By Pat Griffis, Executive Director, Office of the Chief Technology Officer

You may already have heard about Dolby® Vision™, our new technology that will change the way you experience TV. But you probably haven’t actually seen Dolby Vision, even if you think you have.

You’ll find lots of pictures and videos on the web that purport to show Dolby Vision, often showing images on a Dolby Vision enabled TV in comparison with the same images on a conventional TV. But none of those depictions—including ours—can accurately represent how much of an improvement Dolby Vision is. The problem is that no currently shipping display—whether it’s a TV or a computer monitor—has the capability to show Dolby Vision.

You literally have to see Dolby Vision in person to appreciate how much it changes the TV experience. Dolby Vision displays are brighter, with better contrast and much richer colors. Watching a Dolby Vision display is more like looking out a window than at an LCD screen.

To produce those results, we had to fix what’s broken about the way television images are made, including the way content is created, distributed, and displayed. Current TV images can reproduce only one-third of the colors we can see. And they can generate only a tiny fraction of the brightness found in the natural world.

Unfortunately, it’s not just TVs that are limited—other displays have similar weaknesses. Showing Dolby Vision in an image on your laptop or tablet is like drawing a rainbow with a black pencil—it just doesn’t work.

Dolby Vision color and brightness

While computer displays and tablet screens are somewhat more capable than today’s televisions, they still can’t reproduce the huge range of colors and brightness that a Dolby Vision display can. And digital cameras struggle to capture both the brightest highlights and the deepest blacks on a Dolby Vision image.

The situation is a little frustrating for us. We’re excited about Dolby Vision and, like the proud geeks we are, we want to show off our new creation to as many people as possible. But beyond getting people in a room with a Dolby Vision prototype, we really can’t.

So the best way to understand Dolby Vision is to listen to the people who have seen it firsthand. Bryan Bishop of The Verge calls it “a viewing experience that’s so close to reality it seems like a revelation.” Roberto Baldwin of Wired said “Dolby Vision’s brighter display technology will actually make you want a 4K TV.” David S. Cohen of Variety called Dolby Vision “a dramatic improvement in TV pictures.”

Soon, you’ll be able to see a Dolby Vision television, too. Our manufacturer partners are working on Dolby Vision sets that they hope to launch early in 2015.

In the meantime, perhaps it’s just as well that you can’t see a Dolby Vision display. Because once you do see one, your current HD set will suddenly seem very disappointing.

 

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