High dynamic range (HDR) technology is rapidly changing today's video landscape by offering spectacular visual experiences. The development in display technology to support higher luminance levels for commercial and consumer electronic devices such as TVs, smartphones, projectors etc., has created an exponential demand for delivering HDR content to viewers. The essential component of the HDR technology is “expanded contrast,” which allows richer black levels and enhanced brightness, providing dramatic contrast that reveals finer details. The use of “wide color gamut” allows wider color spectrum and richer colors providing aesthetically pleasing true-to-life feel. Such visual enhancements clearly establish HDR as one of the most significant upcoming video technologies.
In this paper, we review major technical advances in this exciting field of study. Quantization of HDR signals is reviewed in the context of transfer functions that convert optical signals to electrical signals and vice versa. They mainly consist of Perceptual Quantization and Hybrid-Log-Gamma approaches. Compression of HDR content is another broad area of study involving several coding approaches, often categorized in terms of backward-compatibility and single/dual layer methods. Some key industry applications of HDR processing systems are also discussed, followed by some future directions of HDR technology.