Years after they made their debut, 4K televisions are finally affordable. It was only a matter of time, but the average viewer is only now beginning to upgrade to the latest standard in display technology. But despite all the hype that 4K resolution has received, Netflix is confident that another technology will be the real difference maker this generation.
In an interview with Digital Trends, Neil Hunt, chief product officer at Netflix, said that the company sees High Dynamic Range as “the next big thing in TV.”
“I think HDR is more visibly different than 4K,” said Hunt. “Over the past 15 years, we have had plenty of increments of pixels on the screen, and from what we saw with digital cameras, pixel count eventually stopped being interesting.” To the untrained eye (or even a well-trained eye), 25 megapixels vs. 20 megapixels becomes indecipherable.
“In the real world, you have 14 bits of brightness difference, so imagine stepping outside to look at a reflection of water or shadow of a tree that’s between 12 and 14-bits of range,” Hunt continued. “TV only represents 8 bits, so you lose one or the other; you can’t have the brights and the darks at the same time.”
That’s the key to creating an image that the viewer has never seen before — light and colors, rather than more pixels. Netflix is going to put a great deal of effort into bringing HDR content to the market this year, even if it takes some time for the TV manufacturers and the consumers to catch up.
“The big step for Netflix this year is that we’re shooting our original shows with cameras that are capable of capturing all the range, then mastering for HDR,” Hunt said. “That includes all the metadata for both types of TVs because we worked with the manufacturers to render it properly. We’re ready to start building a library and the TVs are making a big leap this year.”
Be sure to read the full interview at Digital Trends.