Enticing new 4K UHD developments from Dolby with Sony, MGM, Warner and others
Stephan Jukic – January 10, 2016
Dolby Laboratories is moving quickly to enter the 4K ultra HD video technology landscape. With technologies like HDR (high dynamic range), expanded color gamut and greater contrast overall all under development by the audio/visual technology giant, 4K has a possibly bright (literally) future waiting for it, particularly with the studio partnerships Dolby is also working on.
At this year’s CES event in Las Vegas, the people at Dolby announced that Universal Studios. Sony Pictures, MGM and possibly other major studios will use Dolby technology to enhance the varied visual specs of their 4K UHD content releases.
For example, on January 6th, Dolby and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment announced a collaborative effort to release 4K titles with the inclusion of Dolby Atmos technology over the next few years. The titles will all come from the Sony Pictures content library and will also include the first 4K movies to be released by the studio in 4K ultra HD Blu-ray format in early 2016. Dolby Atmos is a sound format which delivers “captivating audio that places and moves specific sounds anywhere in the room, including overhead, to bring entertainment alive all around the audience”, at least according to the Dolby press release on the Sony/Dolby partnership project.
Some of the first content to be released by Sony with Dolby Atmos technology and other specs from Dolby include “Salt,” “Hancock,” “The Amazing Spider-Man 2,” “Pineapple Express” “Chappie,” and “The Smurfs 2”. Other titles will follow later in 2016.
Sony Pictures plans on offering its customers a “rich enveloping sound experience on both physical and digital formats, including the new 4K ultra HD discs,” according to Sony Pictures President Man Jit Singh.
While Sony Picures is one of the three major current studios which will release titles in 4K Blu-ray, other companies have their own milestones. Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment was for example the first major studio to announce an actual roster of upcoming movie titles in 4K Blu-ray. They made their particular announcement all the way back at IFA 2015 in Berlin, Germany in September. Shortly after that particular press conference, in the same IFA event, Samsung announced their plans for a 4K ultra HD Blu-ray player in 2016. This plan has been fulfilled and the Samsung device is just a couple months away from availability, after being unveiled at CES 2016.
In December of 2015, Warner Brothers also made its own announcement of upcoming 4K UHD titles for the new Blu-ray format, being the second studio to do so, with titles like “Mad Max: Fury Road” and “San Andreas” up for ultra HD release in HDR.
As for the changes in the viewing experience these new 4K-related technologies will provide, according to Sony Pictures President Singh, 4K ultra HD in its latest generation of specs, as set out by the new standards of the UHD Alliance on January 4th, offers “an immersive consumer experience, where the consumer can actually see the quality difference”. In other words, according to Singh, “It’s the first time we have a medium at home where we can provide the range that the 35 millimeter film provides and show a film the way that the creator actually thought of it”.
Sony will also be releasing its new 4K UHD movies with HDR and wider color via digital streaming channels. The studio had announced a deal with Dish Network which will result in select Sony 4K movies coming to the satellite TV company’s newly redeveloped Hopper 3 and 4K Joey DVR devices, at least to compatible 4K TVs.
Sony’s library of 4K UHD videos is one of the largest in the world today and it includes both newer and older movies and shows, including titles like: “Men In Black,” “Ghostbusters,” “ Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” “Bad Boys,” “The Fifth Element,” “Bram Stoker’s Dracula,” “The Da Vinci Code,” and even classic films like “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” “Lawrence Of Arabia,” “The Bridge on the River Kwai,” and “The Guns of Navarone.”
Moving back to Dolby Laboratories, the company will also be partnering with Universal Pictures to offer their customers content with Dolby Vision HDR enhancement. However, for this, no specific titles have yet been unveiled though Dolby claims that the movies which do come out will be available via OTT streaming.
As for Warner Brothers Home Entertainment, it has taken things further along and is already offering almost 40 different movies in 4K ultra HD through the streaming media app Vudu, which is available on numerous 2015 and 2016 4K ultra HD TV models.
Story by 4k.com