You may think your current HDTV is bright enough, but Dolby disagrees. The company, which is known more for its audio tech than its imaging capabilities, has been putting a lot of effort into developing a new type of imaging technology that offers up to 4,000 nits of backlight out of an LED panel. Compared to the TV standard of 100 nits, this is certainly a hefty improvement. Why is such a thing helpful? The 100-nit limit makes life difficult for filmmakers in post-production because they're not able to represent their masterpiece with perfectly accurate colors; there's only so much you can do to accurately portray the real world on such a limited budget of light. Bumping the display up to 4,000, however, allows the viewer to enjoy a much better experience.
Dolby showed us a prototype of this experimental tech, which we're told will likely be exhibited at CES next month (either in prototype or in a consumer product, though this will be up to individual manufacturers). The 2K panel sat next to a production monitor that many filmmakers use as their current reference -- in other words, what they use for viewing their footage before it goes through the process of compression and other tweaks -- and the difference was night and day. Despite the fact that both monitors have the same resolution, the prototype (on the left in the above image) offered far more realistic colors, higher dynamic range and more contrast sensitivity, all of which were factors that created a fantastic viewing experience. As an example, the skies were bluer on the new monitor, and clouds that were barely noticeable on the production model actually popped out far more accurately on the prototype.
We're told that the new imaging technology has already been shown off to key filmmakers in the industry, and that we'll likely see a lot more (including, we hope, an official name) on display at CES. Where it goes from there, Dolby tells us, is all up to manufacturers. And while we may see a lot more of this tech in the near future, there's no guarantee that other companies will build their monitors to the same spec (manufacturers aren't forced to go all the way up to 4,000 nits, for instance). Regardless, we'll happily take one when they start making their way into production.