What is HDR?
Much Brighter, Much More Realistic
Films and TV programmes that have been shot in HDR (High Dynamic Range) will appear with a much wider brightness range than you usually see with recorded video. This means you can experience image content like reflections from bright sunlight, skies and rays of light with a natural intensity it wasn’t previously possible to capture.
To give you some idea of just how much of a difference HDR makes, the range of brightness you get with the previous bt.709 video standard is just 0.1 nit-100 nits. With HDR this can rise to 0-10,000 nits (for the so-called ST 2084 HDR standard).
What’s more, HDR does not simply increase the perception of contrast by expanding the brightness range; it also expands the colour space. This means colours can appear with both more vibrancy and more subtlety, enabling you, for instance, to more clearly distinguish the tonal differences between extremely bright sunlight and the white walls of a building.
In other words, HDR finally lets you see on a TV screen the full beauty of the real world as experienced by your eyes every day.
Matching HDR to the Way Your Eyes Work
Although the natural world possesses an extremely wide brightness range, the pupil in the human eye is capable of adjusting the way it perceives this range to match the surrounding environment. If it didn’t do this, we would always see the world with a dynamic range of 10,000:1.
To recreate the way the human eye works, HDR content is recorded using a Perceptual Quantiser curve that’s based on the characteristics of human sight. Panasonic’s DX900 TVs are capable of reproducing this curve precisely when playing HDR content, ensuring that HDR pictures always look natural and realistic.
Ready for what’s next? Ultra HD Premium
Ultra HD Premium is the new standard for guaranteeing a premium, full-featured 4K Ultra-HD in-home experience.
It was put together by the UHD Alliance, a cross-industry body composed of the leading film studios, consumer electronics manufacturers, content distributors and technology companies, with Panasonic as one of its board members.
For a TV to qualify as an Ultra HD Premium TV, it must pass performance metrics related to resolution, high dynamic range (HDR), and wide colour gamut, amongst others. All products which bear the Ultra HD Premium logo are not self-certified – they have to pass stringent tests at independent authorised testing centres.
Advances in resolution, brightness, contrast, colour and audio will enable certified displays and content to replicate the richness of life’s sights and sounds and allow in-home viewers to more fully and accurately experience the content creator’s vision from the comfort of their home.
Panasonic’s DX900 is an Ultra HD Premium certified TV.
“ULTRA HD PREMIUM™” logo is trademark of the UHD Alliance, Inc.
Panasonic HDR Premium Technology
To accurately show HDR content, a TV must be able to faithfully reproduce the characteristics of the Perceptual Quantiser curve shown in the graph on the right. However, this is extremely difficult for conventional LCD panels, for two main reasons:
(1) Brightness: Images will be washed out in high and low brightness areas.
(2) Colour Space: Accurate colour reproduction will be hard to achieve (especially in dark areas)
Panasonic’s DX900 TVs, though, introduce new technologies designed to solve both these LCD HDR problems.
Panasonic has managed to achieve a higher contrast from the DX900 by implementing a unique new honeycomb-structured panel that allows for much more localised light control than LCDs traditionally provide.
Also, when the input signal exceeds the screen’s maximum brightness level, Panasonic’s DX900 TVs adopt a unique tone curve that ensures pictures retain detail in even the brightest scenes.
The DX900 additionally uses unique signal processing and control over local dimming zones to produce smooth and exceptionally fine black gradation levels. This means the DX900s can produce deep, rich black colours from an LCD screen that rival those previously only possible with self-illuminating panel technologies (like plasma and OLED) while also retaining intricate details within dark scenes.
Panasonic has drawn on 3D Look Up Table (LUT) technology used by its professional monitors division to enable the DX900s to reproduce colours with exceptional accuracy at virtually any level of brightness over the Rec. 709 colour space. In addition, a proprietary correction algorithm is applied to make sure images appear with the same levels delivered by the studio master monitors used in Hollywood productions.
On top of all this, the DX900s HDR playback has been extensively tuned at Panasonic’s Hollywood Laboratories to ensure that it precisely matches the intentions of the filmmakers.
1. Groundbreaking contrast thanks to Panasonic’s new honeycomb panel
Panasonic’s unique new ‘honeycomb-structure’ local dimming technology – exclusively used in the DX900’s new Professional Cinema Display – can combine a peak brightness of over 1000nits with black level depths similar to those achieved by plasma TVs.
The DX900 Honeycomb-structure local dimming system uses hundreds of individually controllable lighting zones each rigidly separated from its neighbour to counteract the light ‘blooming’ effect around bright objects commonly seen on LCD panels. In other words, with the DX900 bright areas stay bright while dark areas stay dark, resulting in just the sort of exceptionally high contrast needed to deliver an industry-leading HDR performance.
2. Unique Panasonic Tone Curve, processing and light control deliver superior dark area reproduction
As discussed earlier, since outputting images based on the PQ curve is essential for the faithful reproduction of HDR content, Panasonic has developed its own proprietary tone curve system to make sure bright areas don’t look washed out when input signal levels exceed the screen’s maximum brightness.
In addition, the DX900 addresses the problem you get with conventional LCD TVs where there’s a lag in producing the ideal PQ curve, especially in dark areas. Panasonic applies unique signal processing and ultra-fine control over each local dimming zone to produce a smooth, fine expression of black gradation levels, meaning you can enjoy deep, rich black colours similar to those you get with self-illuminating technologies without having to sacrifice intricate details in dark scenes.
[Gradation：Black Gradation Drive]
The signal detected by Panasonic’s new HCX+ processor is used to adjust gradation steps in dark areas.
Conventional LCD TV
Achieves smooth gradation and intricate black expression in dark scenes.
3. Panasonic's unique colour reproduction technology approaches the level of a master monitor
Building on its long experience of providing filmmakers with professional video equipment, Panasonic has introduced to home-use TVs the 3D Look-Up Table (3D LUT) colour system developed for its professional monitors. This ensures that they reproduce the colours of both old and new video standards with unique precision.
For instance, using a professional standard 3D LUT circuit makes it possible to set the Rec. 709 colour space in extremely fine brightness steps for accurate colour expression at virtually any level of brightness. Especially as Panasonic’s system applies 6-axis coordinate compensation - including the CMY complementary colours as well as RGB, - to deliver the ultimate in colour accuracy.
The DX900s are the first consumer TVs technically capable of delivering accuracy which verges on that of the professional studio master monitors used in Hollywood productions.
Faithful colour reproduction is achieved by correcting colour errors at each colour coordinate point, from low to high brightness. This produces images approaching the master monitor level.
Colours retain their accuracy even in dark areas.
With normal LCD screens a lag exists from the ideal colour coordinates.
Fluctuations in the DX900's colours are at the same level as a master monitor
Faithful colour reproduction is achieved by correcting colour errors at each point of the colour coordinates, from low to high brightness. This produces images approaching the master monitor level.
Colours are expressed in dark areas without collapsing.
A lag exists from the ideal colour coordinates.
4. Tuned by Hollywood Experts
As one final step to ensure that the HDR performance matches the vision of the filmmakers, the DX900 HDR playback has been extensively tuned at Panasonic’s Hollywood Laboratories.
Vice President and Director
Panasonic Hollywood Laboratory