Televisions seemed to stay fairly static in terms of technological development shortly after the big leap from standard definition to 1080p hi definition. But the development of new television technology seems to have suddenly gone into overdrive again. At recent Consumer Electronics Shows newer and more innovative features have become a mainstay, and even in readily available TVs, things like smart TV capabilities and 4K resolution are becoming increasingly common. That begs the question; what are the cutting edge technologies that are on the horizon of the television market? We take a look at televisions of the future and what’s to come on the home entertainment front.
What the heck is HDR even – and why do you need 10+ of it? Boiled down; HDR (or High Dynamic Range) refers to the dynamic range of colour and contrast and originated as a term in photography. It has since moved over into the television industry jargon, because it’s relevance to the contrast between bright white and deep black ranges, and the better the HDR and the more pronounced the variation between colours will be. HDR tech is currently all the rage in 4K displays, but HDR10+ will begin to push the envelope on what even the best 4K displays are capable of.
Hybrid Log Gamma
This sounds like the stuff that turned Bruce Banner into the Hulk, but Hybrid Log Gamma is actually another technology that has serious implications for the faster uptake of 4K televisions. This isn’t really considering it from the consumer side so much as it is the broadcaster side, though. HDR signals, as discussed above, will give far better colour quality, but this means broadcasting (or streaming) content will require massive amounts of bandwidth to carry all the data. Hybrid Log Gamma, though, can simplify the signal process of HDR so that it requires less bandwidth. This means broadcasters could achieve HDR-level broadcasts with their current equipment and won’t need to upgrade to expensive new infrastructure, making 4K HDR content a closer reality.
The resolution race in the TV space has been heating up fast since the introduction of 1080p, but that’s seeming like a pixelated mess compared to what we’re going to be enjoying sooner rather than later. “I haven’t even got a 4K screen yet!” most people will incredulously say – but don’t worry, 8K isn’t necessarily a direct successor to 4K. The thing about the kind of resolution 8K will provide is that it only starts becoming relevant when you’re talking about a screen that’s 80 inches or larger. What 8K will allow is for screen sizes of those dimensions to have exceptional quality and not lose any clarity. Since 4K and HDR technology is still so new, 8K TVs are very much at the early adopter stage and won’t be that relevant for a little while longer, but it does show how quickly display technology is developing.
Now this is a serious leap forward in technology – but like all incredible innovations it’s still in its teething stage and won’t be ready for mass consumption for some time. LED (Light Emitting Diode) screens are nothing new, and they operate on the use of thousands of little light diodes all arranged in across a screen to create an incredibly bright image. As the name would imply, MicroLED tech shrinks the LED diode to almost microscopic levels, and would entail millions of the tiny diodes being flawlessly set up to produce incredible quality, and because it wouldn’t use organic material in the diodes (like OLED screens, or Organic Light Emitting Diode) it would last longer. The only problem is that the manufacturing process to set the millions of little lights up perfectly hasn’t been mastered, yet – but it’s unlikely to be very long before a reliable technique has been ironed out.
So is all this technology really necessary to enjoy content, or is some of the improvement eventually going to be barely noticeable to the human eye? Only time will tell. Until then we as consumers can simply enjoy the benefits of all this technological advancement in the comfort of our own homes.
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