The Game of Thrones prequel House of the Dragon is now available on HBO Max (and Sky in the UK), and it should be a sight to behold. That's not only down to the direction and cinematography, but the tech involved – it's the first HBO Max series to screen in 4K Dolby Vision HDR with Dolby Atmos virtual surround sound, flatpanelshd (opens in new tab) reports.
HBO Max has screened movies before with all these technologies, but never a TV series.
Dolby Vision seeks to show HDR (high dynamic range) images as accurately as possible. It does so through the use of dynamic metadata – this carries scene-by-scene instructions that a Dolby Vision-capable display can use to make sure it portrays the content as close to the filmmakers' vision as possible. Its rival, HDR10, only has static metadata, making it less accurate.
Dolby Atmos, meanwhile, adds overhead channels to surround sound, enveloping the viewer in a bubble of sound. Because it can pinpoint sounds and voices to exact points within the soundfield rather than simply assigning them to specific channels, it creates a more convincing 3D soundstage, and more immersive AV experience.
HBO Max in Europe has also stopped converting its series from 24fps to 25. Both Game of Thrones and House of the Dragon are now available in their original 24fps in Europe.
Set 200 years before Game of Thrones, House of the Dragon tells the story of the House Targaryen. "It's a story about very flawed human beings, capable of doing good things, capable of doing monstrous things," says George R.R. Martin, on whose books both series are based. "These are the kind of characters I love the most."
Season 1 consists of ten one-hour episodes, each made on a budget of $20 million. Here's how to watch it, even if you're not in the US.
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