Fox, Panasonic and Samsung roll out HDR10+ metadata plan

High-dynamic range has driven dramatic improvements in TV picture quality in recent years.

If you were impressed by demos of high-dynamic range technology at recent trade shows, mark your calendar for next year’s CES in January 2018. That’s when 20th Century Fox, Panasonic and Samsung will show off their new licensing platform and the next wave of HDR magic, which has the working title HDR10+.

According to the official announcement of the initiative, it will enable licensing of metadata to content companies, ultra-high definition TVs, Blu-ray disc players/recorders, set-top box makers and SoC vendors. No royalties will be assessed—“only a nominal administrative fee.”

HDR has gained notice for its dramatic improvements in television picture quality. But previous versions of HDR used static tone mapping, applying one fixed enhancement across an entire piece of content. HDR10+, by contrast, will feature the automatic optimization of brightness, color and contrast in every scene. Not for nothing did executives refer to “filmmakers”—the visionaries likely to become the earliest evangelists for the technology ain’t shooting follow-doc reality shows.

Danny Kaye, executive VP at Fox and managing director of the Fox Innovation Lab, called HDR10+ "a technological step forward that optimizes picture quality for next-generation displays." Its metadata, he added, "precisely describes every scene to deliver unprecedented picture quality." Solutions like HDR10+, he went on, "more accurately realize the vision of our filmmakers beyond the theater."

The companies pointed to several key benefits, saying the setup would likely become the default HDR system. It offers flexibility, with a variety of partners including creators, distributors and manufacturers alike. The release said it “is designed to allow for future development and innovation in order to deliver a more powerful technology in the years to come.”

Attendees at IFA can stop by the companies’ booths to learn more about HDR10+. Updates on the licensing program and a full demo are on tap for CES.