Netflix Planning to Stream Mobile HDR Content Ahead of 'iPhone 8'

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Netflix is planning to offer HDR quality mobile content for viewing on supporting devices because of an increasing mobile subscriber base and the company's belief that the format will eventually be universally adopted on mobile platforms.

The comments were made yesterday by Netflix executive Neil Hunt during a briefing with journalists, as part of a two-day event at Dolby Laboratories and Netflix headquarters in San Francisco. Hunt made the remarks as the two companies prepare to launch new Netflix series Iron Fist, which is being shot natively in HDR.

HDR stands for high dynamic range, meaning a display supporting the standard is capable of reproducing a wider and richer range of colors, brighter whites, and deeper blacks. HDR content is already available on Netflix and Amazon Video, but only for streaming to televisions that support the standard. However, Hunt and Dolby executives told The Verge that HDR is about to make the leap from big-screen to mobile, with Netflix aiming to be at the forefront of a global transition.


It's been about a year since Netflix became available globally — with the exception of a few markets, including China, and since then it has seen mobile usage soar. In established markets like the US and Canada, most Netflix watching still happens on TVs, Hunt said; but in some Asian countries, especially India, "mobile screens are the majority consumption device."

Both Netflix and Amazon are said to be gearing up to stream HDR content on mobile devices, possibly as early as April this year, although a specific date from either company has yet to be confirmed. Samsung's recently announced Tab 3 with AMOLED display is the first tablet to support videos with greater dynamic range, while the LG G6 is the first phone to support both HDR10 (the 10-bit open standard) and Dolby Vision HDR.

Apple is expected to announce new iPad models soon, possibly as early as next week, but apart from plenty of speculation regarding screen sizes, no rumors have mentioned the display technology that could feature. The same can't be said for Apple's rumored "iPhone 8", which will reportedly have a Samsung-supplied OLED display, making it more likely to support the HDR10 standard.

In addition to the mobile HDR announcement, Netflix said it was considering the idea of streaming mobile-specific cuts of its original movies and TV shows.

"It's not inconceivable that you could take a master [copy] and make a different cut for mobile," Hunt said. To date, Netflix hasn't been delivering different cuts for different viewing platforms, Hunt said, but "it's something we will explore over the next few years."

According to The Verge, the idea would be to create a version of the content with scenes or shots that are more easily visible or immersive on a mobile phone, given that certain shots can be hard to see or can appear diminished on a relatively small phone screen.

Tag: Netflix

Top Rated Comments

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46 months ago

What? Where'd you get that info?

Read any interview about any OLED TV with HDR on the internet. It can't compete peak brightness nits with LED backlight.

It's dynamic range on SDR is better than LED due to the black levels so it makes HDR even less noticeable on the displays. LCD panels are capable of 2000 nits, the very best OLED sets can only do 800nits at the moment.

That coupled with the fact that the black level gradients are not great (but getting better each year) on OLED is why i'm not 100% sold on the technology (yet). Black black are only good if you get every shade of black from 0.1% upwards otherwise you get a jarring black in places there should be subtle details and that's as bad as over contrast. Couple this with LED technology using advanced honeycomb backlighting to emulated OLED's per pixel brightness and the gap between the two is getting closer than ever. Neither is a clear winner, both have pros and cons.

Fundamentally on a phone though the nits are not going to be near high enough to display proper HDR - the Galaxy S7 only manages 440nits. You need at least 550-600 for it to be effective at the top end, maybe Apple are building the brightest handheld OLED ever that competes with it's big brothers.
[doublepost=1489671679][/doublepost]

The up to 1000 nits of brightness of the Apple Watch display with simultaneous perfect blacks isn't enough for you?

1000 nits would indeed be ideal, but no one has built that into a screen the size an iPhone would use yet. Also refrain from using "perfect blacks" perfect BLACK yes, (eg off) however as mentioned the grades of black below 'off' are yet to be anywhere near "perfect" on OLED yet unfortunately.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
46 months ago

I am probably in a small minority, but I couldn't care less about this. It is not like videos look crappy on non-HDR phones. Maybe I just need to see a demo and compare it.

I guess the best thing about this news is what it means for other devices. Maybe one of the great things in Tim Cook's clogged pipeline is a HDR Apple TV.

The buzz I've heard around HDR is that it will have more real impact than the ever increasing resolutions we're seeing on screens (not just mobile). We're already at the point where most people's televisions are too small and/or too far away from their viewing location to realize the resolution they've purchased. A 55" screen at 12' won't produce noticeable image improvements above 720p, it's just too far for our eyes to detect the difference. For that same 55" screen to be useful in 4K you'd need to be 6' away, with most people placing a television on one wall and sitting against the opposite that has to be a very narrow room. A lot of people buy high res just because they feel it is "better" without considering whether they can make use of the resolution in their viewing environment. On the other hand, our eyes are capable of seeing many more colors than the 8 bit RGB system prevalent today (we can see about seven billion compared with 16 million colors in 8 bit color space).
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
46 months ago

The buzz I've heard around HDR is that it will have more real impact than the ever increasing resolutions we're seeing on screens (not just mobile). We're already at the point where most people's televisions are too small and/or too far away from their viewing location to realize the resolution they've purchased. A 55" screen at 12' won't produce noticeable image improvements above 720p, it's just too far for our eyes to detect the difference. For that same 55" screen to be useful in 4K you'd need to be 6' away, with most people placing a television on one wall and sitting against the opposite that has to be a very narrow room. A lot of people buy high res just because they feel it is "better" without considering whether they can make use of the resolution in their viewing environment. On the other hand, our eyes are capable of seeing many more colors than the 8 bit RGB system prevalent today (we can see about seven billion compared with 16 million colors in 8 bit color space).

I understand the impact of HDR for TVs, but I question the impact of having an HDR on the phone.

But again, I am pretty sure I am in a minority.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
46 months ago

Read any interview about any OLED TV with HDR on the internet. It can't compete peak brightness nits with LED backlight.

It's dynamic range on SDR is better than LED due to the black levels so it makes HDR even less noticeable on the displays. LCD panels are capable of 2000 nits, the very best OLED sets can only do 800nits at the moment.

That coupled with the fact that the black level gradients are not great (but getting better each year) on OLED is why i'm not 100% sold on the technology (yet). Black black are only good if you get every shade of black from 0.1% upwards otherwise you get a jarring black in places there should be subtle details and that's as bad as over contrast. Couple this with LED technology using advanced honeycomb backlighting to emulated OLED's per pixel brightness and the gap between the two is getting closer than ever. Neither is a clear winner, both have pros and cons.

Fundamentally on a phone though the nits are not going to be near high enough to display proper HDR - the Galaxy S7 only manages 440nits. You need at least 550-600 for it to be effective at the top end, maybe Apple are building the brightest handheld OLED ever that competes with it's big brothers.
[doublepost=1489671679][/doublepost]

1000 nits would indeed be ideal, but no one has built that into a screen the size an iPhone would use yet. Also refrain from using "perfect blacks" perfect BLACK yes, (eg off) however as mentioned the grades of black below 'off' are yet to be anywhere near "perfect" on OLED yet unfortunately.

That's why there are two separate standards for HDR content, requiring 1100 nits for LCD and only 540 nits for OLED (last I looked). So, even if an OLED set is fully HDR spec'd, it might not be the best choice for viewing with moderate to high ambient light.

That said, even in dark rooms, OLED still isn't perfect as you say... I totally agree about the crushed blacks. I was very close to buying a 65" OLED a few months back but I decided that it wasn't "perfect" enough to shell out $3k for. Actually, I ended up going the projector route (1080p LED with a 92" tensioned screen, spent well under $1k total) and don't regret a thing. Sure, the contrast is comparatively terrible and it's a far cry from HDR, but blu-rays still look fantastic, and that big-screen cinema feel is just plain fun. I'm going to enjoy this setup for a while, until the world of 4K HDR hardware and content gets a little more firmly established.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
46 months ago
"Native HDR" :rolleyes:

HDR just doesn't down sample color depth at the end of editing to fit standard TV colors.
[doublepost=1489670886][/doublepost]

The buzz I've heard around HDR is that it will have more real impact than the ever increasing resolutions we're seeing on screens (not just mobile). We're already at the point where most people's televisions are too small and/or too far away from their viewing location to realize the resolution they've purchased. A 55" screen at 12' won't produce noticeable image improvements above 720p, it's just too far for our eyes to detect the difference. For that same 55" screen to be useful in 4K you'd need to be 6' away, with most people placing a television on one wall and sitting against the opposite that has to be a very narrow room. A lot of people buy high res just because they feel it is "better" without considering whether they can make use of the resolution in their viewing environment. On the other hand, our eyes are capable of seeing many more colors than the 8 bit RGB system prevalent today (we can see about seven billion compared with 16 million colors in 8 bit color space).

Exactly why I need to get a 85" TV to appreciate the higher resolution. :)
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
46 months ago

Interesting considering the next iPhone is runoured to have an OLED screen and OLED isn't bright enough yet to full take advantage of HDR.

The up to 1000 nits of brightness of the Apple Watch display with simultaneous perfect blacks isn't enough for you?

What? Where'd you get that info?

Newer HDR LCD TVs actually have better brightness than OLED TVs. But we're talking about 2500+ nits.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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