Intel Kaby Lake will have native support for HDR movies
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While the current Skylake generation of processors support encoding and decoding of movies in 8-bit color, the upcoming Kaby Lake generation will up the ante with 10-bit color de/encoding and movie playback in HDR HEVC format. The processor will also directly support decoding of the 10-bit VP9 codec that is so widely used on YouTube.
The hardware support likely stems from the fact that both 10-bit HEVC and VP9 are currently in use for popular streaming websites like Netflix and Amazon Prime where the technology can improve the high dynamic range (HDR) of videos for a better viewing experience. The same codecs also define the Ultra HD Blu-Ray standard as HDR allows for up to 1024 gradations compared to 256 from a traditional 8-bit encoded movie.
Other than the seventh generation of Intel CPUs, both AMD and Nvidia will support HDR de/encoding with Polaris and Pascal, respectively. As an example, the current GTX 1080, GTX 1070, and Radeon RX 480 all support native HDR playback with 10-bit color depth whereas previous generation did not.
HDR content will not work on a handful of current screens and projectors currently in the market. The latest flagship television sets may be HDR-enabled, but corresponding office-size monitors with the same technology have yet to reach the consumer market.
Intel Kaby Lake is on schedule for a late 2016 launch with the upcoming Asus Transformer 3 being one of the first notebooks to ship with the new CPU. More manufacturers are expected to introduce new refreshed notebooks in the months to come.
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