How high dynamic range support enables richer colors on Apple TV 4K

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited September 2017
Apple has added high dynamic range, or HDR, to the new Apple TV 4K. AppleInsider explains what the term means as it pertains to 4K video, and how it applies to the new set-top box.




During the Sept. 12 release event, Apple unveiled the new Apple TV. Now called the Apple TV 4K, not only did the update bring a new processor and 4K support, but it also brought HDR to the table.

If you read no further, fearing a technical delve, a key takeaway is this: HDR in a photo is not the same as HDR in video. The two features share a common name, but do different things.

HDR in video

Resolution, meaning 720p, 1080p, and 4K, aren't the only measurements of video content.

Apple has been touting color accuracy for some time. It has also been focusing strongly of the contrast of its own devices as well -- but it can't control this in televisions made by other manufacturers.

What it can do, is control what it outputs on the Apple TV. As implemented by Apple, HDR dramatically opens up both contrast and color accuracy to televisions that allow it.

The difference between sRGB in most televisions and DCI-P3 is hard to demonstrate on most monitors that don't support the larger color gamut. However, a standard representation exists depicting the limits of human vision, and the subset of color reproducible on a display can be outlined on that.




In the above image, the colored region represents the outer limits of perception in a human's color vision. The black triangle represents sRGB's limits of presentation.




In contrast, the DCI-P3 standard, and Apple's Wide Color implementation in the iPhone 7 and later, has a larger area underneath the triangle, representing the greater array of displayable color possible.

Coupled with a wider color gamut implemented in the device, with HDR there are more colors available, plus the colors are brighter giving the picture reproduction closer to what the human eye can experience in total.

Practically, this means that a fall foliage photo will be more uniform, with less color banding and other digital approximation artifacts introduced into the picture when captured on devices all capable of the DCI-P3 color range. HDR throughout the entire delivery chain from provider to television can have whiter whites, blacker blacks, and more vivid colors with fine detail apparent.

Two out of three ain't bad

There are three divisions of HDR content: Dolby Vision, Hybrid Log-Gamma (HLG), and HDR10. Apple has implemented Dolby Vision and HDR10. Specifically, the HEVC Dolby Vision Profile 5 and HDR10 Main 10 profiles are supported up to 2160p.

There is a variant of HDR10 called HDR10+ that has been announced in tandem by Amazon and Samsung. The 2017 4K TVs from Samsung support the protocol, but nothing else at this juncture. It is unclear if the expanded HDR10+ spec will gain any traction.

Three parts to the equation

The Apple TV 4K is only one part of the triumvirate of necessary points for the best picture. The content itself must be compatible, as must the television.

Recent content delivered by Hollywood and other media producers can be compatible. So must the television -- and not all 4K televisions are capable of HDR. So, if you've got a 4K set now, it might be worth a delve into the specs of it to see if you have HDR, or not.

Hollywood is introducing more and more 4K content -- and much of it now is HDR. But, like the sets themselves, what may be 4K is not necessarily HDR.

Whatever is the most limiting factor in the delivery chain will cut back on the quality of the video's presentation. Up until Friday when the Apple TV ships, Apple's set-top could have been the limitation.

Now, it's up to Hollywood, the television manufacturers, and your own wallet.



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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 26
    I really wouldn't say 2 out of 3 ain't bad for HDR. There is no HLG content and we probably won't see anything for a long time. HLG is meant for broadcast content on cable TV. At the rate it took for stations to change from SD to HD, I'm sure it's going to be years before we see content providers with Live 4K channels in HLG. 
    baconstangargonautmdriftmeyercali
  • Reply 2 of 26
    jbdragonjbdragon Posts: 2,150member
    I think most people are not getting a large enough 4K TV to make 4K really matter. They already had a 1080P TV that was to small and then got a 4K TV that wasn't larger or lightly larger. When in reality, from what most people sit from their TV screen's, 6, 8, maybe 10 feet away, you should be looking at 80+" and larger 4K displays. They get pretty costly into those sizes. You start getting into Front Projectors at that point, and True 4K projectors are in the 5 grand and up range. Front projectors as far as I know don't support HDR just because of the way the picture is displayed I guess.

    What most people will notice on their 4K display is not the higher resolution which you can't really tell the difference being so far away. Get up 1 foot in front of the display, OK. It's going to be HDR that you notice. Really what that means is going from the whitest White to the Blackest Black. That's really what HDR comes down to.
    tmaygregg thurmanStrangeDaysargonautstompyedrednetroxwilliamlondon
  • Reply 3 of 26
    I really wouldn't say 2 out of 3 ain't bad for HDR. There is no HLG content and we probably won't see anything for a long time. HLG is meant for broadcast content on cable TV. At the rate it took for stations to change from SD to HD, I'm sure it's going to be years before we see content providers with Live 4K channels in HLG. 
    For that matter, there is hardly any 4K HDR10/Dolby Vision content. Even if every movie on iTunes was updated (which doesn't appear to be even remotely close to being the case), it will still be a fraction of the watchable content on Apple TV.

    I said it before when people were needlessly whining about the lack of 4K on Apple TV...it is still way early. This is a long-term play, that won't see any real benefit for years to come. Personally, I'm happier to have a 1080p TV right now, because I know that 99% of the content I'm watching is in 1080p.

    If there was any reason to, I would run out and buy a 4K TV today and get ready for the 4K Apple TV experience. But there is no reason to. Movies from iTunes is 1 app on Apple TV....1 out of 7 or 8 that get routine use in my house.

    I'll check back in 2-3 years when other services have caught up and 99% of content is in 4K and HDR/Dolby Vision.
    argonaut2old4funwilliamlondon
  • Reply 4 of 26
    Cracks me up how they ditched the 720, 1080 trend and rather than call it what it is, 2160, they go with the horizontal measure.
    WooHoo 4K....Marketing!
    edred2old4fun
  • Reply 5 of 26
    I really wouldn't say 2 out of 3 ain't bad for HDR. There is no HLG content and we probably won't see anything for a long time. HLG is meant for broadcast content on cable TV. At the rate it took for stations to change from SD to HD, I'm sure it's going to be years before we see content providers with Live 4K channels in HLG. 
    For that matter, there is hardly any 4K HDR10/Dolby Vision content. Even if every movie on iTunes was updated (which doesn't appear to be even remotely close to being the case), it will still be a fraction of the watchable content on Apple TV.

    I said it before when people were needlessly whining about the lack of 4K on Apple TV...it is still way early. This is a long-term play, that won't see any real benefit for years to come. Personally, I'm happier to have a 1080p TV right now, because I know that 99% of the content I'm watching is in 1080p.

    If there was any reason to, I would run out and buy a 4K TV today and get ready for the 4K Apple TV experience. But there is no reason to. Movies from iTunes is 1 app on Apple TV....1 out of 7 or 8 that get routine use in my house.

    I'll check back in 2-3 years when other services have caught up and 99% of content is in 4K and HDR/Dolby Vision.
    No way it's early. Every new movie coming out is in 4K HDR. How much content do you need? Between iTunes, Amazon, Netflix, Vudu, etc there is a ton of 4K content out there right now and its growing rapidly. If you had a 4K TV, you would also be able to watch hundreds of 4K blu ray titles as well. 
    gregg thurmanwilliamlondon
  • Reply 6 of 26
    tmaytmay Posts: 3,838member
    I really wouldn't say 2 out of 3 ain't bad for HDR. There is no HLG content and we probably won't see anything for a long time. HLG is meant for broadcast content on cable TV. At the rate it took for stations to change from SD to HD, I'm sure it's going to be years before we see content providers with Live 4K channels in HLG. 
    For that matter, there is hardly any 4K HDR10/Dolby Vision content. Even if every movie on iTunes was updated (which doesn't appear to be even remotely close to being the case), it will still be a fraction of the watchable content on Apple TV.

    I said it before when people were needlessly whining about the lack of 4K on Apple TV...it is still way early. This is a long-term play, that won't see any real benefit for years to come. Personally, I'm happier to have a 1080p TV right now, because I know that 99% of the content I'm watching is in 1080p.

    If there was any reason to, I would run out and buy a 4K TV today and get ready for the 4K Apple TV experience. But there is no reason to. Movies from iTunes is 1 app on Apple TV....1 out of 7 or 8 that get routine use in my house.

    I'll check back in 2-3 years when other services have caught up and 99% of content is in 4K and HDR/Dolby Vision.
    No way it's early. Every new movie coming out is in 4K HDR. How much content do you need? Between iTunes, Amazon, Netflix, Vudu, etc there is a ton of 4K content out there right now and its growing rapidly. If you had a 4K TV, you would also be able to watch hundreds of 4K blu ray titles as well. 
    As the back catalogs of studios get filled with 4K HDR, I can see some benefit. "Hundreds" of titles doesn't mean that someone will find these "Hundreds" of titles to their liking. I'd be surprised if I bought 1 in 50 of every new release available, and of "popular" titles I'd guess 1 in 20.

    There just isn't that much media worth buying or renting, 4K or otherwise, and frankly most of the streaming 4k is going to be a poor viewing experience compared to a download.
    argonautstompywilliamlondonbaconstang
  • Reply 7 of 26
    jbdragon said:
    I think most people are not getting a large enough 4K TV to make 4K really matter. They already had a 1080P TV that was to small and then got a 4K TV that wasn't larger or lightly larger. When in reality, from what most people sit from their TV screen's, 6, 8, maybe 10 feet away, you should be looking at 80+" and larger 4K displays. They get pretty costly into those sizes. You start getting into Front Projectors at that point, and True 4K projectors are in the 5 grand and up range. Front projectors as far as I know don't support HDR just because of the way the picture is displayed I guess.

    What most people will notice on their 4K display is not the higher resolution which you can't really tell the difference being so far away. Get up 1 foot in front of the display, OK. It's going to be HDR that you notice. Really what that means is going from the whitest White to the Blackest Black. That's really what HDR comes down to.
    Thanks for the explanation Dragon.  Because of the new Apple TV 4K I bought (but haven't received as yet) a new Vizio 55" UltraHD 4K set (no HDR) to replace my 2007 Vizio 47" TV.

    I'm excited to get the new Vizio and the new Apple TV 4K.
    stompycali
  • Reply 8 of 26

    For that matter, there is hardly any 4K HDR10/Dolby Vision content. Even if every movie on iTunes was updated (which doesn't appear to be even remotely close to being the case), it will still be a fraction of the watchable content on Apple TV.

    I said it before when people were needlessly whining about the lack of 4K on Apple TV...it is still way early. This is a long-term play, that won't see any real benefit for years to come. Personally, I'm happier to have a 1080p TV right now, because I know that 99% of the content I'm watching is in 1080p.

    If there was any reason to, I would run out and buy a 4K TV today and get ready for the 4K Apple TV experience. But there is no reason to. Movies from iTunes is 1 app on Apple TV....1 out of 7 or 8 that get routine use in my house.

    I'll check back in 2-3 years when other services have caught up and 99% of content is in 4K and HDR/Dolby Vision.
    No way it's early. Every new movie coming out is in 4K HDR. How much content do you need? Between iTunes, Amazon, Netflix, Vudu, etc there is a ton of 4K content out there right now and its growing rapidly. If you had a 4K TV, you would also be able to watch hundreds of 4K blu ray titles as well. 
    Apple, as it always does, is getting the hardware in consumer's hands BEFORE it introduces new software/feature capability.  Introducing a 4K Apple TV isn't meant for viewing current 4K content, its meant for viewing APPLE'S 4K content.  The 4K AppleTV will drive Apple's Services revenue growth to 20+% per annum (making Services Apple's #2 revenue stream).
    cali
  • Reply 9 of 26
    tmay said:
    I really wouldn't say 2 out of 3 ain't bad for HDR. There is no HLG content and we probably won't see anything for a long time. HLG is meant for broadcast content on cable TV. At the rate it took for stations to change from SD to HD, I'm sure it's going to be years before we see content providers with Live 4K channels in HLG. 
    For that matter, there is hardly any 4K HDR10/Dolby Vision content. Even if every movie on iTunes was updated (which doesn't appear to be even remotely close to being the case), it will still be a fraction of the watchable content on Apple TV.

    I said it before when people were needlessly whining about the lack of 4K on Apple TV...it is still way early. This is a long-term play, that won't see any real benefit for years to come. Personally, I'm happier to have a 1080p TV right now, because I know that 99% of the content I'm watching is in 1080p.

    If there was any reason to, I would run out and buy a 4K TV today and get ready for the 4K Apple TV experience. But there is no reason to. Movies from iTunes is 1 app on Apple TV....1 out of 7 or 8 that get routine use in my house.

    I'll check back in 2-3 years when other services have caught up and 99% of content is in 4K and HDR/Dolby Vision.
    No way it's early. Every new movie coming out is in 4K HDR. How much content do you need? Between iTunes, Amazon, Netflix, Vudu, etc there is a ton of 4K content out there right now and its growing rapidly. If you had a 4K TV, you would also be able to watch hundreds of 4K blu ray titles as well. 
    As the back catalogs of studios get filled with 4K HDR, I can see some benefit. "Hundreds" of titles doesn't mean that someone will find these "Hundreds" of titles to their liking. I'd be surprised if I bought 1 in 50 of every new release available, and of "popular" titles I'd guess 1 in 20.

    There just isn't that much media worth buying or renting, 4K or otherwise, and frankly most of the streaming 4k is going to be a poor viewing experience compared to a download.
    I disagree. Streaming 4K isn't a poor viewing experience. Have you watched any Dolby Vision titles on Vudu? They look pretty amazing. Even the HDR titles on Amazon and Netflix look really good. I think there is a ton of good 4K media worth buying. I just watched the newly released E.T. 4K blu ray over the weekend. The movie looks pretty awesome in 4K HDR. 
  • Reply 10 of 26
    I wonder when the new 4K TV sets will incorporate ATSC 3.0 tuners. ATSC 3.0 will allow 4K transmissions over the air.

    Added:  https://www.atsc.org/
    edited September 2017
  • Reply 11 of 26
    fallenjtfallenjt Posts: 3,979member
    jbdragon said:
    I think most people are not getting a large enough 4K TV to make 4K really matter. They already had a 1080P TV that was to small and then got a 4K TV that wasn't larger or lightly larger. When in reality, from what most people sit from their TV screen's, 6, 8, maybe 10 feet away, you should be looking at 80+" and larger 4K displays. They get pretty costly into those sizes. You start getting into Front Projectors at that point, and True 4K projectors are in the 5 grand and up range. Front projectors as far as I know don't support HDR just because of the way the picture is displayed I guess.

    What most people will notice on their 4K display is not the higher resolution which you can't really tell the difference being so far away. Get up 1 foot in front of the display, OK. It's going to be HDR that you notice. Really what that means is going from the whitest White to the Blackest Black. That's really what HDR comes down to.
    Not really matter. The so called 4K on a 85" screen may not look better than 30" at 1080p. 4K marketing bs term got to go. Let's be true: UHD or 2160p is not 4K. No TV on the market has 4,096 x 2160 resolution but 3840 x 2160. Advertising 3840 as 4K is beyond BS.
    calibaconstang
  • Reply 12 of 26
    fallenjt said:
    jbdragon said:
    I think most people are not getting a large enough 4K TV to make 4K really matter. They already had a 1080P TV that was to small and then got a 4K TV that wasn't larger or lightly larger. When in reality, from what most people sit from their TV screen's, 6, 8, maybe 10 feet away, you should be looking at 80+" and larger 4K displays. They get pretty costly into those sizes. You start getting into Front Projectors at that point, and True 4K projectors are in the 5 grand and up range. Front projectors as far as I know don't support HDR just because of the way the picture is displayed I guess.

    What most people will notice on their 4K display is not the higher resolution which you can't really tell the difference being so far away. Get up 1 foot in front of the display, OK. It's going to be HDR that you notice. Really what that means is going from the whitest White to the Blackest Black. That's really what HDR comes down to.
    Not really matter. The so called 4K on a 85" screen may not look better than 30" at 1080p. 4K marketing bs term got to go. Let's be true: UHD or 2160p is not 4K. No TV on the market has 4,096 x 2160 resolution but 3840 x 2160. Advertising 3840 as 4K is beyond BS.
    Everything for home use should really be advertised as UHD. 4K is the standardized spec for movie production. 
    baconstang
  • Reply 13 of 26
    fallenjtfallenjt Posts: 3,979member
    fallenjt said:
    jbdragon said:
    I think most people are not getting a large enough 4K TV to make 4K really matter. They already had a 1080P TV that was to small and then got a 4K TV that wasn't larger or lightly larger. When in reality, from what most people sit from their TV screen's, 6, 8, maybe 10 feet away, you should be looking at 80+" and larger 4K displays. They get pretty costly into those sizes. You start getting into Front Projectors at that point, and True 4K projectors are in the 5 grand and up range. Front projectors as far as I know don't support HDR just because of the way the picture is displayed I guess.

    What most people will notice on their 4K display is not the higher resolution which you can't really tell the difference being so far away. Get up 1 foot in front of the display, OK. It's going to be HDR that you notice. Really what that means is going from the whitest White to the Blackest Black. That's really what HDR comes down to.
    Not really matter. The so called 4K on a 85" screen may not look better than 30" at 1080p. 4K marketing bs term got to go. Let's be true: UHD or 2160p is not 4K. No TV on the market has 4,096 x 2160 resolution but 3840 x 2160. Advertising 3840 as 4K is beyond BS.
    Everything for home use should really be advertised as UHD. 4K is the standardized spec for movie production. 
      Agreed. Thank you for verifying that.
  • Reply 14 of 26
    Two burning questions: (1) HDR - is there any support for current 1080 HD TVs and HDR content (2) if answer to #1 is YES, can any earlier AppleTVs deliver 1080p HDR to any degree?
  • Reply 15 of 26
    calicali Posts: 3,495member
    I really wouldn't say 2 out of 3 ain't bad for HDR. There is no HLG content and we probably won't see anything for a long time. HLG is meant for broadcast content on cable TV. At the rate it took for stations to change from SD to HD, I'm sure it's going to be years before we see content providers with Live 4K channels in HLG. 
    For that matter, there is hardly any 4K HDR10/Dolby Vision content. Even if every movie on iTunes was updated (which doesn't appear to be even remotely close to being the case), it will still be a fraction of the watchable content on Apple TV.

    I said it before when people were needlessly whining about the lack of 4K on Apple TV...it is still way early. This is a long-term play, that won't see any real benefit for years to come. Personally, I'm happier to have a 1080p TV right now, because I know that 99% of the content I'm watching is in 1080p.

    If there was any reason to, I would run out and buy a 4K TV today and get ready for the 4K Apple TV experience. But there is no reason to. Movies from iTunes is 1 app on Apple TV....1 out of 7 or 8 that get routine use in my house.

    I'll check back in 2-3 years when other services have caught up and 99% of content is in 4K and HDR/Dolby Vision.
    buddy have you seen the titles added to iTunes?
    For a moment we were able to see 4k titles available on iTunes and the library was already bigger than Vudu. It's not even day one yet!!


    Can anyone answer this question please:
    What is the reason for the W1 chip in the new Apple TV? What benefits?

    cant find any info anywhere not even on Apple's site.

    P.S. fix this horrendous forum AppleInsider!!
  • Reply 16 of 26
    Two burning questions: (1) HDR - is there any support for current 1080 HD TVs and HDR content (2) if answer to #1 is YES, can any earlier AppleTVs deliver 1080p HDR to any degree?
    There is no support for current 1080p TV's and HDR. Sony did release a TV with 1080 HDR support, but it's actually rather useless unless you use a PS4. Still, other than gaming, there aren't any streaming apps that support 1080 HDR that I'm aware of. I don't think we will ever see 1080 HDR support either since UHD TV's are becoming the standard. 
    williamlondon
  • Reply 17 of 26
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,769administrator
    cali said:
    I really wouldn't say 2 out of 3 ain't bad for HDR. There is no HLG content and we probably won't see anything for a long time. HLG is meant for broadcast content on cable TV. At the rate it took for stations to change from SD to HD, I'm sure it's going to be years before we see content providers with Live 4K channels in HLG. 
    For that matter, there is hardly any 4K HDR10/Dolby Vision content. Even if every movie on iTunes was updated (which doesn't appear to be even remotely close to being the case), it will still be a fraction of the watchable content on Apple TV.

    I said it before when people were needlessly whining about the lack of 4K on Apple TV...it is still way early. This is a long-term play, that won't see any real benefit for years to come. Personally, I'm happier to have a 1080p TV right now, because I know that 99% of the content I'm watching is in 1080p.

    If there was any reason to, I would run out and buy a 4K TV today and get ready for the 4K Apple TV experience. But there is no reason to. Movies from iTunes is 1 app on Apple TV....1 out of 7 or 8 that get routine use in my house.

    I'll check back in 2-3 years when other services have caught up and 99% of content is in 4K and HDR/Dolby Vision.
    buddy have you seen the titles added to iTunes?
    For a moment we were able to see 4k titles available on iTunes and the library was already bigger than Vudu. It's not even day one yet!!


    Can anyone answer this question please:
    What is the reason for the W1 chip in the new Apple TV? What benefits?

    cant find any info anywhere not even on Apple's site.

    P.S. fix this horrendous forum AppleInsider!!
    Where do you get the W1 is in the Apple TV 4K?

    Forums: The forums literally cost us both time and money. We like you guys, so we keep them open. However, they are not paying the bills.
  • Reply 18 of 26
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,769administrator

    Two burning questions: (1) HDR - is there any support for current 1080 HD TVs and HDR content (2) if answer to #1 is YES, can any earlier AppleTVs deliver 1080p HDR to any degree?
    1) Yes. Some Sony televisions have it.
    2) Not as far as I am aware.
  • Reply 19 of 26
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,796member
    Here are current, and standards that have been agreed upon, but not yet implemented on consumer devices. You’ll notice that some of these can fall out of our ability to see them. ITU-R BT.2020, thankfully otherwise known as REC 2020, is the standard most likely to succeed next. The others are not likely to be coming to anything we can buy.

    the problem, as can be seen, is that as color gamut’s get larger, using RGB, they become unwieldy. At some point, a forth color will become necessary. My guess would be cyan, the color to the left middle.


    edited September 2017
  • Reply 20 of 26
    mac_128mac_128 Posts: 3,449member
    Two burning questions: (1) HDR - is there any support for current 1080 HD TVs and HDR content (2) if answer to #1 is YES, can any earlier AppleTVs deliver 1080p HDR to any degree?
    There is no support for current 1080p TV's and HDR. Sony did release a TV with 1080 HDR support, but it's actually rather useless unless you use a PS4. Still, other than gaming, there aren't any streaming apps that support 1080 HDR that I'm aware of. I don't think we will ever see 1080 HDR support either since UHD TV's are becoming the standard. 
    Right. And this would be the main issue for those wanting to upgrade their Apple TV. If they haven't purchased a 4K panel with HDR yet, and aren't planning to, then there's little reason to upgrade to this version of the Apple TV, unless Apple offers a compelling reason in the form of needing that additional storage for gaming, or other apps. The HDR marketing angle really only applies to their customers who are living on the front lines of technology and have purchased a 4K TV with HDR in the last couple of years. If it also supported 1080p HDR, that would be an awesome selling point, but it doesn't.  It's too bad they didn't also include some must-have improvements as well as 4K. But that's not likely a big deal for Apple, as I'm sure it didn't cost them too much to add 4K to make those minority customers happy until they are ready to roll out their new ATV. It feels like the main motivation to buy this one, over the standard TV 4, if you're still holding onto an Apple TV 3 as I am, is for future-proofing the investment. And I presume one main motivation for a lot of regular customers is adding the Amazon App -- which probably dooms any chance of Amazon adding that App to the Apple TV 3? 
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