Thursday, December 7, 2017

UHD Premium video recording brings lifelike colors to Snapdragon 845 devices

As display densities approach an inflection point, companies have started looking for new ways to improve image quality — specifically in the areas of color space, contrast ratios, and high dynamic range (HDR). With the announcement of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 and the Spectra 280 Image Signal Processor (ISP) at the Snapdragon Technology Summit on Wednesday, Qualcomm’s setting the bar high.

Over the past several years, Qualcomm’s paved the way when it comes to smartphone video. From its pioneering implementation of 4K recording on the Snapdragon 800 to the Snapdragon 835’s Ultra HD Premium (UHD Premium) certification, the San Jose, California-based chipmaker has consistently broken new ground and forged new paths, and the Snapdragon 845 is no different. It’s the world’s first to support UHD Premium HDR video recording and playback at 60 frames per second.

uhd premium

Source: Qualcomm

Just what’s so special about Ultra HD Premium? Basically, it’s a 4K HDR standard (defined by the UHD Alliance) that specifies the ultra-wide color gamut and bit depth of certified displays. UHD’s deep color — otherwise known as 10-bit color — devotes 30 bits per pixel color. That means you get 1024 shades of each primary color to work with for a total of 1.07 billion colours, which is a 64 times the 16.7 million colors that your average computer monitor or TV can display. Simply put, the wider color gamut delivers noticeably more detail, all but eliminating artifacts like color banding in photos and videos.

While UHD Premium’s advantages don’t stop there; it also supports wide-gamut color formats. Historically, most TVs, computer monitors, and smartphone displays have targeted the sRGB color space (and the comparable ITU-R Rec. 709 color space), which only covers around 35.9% of the visible spectrum (as represented by the CIE XYZ color space). UHD Premium devices, on the other hand, support wide color gamuts like Adobe RGB and DCI-P3, which span 52.1 percent and 53.6 percent of CIE XYZ, respectively. And they require ITU-R Rec. 2020, which covers a stunning 75.8 percent of CIE XYZ colours.

uhd premium

Source: Wikimedia Foundation

UHD Premium results in a much more immersive viewing experience than the 8-bit color gamuts most of us are used to, and all Snapdragon 845-based devices will, in theory, be able to take full advantage.
Arguably the best part of Qualcomm’s advancement is the sheer number of devices that will be able to make use of it right away. Only smartphones and tablets with the Snapdragon 845 will be able to capture UHD Premium video, but thank to Qualcomm and its partners pushing heavily for HDR displays in device, there are already hundreds of millions of smartphones that can play back UHD Premium content.

If Qualcomm’s plans come to fruition, you’ll be able to record UHD Premium video on a Snapdragon 845-based device, upload it to YouTube, and share it with your friends. If those friends have a phones, laptops, or TVs that support UHD Premium playback, they’ll be able to take full advantage of the expanded color space right away. But even if their devices don’t support UHD Premium, they’ll be able to view it just fine — applications like YouTube and Netflix already switch between UHD Premium and non-HDR content as appropriate

UHD Premium video recording is, simply put, one of the most significant advancements in Spectra 280’s imaging technology since last year’s introduction of HDR support. It’s a major win for Qualcomm, and a step forward for the smartphone industry as a whole.

What do you think of the improvements coming to the second-generation Spectra ISP? Sound off in the comments!

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