New HDR Screen Like "Looking Out A Window"

Loraine Lawson

I love TV. I enjoy countless reruns of Scrubs and That 70s Show. I can watch just about any old B-grade TV show: Xena, Psyched, Forever Knight, Wizards & Warriors (greatest show ever!). I am not a picky viewer.


While I love TV, I'm something of a laggard when it comes to TV technology. I've been using the same 19-inch Magnavox for 15 years. Truth be told, I'm a bit cheap. I can't see paying all that money for a big screen TV when I can just sit a little closer.


Recently, my family -- and the Magnavox -- have started to turn on me. Since my daughter is only four, my mother is lobbying on her behalf for a better TV. My husband is completely on their side. Given that a few pixels here and there are starting to go on the old Magnavox, I guess they might have a point.


So, I've been researching TVs: Plasma, LCD, High Definition, TVs that hang, TVs with stands, TVs with DVDs, and TVs in a ridiculously wide range of lengths. There are a lot of options.


But I think I've made my decision. If the Magnavox can hold out -- and I think it can -- I'll wait for a High-Dynamic Range (HDR) TV.


HDR TVs offer so much more contrast over other types of TVs; it looks less like a picture and more like you're looking out a window, according to this article from Technology Review.


The problem is, most cameras don't capture light in a way that takes advantage of HDR. But not to worry: some animators and video-game makers are taking advantage of it. And research shows software that amplifies pixels on low-contrast pictures can make a better picture on HDR than on regular screens.


Dolby bought out Brightside Technologies, a start-up that developed a prototype, so there's hope. According to Technology Review, the Brightside screen "is illuminated by an array of tiny white light-emitting diodes (LEDs)," whereas traditional screens use a single white backlight.


A TV screen that looks like I'm peering out my window? It'll be just like that episode of Friends, where the gang spy on their neighbors. Now that's definitely worth waiting for.


And I can't help but think this would be useful for businesses, too. Think how much easier it would be to read a high-contrast screen. It could save thousands by eliminating the need for printing out e-mails and articles from the web.


Unfortunately, no one's actually manufacturing them, so I may have a bit of a wait on my hands. The article says the HDR TVs could be available within a year, at the price of a few thousand dollars. I think the Magnavox can hold out another year or two. Now if only the same could be said for my family's patience.

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