Image: HDMI LA

An update to the HDMI 2.1 specification appears to be just around the corner, and it’s poised to introduce at least one exciting new feature.

As announced by the HDMI Licensing Administrator (HDMI LA) during a pre-CES 2022 virtual press conference this week, HDMI 2.1a will introduce a new feature called Source-Based Tone Mapping (SBTM). SBTM aims to enhance and optimize the HDR experience by improving the way a display might handle varying forms of content (e.g., HDR, SDR, dynamic HDR, graphics) that are shown on screen at the same time.

Image: HDMI.org

“For example, when you view a menu of video thumbnails from a streaming video service, some of the thumbnails might be HDR and others might be SDR, and the menu is rendered using graphics,” HDMI.org explained. “To optimize the quality of the combined content, processing is needed in the Source device that cannot be performed inside the display.”

“Source-Based Tone Mapping (SBTM) enables the source to send a video signal that takes full advantage of a specific display’s HDR capability by adjusting its output to take better advantage of each display’s potential. As with other HDR technologies, rather than adopt a fixed set of color and brightness ranges, SBTM allows the Source to adapt to a specific display. SBTM can also be used by PCs and gaming devices to eliminate manual user optimization for HDR.”

SBTM is a feature that should prove particularly useful to PC users, as a typical working environment comprises various windows that might include different types of content. HDR and SDR videos could presumably be displayed simultaneously while retaining their proper color spaces.

Source: HDMI.org (via TFT Central)

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