Sony Engineer: External Metadata Not Necessary To Preserve Creative Intent

Toshiyuki Gura, Chief Distinguished Engineer, Sony, declared at the 2018 IEEE Broadcast Symposium that external metadata isn’t necessary to preserve creative intent.

Which isn’t all that surprising, given that SMPTE defines HDR10 metadata, but not what televisions should do with it. Other manufacturers also ignore static metadata, applying instead their own tone mapping on a frame-by-frame basis. Robert Zohn, President,, explains (ca. 2017):

“Samsung has proposed a change to the SMPTE ST.2086 base standard HDR10 by adding dynamic metadata so it can perform much like Dolby Vision. Another very similar method that measures each frame on the fly and tone maps the display to its brightness capability, which is commonly called “active HDR”.

LG and Sony are doing “active HDR” with the current base standard HDR10 on all of the 2017 X1 Extreme processor TVs, like the A1E OLED, Z9D, X940E and X930E, and LG employs a very similar active HDR10 processing with their SJ9500, C7, E7, G7 and W7 OLED TVs.

As I am more familiar with how Sony’s active HDR10 operates I’ll keep my comments to Sony’s 2017 X1 Extreme models. You might notice very little difference between Dolby Vision and HDR10 on Sony’s X1E equipped TVs. Sony HDR TVs don’t use the static brightness metadata in HDR10 (MaxCLL, MaxFALL) they actually measured brightness frame by frame and generate dynamic metadata for HDR10 content.”

If TVs could do a better job of preserving creative intent by ignoring MaxCLL and MaxFALL static metadata altogether and using their own signal analyzers, we’re all for it. For now, the best way to ensure faithful reproduction of content mastered on a P3 1,000 nit reference monitor is to view it on a comparably spec’d display, eliminating the need for tone mapping entirely. 😅

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