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Friday
May252018

Podcast #845: HDR Explained and SVS Soundpath Review

HDR stands for high dynamic range. Theoretically, the technology can provide a higher level of contrast between light and dark images on the screen to create a much more realistic image. We say theoretically because some of the first titles coming out of Hollywood have been somewhat underwhelming. Just like going to HD, Hollywood will get better at mastering in HD. As will the move to better HDR formats.

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SVS Soundpath Wireless Subwoofer Kit

Pretty much from the start we have been searching for wireless solutions to transmit audio from one part of the room to the other. Early attempts have been met with static, pops, and clicks. We have made significant progress over the years and today we are taking a look at the SVS Soundpath Wireless Subwoofer Kit ($90). This product is so simple to use there weren’t even instructions in the box!

Setup

Connect the transmitter (clearly labeled on the unit) to the subwoofer output of your receiver via an included RCA cable and then connect the other end (3.5 mm) to the transmitter. The device gets power via USB. If your receiver has a USB connection you can use that otherwise SVS has included a USB power adapter. Do the same thing at the subwoofer and you are done. Place your subwoofer anywhere you want. The signal reached anywhere we put the sub in our medium sized room (15 X 20 ft). Setup time four minutes! SVS also includes double sided 3M tape to help lock down the device.

Performance

It just works! We tested down to 15hz up to 85Hz. The device is rated from 6hz to 22KHz but our subwoofer only goes to 15Hz and our crossover is set to 85Hz so that’s all we tested to. We could hear no difference from the wired case nor could we perceive any delay. From our ear’s point of view there was no difference in performance.

HT Guys Recommendation

The SVS SoundPath Wireless Subwoofer Subwoofer Kit unlocks the potential of your subwoofer by freeing you to place it in the best spot of your room! Now EVERY subwoofer can be a wireless subwoofer!

 

HDR

HDR stands for high dynamic range. Theoretically, the technology can provide a higher level of contrast between light and dark images on the screen to create a much more realistic image. We say theoretically because some of the first titles coming out of Hollywood have been somewhat underwhelming. Just like going to HD, Hollywood will get better at mastering in HD. As will the move to better HDR formats.

We talked about a format war a few episodes back, what we were referring to were the different HDR formats out there, the main ones being HDR10, HDR10+, and Dolby Vision. Let's go through them, at a high level.

HDR10 - The spec currently uses 10-bit color depth while standard dynamic range uses 8-bit color depth. Metadata transmitted along the video signal down an HDMI cable tells the TV how to display colors. This data is sent at the beginning of the video. While good, you can conclude that the one size fits all approach has some limitations.

Dolby Vision - Dolby Vision supports 12-bit color depth, as opposed to the 10-bit color depth supported by HDR10 and HDR10+. It also features higher theoretical brightness. HDR10 currently maxes out at 4,000 nits (though most content is only mastered to 1,000 nits) while Dolby Vision is designed to support up to 10,000 nits of peak brightness. There may be a bit of this one goes to eleven kind of thing going on with the brightness, but you may conclude that the technology is better designed and that someday the studios may make use of the additional capability.  

Dolby Vision uses dynamic metadata, which can vary by scene or even on a per-frame basis. And it can be transmitted on HDMI 1.4 cables which means that you don’t have to upgrade your receiver to see the benefits.

Vizio, LG, Sony, Hisense, and TCL sell models that support both formats.

HDR10+ - Like Dolby Vision HDR10+ uses dynamic metadata but still uses 10-bit color depth. One advantage HDR10+ has that it is license free which in theory makes it easier for TV manufacturers to adopt.

Firmware Updates - This is a tough question to answer. It is not out of the question that your TV can be upgraded to additional formats. It comes down to firmware and processing power. Your TV may be HDR10 compliant but not Dolby Vision simply due to licensing. Once those details get ironed out there may be a firmware update that brings the capability. If your TV is Dolby Vision capable, then there is a good chance it will support HDR10+.  You may be well served by purchasing a TV that supports Dolby Vision.

Where can you get HDR content?

 

  • Netflix - Dolby Vision and HDR10
  • Amazon Prime - HDR10 and HDR10+ (big push into HDR10+)
  • iTunes  - Dolby Vision and HDR10
  • Google Play - HDR10 and Dolby Vision Coming
  • Ultra Blu-ray - HDR10 and Dolby Vision

 

 

 

 

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