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Deep color 12-bit video promised for existing Blu-rays and TVs

If CES 2014 is anything to go by, this year will be all about Ultra HD 4K TV. But one of the current issues is a lack of content able to take advantage of this latest advance in TV technology.

We've already heard that streaming 4K video from Netflix could become a reality as early as next month, with the second series of House of Cards poised to be the first 4K streaming content.

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However, one American company has now announced a new process that it says will bring more media into line with HD and UHD 4K by delivering 'deep color' 16-bit movie content to compatible TVs.

Folded Space says the availability of deep color content encoding/decoding algorithms will allow compatible HD and UHD 4K displays to show rich, vibrant colours from original film elements, boosting the picture quaklity beyond existing 8-bit Blu-ray discs.

Content with 12-bits per colour is processed into an 8-bit Blu-ray disc – the current standard, making it compatible with existing players – before it's restored to a 12-bit quality by new TVs and Blu-ray players with the Deep Color decoding capability.

According to Folded Space, the process doesn't require much additional bandwidth or processing power to provide the 12-bit colour on compatible devices.

The company – a division of anamorphic lens manufacturer Panamorph, Inc. – says it will licence the encoding algorithm to software partners free of charge and the decoding algorithm to disc player and display partners for a "modest fee".

John Schuermann, who leads business development at Folded Space, said: "Real life has a stunning range and depth of colors that has always been muted by limitations in the way content is delivered to the home.

"With DCE, studios can now release Blu-ray discs and even next generation UHD/4K physical media to support what’s commonly considered to be the most important, most visual improvement in next generation video."

MORE: Ultra HD 4K TV: reviews, news and everything you need to know

by Pete Hayman

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