It was as clear as Ultra HD 4K at last week’s CE Week retail panel on “Present and Future Challenges of Selling TV” that the panelists were as jazzed by High Dynamic Range (HDR) technology as they were, years ago, about the move from standard definition TV to HD. But getting the public just as jazzed means dropping the jargon, ramping up the demos, and making the tech story palatable and believable to a consumer base that had been inadvertently led on – and let down – before (read: 3D TV).
The advent of HDR “should be Golden Day One for retailers - and it’s not,” opined Joel Silver, president of the Imaging Science Foundation (ISF), which conducts training in video calibration and helps companies meet video reproduction standards. He cited a string of past squandered opportunities – such as the “crash and burn” of 3D TV, “streaming – convenient, but not resembling good” quality, and often, even 4K, which can “look the same as 2K from a normal viewing distance” - that have created a “credibility issue” with the public.
But Silver suggested that redemption is at hand with HDR, where consumers can see the benefits “across the store… The challenge is not the technology. We need to get consumers in the stores. The industry’s cried wolf before; this time, we’re telling the truth.” Silver credited the engineering forces at companies such as Dolby Laboratories and the standards-setting influences of organizations such as SMPTE (the Society of Motion Picture & Television Engineers) with helping to forge and refine HDR technology, which he characterized as “a new language of light…There’s tons of content available – we just have to tell them at retail.”