Dolby Previews New Video Technologies

"Dolby Laboratories unveiled details of its new dynamic range imaging technologies, Dolby Contrast and Dolby Vision.

Dolby's dynamic range imaging technology, Dolby Contrast provides dramatically enhanced contrast, while Dolby Vision combines dramatically enhanced contrast with extended brightness and dynamic range for LCD televisions with LED backlighting technology.

Dolby Contrast, leveraging light-emitting diodes (LEDs) with local dimming, provides outstanding contrast ratio and improvements to the overall image quality.

Dolby Vision adds to LED backlight units with local dimming advanced high-dynamic range algorithms, which deliver stunning images, by providing simultaneously high brightness and high contrast ratio. In demonstrations, LCD displays with Dolby Vision deliver picture quality that virtually matches real-world visual perception of depth, detail, and color."

Source: Digital Cinema Buyers Guide

"Both Dolby Contrast and Dolby Vision are essentially ways to apply the dimmer switch concept to light emitting diodes. LEDs are being increasingly used as the backlight in flat panel LCD TVs. Dolby Contrast allows the TV to dynamically adjust. One LED could go completely black while its neighbor could be full or high, or the two could offer light that creates slightly different shades of tan.

Dolby Contrast can be used on current LEDs while Dolby Vision is more of a long-term technology that will apply to LEDs that emit more lumens, or light, per watt.

Black has always been a problem for LCDs. As a result, the Dolby technology could heighten the competition with plasma. Plasma TVs do well with black, unlike conventional LCDs.

The technology, according to analyst Richard Doherty of Envisioneering, could even create a third category of displays. Interestingly, NXP Semiconductor, formerly Philips Semiconductor, has come up with a technology that functions differently but with similar results.

The problem now lies in finding customers. Dolby has no signed contracts yet to announce but hopes TVs employing the technology will come out next year or in 2009. The fact that Dolby is at Ceatec, where many of the world's largest TV makers are showing off their latest goods, shows, however, that the company is seeking the right people.

Dolby didn't invent this technology itself. It acquired it from a company called Brightside that it bought. But Dolby is no stranger to video. Founder Ray Dolby started out by developing a system for removing noise and artifacts out of black-and-white video footage. The industry went to color and Dolby went to black and white."

By Michael Kanellos, CNet News Blog