What's New in AV Technology?

HowToAV talks to expert AV Consultant Michael Heiss about the latest technologies seen at ISE 2017.
We talk about the release of the latest HDMI version - HDMI 2.1 - and when we can expect to see on the market.
HDR - High Dynamic Range - how it works, what improvements it brings to the screen and the different versions which have been released.

What's new in AV technology?

"The one that I would definitely put at the top of the list is HDR which is High Dynamic Range. And it could be applicable to all video formats but it's really only used right now for 4K. And the thing that is a little bit confusing is there are four flavours of that. There's HDR10 which is an open standard, there's DOLBY VISION, strangely enough put out by DOLBY, there's another one called advanced HDR Technicolor and there's a new system called HLG which stands for Hybrid Log Gamma, which was developed by the BBC and the NHK broadcasters in Japan. What all of these things do is allow the viewer to see more content. HDR is the baseline standard and pretty much all those sets have it. DOLBY is an add-on, many of the manufacturers offer it, some don't, and for a variety of reasons and then this HLG is now becoming standard, it will be used mostly for live broadcasts as opposed to the other two which will be more for, if you will, filmed material."

The worries about compatabilities in the future:

"I think the same rules apply to virtually every technology. You must be able to explain to your clients and customers and prospects what each and everyone of these things does; what value it delivers, how much it costs and is it backward compatiable. Do you need to buy everything now, in that case you might want to have this but if somebody is on a limited budget for upgrades and additions you have to parse out what you provide based on what has the most immediate and then backward compatable benefit.

In streaming there are many different devices there's Apple TV, Google Chromecast, Amazon there's Roku etc. You have to be careful if someone says for example they want an Apple TV - here's what it does and here's the quality but there's no 4K, no HDR. This doesn't mean it is bad, it just means no content is available from for example Amazon as these companies don't get along. We have to view this as a holistic thing. If you have a client that's really into streaming you have to make sure that you provisioned enough reliable bandwidth in the residence so that multiple users can stream and it doesn't overload/crash."

Main tips for integrators:

  • Understand your client 
  • Understand their budget
  • Understand what their needs are
  • Understand the technology
  • Build a brief around all these factors
  • Make sure everything is configured to meet the needs of the client
  • Think about what is available now and how long it will be able to provide the entertainment going forward

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