Status and Trends in High Dynamic Range

Session Description

High Dynamic Range (HDR) is the ability to expand the contrast of an image and the display to increase the peak luminance while also creating darker black levels. The improvement over standard definition (SDR) content and displays is dramatic and visible from across the room – something that UHD does not enable. Many see HDR as the most important image improvement since the move to high definition.

The ability to capture, master, distribute and display HDR content is just beginning to take hold in 2015, but there remain many questions, concerns and challenges. This session will explore these issues with a series of presentations, a panel discussion and demonstrations of HDR vs. SDR

Today’s SDR standard is based on an 8-bit pipeline with mastering done at a peak luminance of 100 nits. This was based on the capabilities of CRT displays, which are essentially no longer n the market. Today’s displays are capable of much higher peak luminance and deeper black levels, so the introduction and standardization of HDR makes sense.

Current film and broadcast cameras are capable of capturing HDR content, but the SDR pipeline does not retain this capability. Now, tools are available to master new content and convert legacy content to HDR. How fast will these be adopted? Do the economics work? Do competing approaches ignite or retard market adoption? How will creatives use this new pallet?

On the distribution front, standards are still not in place. Some favor a dual stream approach and others a single stream. How will this debate evolve? What will be the impact of HDR on bandwidth? What about the ability of legacy set top boxes and TVs to receive or ignore HDR content? Over The Top distribution looks to lead the roll out, but will other methods follow?

Display of HDR content is needed as well. The first TVs and professional monitors are available now, but how fast will this be rolled out across the industry? What about HDR displays for other professional applications in digital signage, corporate, museums, etc.? Are connection standards ready for HDR?


  • Philips will do a side by side demonstration of their HDR encoding scheme by showing how content can be displays on a high luminance (4000 nit) display, on a 1000 nit TV and in standard definition.
  • Canon will show a complete live HDR solution from camera to monitor