Broadcasters to Transmit HDR Using HLG
April 03, 2017
HLG – or Hybrid Log Gamma – was developed by UK’s BBC and Japan’s NHK for broadcast TV. Broadcasters in general are expected to adopt the format once they start recording in HDR. At its European launch event in Madrid, Philips announced that all 2016 4K TVs with Android TV (6401 and up) will receive HLG support through a software update. The 2017 models will, of course, also feature HLG. The advantage of HLG compared to for example HDR10 is that broadcasters can transmit SDR (regular TV signals) and HDR via the same channel. TVs with support for HLG will automatically detect the extra HDR information in the signal. At the presentation Philips had placed two 2016 OLED TVs side-by-side to demonstrate the difference between SDR and HDR via a HLG-based broadcast signal. The HDR version had visibly better detail separation in the bright areas (and higher peak brightness). The red color appeared redder but the grass was probably too dark and intense. It is hard to say without a reference monitor but Philips’ picture quality expert, Danny Tack, was quick to point out that they are still tweaking things. The company also explained that TVs must run Android 6.0 (Marshmallow) before HLG can be implemented. The new version of Google’s operating system is currently rolling out to Philips 2016 TVs. A later update will add HLG support. This update is expected in the second quarter of 2017 but timing is not final. HLG will be supported via HDMI, coaxial, and streaming.
Sony, Panasonic and LG have also announced HLG updates for 2016 TVs and in some cases 2015 TVs. At the launch event in Madrid, Philips also announced its 2017 TV line-up, including a new OLED flagship TV and 2017 LCD TVs. The update that brought an ‘HDR Game Mode’ to the popular LG B6 OLED was released in the US in January 2017 but some problems arose so Europeans have had to wait. LG has now finally released the software update in Europe, along with an "improvement to the speaker hum noise" issue. The ‘HDR Game Mode’ is created for gamers who own a PlayStation 4 or Xbox One S. High Dynamic Range gaming is a major step forward but some gamers have complained that input lag – the time it takes for the input signal to reach the screen – has been too high. Besides the B6 OLED, the firmware applies to the 40-70” UH7700 LCD TVs. After the update, input lag in HDR mode should be “less than 30 ms”, according to LG. Additionally, it appears that the new firmware at least to some degree addresses the humming sound from the built-in speakers that some owners of the B6 OLED TV have experienced. It is not clear if the issue is fixed completely.
The 04.31.10 firmware is available to download on LG’s European support pages today. After download you should transfer it to a USB stick and install it. The firmware will be available later as an over-the-air update. This feature should end the challenges on LG’s B6 OLED. HDR on game consoles came as a surprise to everyone in the industry. Other manufacturers have released similar bug fixes but LG has managed to lower input lag more than most of its competitors.