Sony 4K TVs Now Finally Have Dolby Vision Active, But With A Catch
Stephan Jukic – January 18, 2018
Sony promoted the presence of Dolby Vision in its premium 2017 (and eventually 2018) 4K HDR TVs since the beginning of last year but took their sweet time in actually getting the firmware update sent to and working in the models it was slated for.
Well, now, nearly a year or more since the X930E, X940E, OLED A1E and Z9D premium 4K TVs have been on the market and in consumers homes, Dolby Vision has arrived, finally. This already long delay should thus make it even more frustrating for some of you Sony TV owners with one of the above TVs to know that the Dolby update came with a snag right upon arrival.
Basically, the new Dolby Vision update doesn’t allow support for the highly advanced high dynamic range format in content sources coming from any USB, or HDMI source that’s external to the TV itself. In other words, if you’re streaming 4K movies or programming formatted in Dolby Vision HDR through the Netflix or Amazon Prime or other apps and content apps that are built into the TV itself, you’re sitting pretty, but if you try to stream the same Dolby HDR content from external set-top boxes like the Apple TV 4K, for example, or 4K Blu-ray players and streaming sticks, no dice. It won’t work for Dolby Vision and the high dynamic range in the entertainment being streamed will default to its HDR10 version.
As fans of HDR movies know, Dolby Vision delivers what we could definitely call a superior level of dynamic range picture quality compared to HDR10, and this little quirk in how the Dolby standard has been loaded into these expensive premium Sony TVs is annoying to say the least. It’s even more of a shame in this case because Sony’s 2017 line of premium televisions deliver some truly superb picture performance specs that are tailor made for the best possible high dynamic range experience; ideally suited for Dolby Vision.
For those of you who aren’t quite familiar with the differences between Dolby Vision and HDR10 high dynamic range formatting, the Dolby standard offers support for a wider range of colors, wider extremes of contrast and more beautifully refined scene-by-scene HDR augmentation of content. This last feature of it is the most important and what really creates a visible difference between a movie or show watched with Dolby Vision turned on vs. a movie or show watched with HDR10 working in it,
Now to Sony’s credit, we’re not expecting them to leave this Dolby Vision update problem as is. The company knows about the issue and will probably have an update patch that fixes it ready within days. Owners of Sony’s best 2017 4K HDR TVs will get their Dolby Vision from a multitude of sources (especially from external 4K Blu-ray disc players) sooner or later.