High dynamic range lighting is becoming more than just a buzzword used to sell newer television screens or talk about lighting in tech demos. As technology has evolved over the years, it has become more common in gaming as a large number of AAA studios incorporate HDR lighting into many of their games. However, this has typically been a case where the technology used in gaming has been held back by the latest innovations in technology. Today Dolby announced that its Dolby Vision HDR technology will find its way into console gaming: exclusively on the Xbox Series S and Xbox Series X, other platforms to follow.
Dolby Vision is another standard in high dynamic range formatting that is intended to compete with HDR10 + and HLG. A large number of television screens today will use one of these HDR formats. In fact, the TV I use in my home office uses Dolby Vision: the TCL 55R615. Dolby Vision is designed to help display a higher number of colors at a higher intensity, similar to other forms of HDR, but with more demanding specifications. Tom’s Guide offered this comparison between the 10-bit color of HDR10 and Dolby Vision’s support for 12-bit.
Dolby Vision provides instructions or metadata, which can change from scene to scene, telling the TV when to depress contrast or increase a particular color. In addition, Dolby’s maximum specification for consumer TVs extends up to 12-bit color depth for a possible 68 billion colors (compared to the old 8-bit color depth of Rec. 709, which only reproduces 16.7 million possible colors). On the brightness side, Dolby Vision enables levels that reach 4,000 nits or more.
In comparison, HDR10 uses a fixed set of metadata, which gives televisions less flexibility in handling different scenes in a given movie. HDR10 also prescribes a 10-bit color depth for up to 1.07 billion possible colors. For brightness levels, HDR10 displays aim at 1,000 nits or more. But these numbers don’t tell the whole story.
While your TV might have been able to support Dolby Vision, what you got out of your console was usually an HDR10 signal in the supported software. With today’s announcement of Dolby, that will change in the coming months as it has been announced that the next generation of Xbox consoles will be the first new hardware to take advantage of the HDR standard. Not only does this mean gaming, but all of that Netflix that you will experience in the next year will soon be upgraded to Dolby Vision as Dolby announced that Dolby Vision for gaming will be available in 2021.
Introduction to the next level of play
The Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S are the first consoles with games in Dolby Vision® (available soon) and Dolby Atmos® (available at launch)
@ Xbox, welcome to playing in Dolby. https://t.co/5lkpVT8ntb
– Dolby (@Dolby) September 10, 2020
When you get a new Xbox Series S or Xbox Series X, you have instant access to Dolby Atmos, with your one-time license fee carried over if you use the same profile from the Xbox One family of consoles. If you don’t already own Dolby Atmos, you can download the free Dolby Access app and get a free trial to try Dolby Atmos for headphones before you decide to purchase the $ 14.99 license fee.
Dolby Vision for games on Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S will be available in an update currently planned for 2021. Since Dolby has determined that it launches * first * and not * exclusively * on these consoles, we should learn more about Dolby Vision as it hits the PlayStation 5 and other supported platforms in the coming months. Now, if you want to try Dolby Vision and see how your TV handles it, you can try the Netflix app on Xbox One X.