now that we’ve covered brightness, the flip side of the coin is color!

Phil Michael: Let’s do it!