No 4King way: Dolby snuggles its high-def TV tech into MStar SoCs

Will 4K TVs become obsolete as soon as next year?

Dolby Laboratories seems to be one step closer to pushing its version of High Dynamic Range into the TV ecosystem, with a collaboration announced this week with mega smart TV player MStar Semiconductor, which said it would deliver a Dolby Vision 4K Ultra HD SoC to go into TVs next year.

This fits in with our assertions at Faultline that next year all 4K TVs will become obsolete with the release of HDR-ready devices in 2016.

Dolby says that MStar has been working with it for the past two years to optimise Dolby Vision for integration into its MStar video processing engine, and will begin delivery of a SoC within the next year.

Given that MStar claims a 70 per cent market share for the chips that drive smart TVs, Dolby’s presence on the device is a significant boost. However, you could also make the argument that as a chip-maker MStar has to offer this HDR variant, as well as the two other popular ones – from the Society of Motion Picture & Television Engineers and from Technicolor – in order to satisfy all of its customers.

But the Dolby Vision VS10 universal HDR playback solution supports both dual-layer and single-layer Dolby Vision streams and other HDR profiles so it includes the SMPTE ST 2084 standard. This enables displays to take full advantage of a combination of peak brightness, local contrast, and wider colour gamut.

“As early adopters of Dolby Vision, MStar has collaborated with Dolby for the past two years to optimise the HDR engine with MStar’s expertise in display technologies, which will enable the delivery of Dolby Vision to a broader range of TVs,” said Sean Lin, general manager, TV Business Unit, MStar.

Just a few weeks ago Dolby Laboratories announced that China’s HiSilicon had agreed to offer Dolby Vision 4K UHD in its SoC for set tops in the DVB, IPTV and OTT markets, including on Android set tops, which use the HiSilicon Hi3798C V200 chipsets. This was the first global Ultra HD set top chipset solution to support Dolby Vision HDR.

Back in June, Technicolor submitted its own HDR process for standardisation to the Motion Picture Experts Group and said that testing is underway with chipmakers including Marvell and STMicroelectronics.

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