Dolby Vision IQ is one of the newest technologies in the world of high dynamic range content, and it aims to make your HDR experience even better. Here’s how it works and why it matters.
Optimizing HDR for Your Room’s Lighting
The lighting conditions of a room can significantly impact your HDR content viewing experience. For example, if you are watching a dark scene in a brightly lit room, you might miss out on some darker details. And a filmmaker or a TV show creator can do little about it without compromising on their vision.
Dolby has understood this problem since the launch of Dolby Vision, which is the company’s proprietary HDR format. That’s why you will find two modes—Dolby Vision Cinema and Dolby Vision Cinema Home—on your TV. While the Cinema mode retains the creator’s creative intent, the Cinema Home mode is slightly brighter to compensate for the artificial and natural light present in homes. But these modes don’t completely solve the issue, and Cinema Home strays from the creator’s vision.
So Dolby has sought to tackle the problem by bringing Dolby Vision IQ. It is an update to the Dolby Vision HDR format that comes encoded with metadata to optimize each frame of HDR content for your TV’s capabilities.
Dolby Vision IQ uses the encoded metadata and information from a light sensor present in your TV to dynamically adjust the HDR picture to suit the ambient light and content genre while keeping the creator’s creative intent. So whether you are watching TV in a dark room or a room with a ton of light, your TV will automatically adjust the HDR picture quality to ensure you don’t miss any details.
Which TVs Have Dolby Vision IQ?
Dolby Vision IQ’s availability on televisions has gradually expanded since its introduction in early 2020. As of late 2021, you can find it in select premium televisions from LG, Hisense, Panasonic, and TCL.
Some manufacturers like Sony use Dolby Vision in their TVs but haven’t yet jumped on the Dolby Vision IQ bandwagon. However, several Sony TVs come with the company’s own feature that uses the ambient light sensor input to adjust TV brightness and color temperature. In addition, it works with both SDR and HDR.
Others like Samsung use something called HDR10+ Adaptive in their TVs. HDR10+ Adaptive works similarly to Dolby Vision IQ and adjusts the HDR10+ content according to ambient light using the embedded metadata.
If your existing TV supports Dolby Vision HDR and you’re wondering whether it can get Dolby Vision IQ through a software update, you are out of luck. Given the light sensor requirement in the TV for Dolby Vision IQ, the feature is unlikely to reach older TV models. Even the manufacturers that sell TVs with ambient light sensors have made no announcements about bringing the Dolby Vision IQ update to their existing lineup until now.
How to Experience Dolby Vision IQ
To experience Dolby Vision IQ, you need two things—a Dolby Vision IQ-compatible TV and any Dolby Vision content. As Dolby Vision IQ is not a new HDR format, it doesn’t need content to be specially designed for it, and any Dolby Vision content can benefit from the feature on your TV.
When you play Dolby Vision content on your TV, typically, it would automatically engage Dolby Vision IQ enhancements. If you need to enable the feature, the process will be different on different TVs. For example, to experience Dolby Vision IQ on an LG TV, the picture mode needs to be Dolby Vision Cinema Home with AI Brightness Control option enabled.
Dolby Vision content is becoming more available. You can find it on streaming services like Netflix, Apple TV+, Disney+, and Amazon Prime Video, as well as places to buy or rent movies like iTunes and Google Play Movies & TV. In addition, Dolby Vision has made its way into gaming, and Xbox Series S and Series X support the HDR format.
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