Xperia™ XZ Premium is loaded with cutting-edge technologies including a 4K HDR screen for unprecedented image quality. Sony’s TV division – BRAVIA® – has been producing 4K HDR screens since 2015, so how did we take it from TV to smartphone integration in under two years?
To find out we went directly to the people who made it happen, Touch and Display engineers Jeremy Huang and Naoki Matsubara in Tokyo, Japan. With 10 years of service between them working across Xperia tablets and handsets, the guys took us through the journey 4K HDR made from BRAVIA to the XZ Premium…
Hi both. We love the outstanding image quality of XZ Premium’s 4K HDR screen. Did you and BRAVIA work together to integrate 4K HDR for mobile?
JH: Of course, utilising the knowledge and expertise of both Xperia and BRAVIA teams, we are able to provide a similar viewing experience for the users on XZ Premium.
Was it a case of taking the BRAVIA technology and simply “reducing the size” or did you have to start from scratch?
JH: A lot of work had to go into making it for mobile, after all, viewing a television set in the living room where the lighting conditions are mostly stable is different from viewing a mobile set in all kinds of conditions outside. Everything had to be from scratch. Also, since a mobile set runs on battery, power efficiency is one of the key areas that we had to work on.
Sounds challenging. How long did the process take from concept to actually viewing it on the handset?
JH: It took roughly one and a half years from original concept ideas to the actual hardware realisation.
What were your biggest obstacles over that period?
JH: A few things come to mind. Supporting 4K HDR for the first time, power efficiency for mobile batteries, different lighting conditions outdoors, colour tuning to match BRAVIA television sets and working with new chipsets. Given that we used a new chipset to support this 4K HDR, our tuning had to start from scratch.
Collaboration with the chipset makers as well as various teams at Sony was critical to the success of the implementation. Panel variations are always something that we tackle with every project and given that the colour representation of HDR is extremely important, I would say more detail and care had to go into the tuning process.
So how will users benefit from 4K HDR on mobile handsets, like the XZ Premium?
NM: 4K HDR content has more clarity, detail and colour information. Previously, this content could only be watched in your living room. If you use XZ Premium, you can enjoy a luxury movie experience anywhere.
How much more can mobile screen quality improve – have we reached the limit?
NM: We believe that XZ Premium gets the best image quality ever created in the Xperia family, but display technology is progressing day after day. We continue researching improvements and we will provide them for customers as soon as possible.
We look forward to seeing what those might be! What’s your prediction for the next breakthrough in display technology?
NM: It is a difficult question for us, but we are reviewing some attractive new technologies for the future. One of them may become a breakthrough one day, but new technology certainly has its challenges. Our work is to find solutions to these challenges and bring even better experiences into your hands.
What about 8K, how long until this will be available on mobile?
NM: We understand 8K broadcast won’t start until 2020 so if we see it coming to mobile it certainly won’t be for a while. In my personal opinion, 4K resolution is the perfect size for mobile use, but of course if I can watch 8K content on the mobile display then I’ll want to make the most of it.
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