At long, long last, it seems that the Dolby Vision ‘raised black levels’ bug (detailed here) that’s been driving LG OLED owners mad for months now has been resolved. Though in an unexpected twist, the resolution hasn’t actually come from LG.
Since posting a story revealing that Sony’s X700 4K Blu-ray player has received a (in many ways rather borked) new firmware update enabling it to play Dolby Vision discs, a number of people have contacted me to report that when they play Dolby Vision discs from an updated X700 into their 2017 and even 2016 LG OLED TVs, the old raised black level problem has disappeared.
This holds true, moreover, with both 4K Blu-rays and the X700’s built-in Dolby Vision-supporting apps.
These startling reports have been backed up in recent hours by a growing number of posts on various AV-based forums.
I’ve asked LG if it can confirm that the X700 update does indeed solve the Dolby Vision over HDMI bug on its OLED TVs, but have received no reply yet.
I noted in my article about the X700 update that after applying it, I couldn’t see any trace of the tell-tale greyness suddenly infusing the black bars around wide aspect ratio Dolby Vision content on a 2018 LG OLED77C8. But the growing body of evidence to show that the X700’s new Dolby Vision profile fixes the Dolby Vision black level bug on older LG sets too is much more remarkable.
Let’s not forget, after all, that when Dolby admitted to me at the CES in January that the raised black level Dolby Vision bug over HDMI existed, it stated unequivocally that the only way to fix the issue was to apply a software update to displays.
Yet here we have a Dolby Vision SOURCE seemingly fixing the problem, while we’re still waiting impatiently for LG to provide its displays with a full fix (or any sort of fix when it comes to its 2016 models).
Even more bizarrely, the latest Dolby Vision profile the X700 4K Blu-ray player has received was ostensibly designed to benefit Sony, not other brands. The thing is, Sony TVs with X1 Extreme processors that have received their Dolby Vision update still can’t ‘see’ Dolby Vision from external devices unless those devices have received their own compatibility update.
Yet somehow, as well as finally closing the Sony Dolby Vision source-to-screen circle, the latest Dolby Vision source profile also seems to have solved a much wider problem.
The bizarreness of the situation doesn’t end there, either. The thing is, the first external device to receive a firmware update that let it deliver Dolby Vision to Sony TVs was the Apple TV 4K. Yet this update did not fix the raised black level issue with LG OLEDs.
So is the implementation Sony has applied to the X700 different to the profile applied to the Apple TV 4K? Or is Sony handling the same profile differently, somehow?
One last interesting twist in all this is the news I broke last night that Oppo is about to add the Sony TV-friendly Dolby Vision profile to its 4K Blu-ray players. Will this also fix the LG OLED raised black level bug? We should know soon enough.
The bad news in all this for LG OLED TV owners, of course, is that with LG still unable to deliver a display-based fix for the Dolby Vision over HDMI bug, at least to its 2016 OLED models, LG owners may be faced with the prospect of having to spend extra money on a new 4K Blu-ray player to solve the issue. So let’s hope LG doesn’t use this Sony X700 development as an excuse to stop working on its own display-based solution.
Nonetheless, with LG’s ability to deliver its own fix to the Dolby Vision OLED bug problem looking more and more uncertain with every passing day, the fact that any solution exists at all will probably come as a relief to many long-suffering LG OLED owners.
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