Sony has finally lived up to a promise it made way back in January 2017 by starting to roll out a firmware update for its high-end TVs that enables them to support the Dolby Vision premium HDR format. Great - if late - news, right? Wrong. Unfortunately, far from having Sony TV owners cracking open the champagne, the long-overdue update has got them howling with frustration.
The problem is that the update doesn’t seem to support Dolby Vision playback over HDMI. This means that people with Dolby Vision-capable source devices such as Oppo’s 4K Blu-ray players and the Apple TV 4K cannot actually get those devices to recognize their newly updated Sony TVs as Dolby Vision capable. Nor, it seems, does the firmware update support Dolby Vision playback over USB.
The only Dolby Vision sources that the new firmware update seems to support, in fact, are built-in apps such as Netflix.
So much of an outcry has the Dolby Vision update caused, in fact, that Sony has at the time of writing removed all mentions of Dolby Vision from its latest patch notes. There are even rumors that Sony has started to issue a further patch that takes away again even the limited Dolby Vision support the previous update introduced, but I cannot currently confirm this.
When reached out to Sony for an explanation of what’s going on, but have yet to receive an official response.
One possibility that doesn’t really bear thinking about is that Sony’s current TVs cannot actually support Dolby Vision over HDMI. Preliminary Sony feedback I’ve received, though, suggests that this is certainly not the case and that Sony’s X940E, X930E, A1E and Z9D TVs should indeed be able to play Dolby Vision via HDMI and USB. Also, I actually saw Dolby Vision working over USB on a Sony OLED TV in December, as reported here.
Another explanation is that Sony has decided not to roll out the HDMI part of the update until it’s been able to check and implement the new Dolby-sourced Dolby Vision HDMI ‘bug fix’ I revealed in a recent story.
The most likely explanation at the time of writing, though, as backed up by my early communications with Sony, is that Sony’s TV update has implemented a new ‘profile’ version of Dolby Vision that may be incompatible with the current, older Dolby Vision profiles of various external sources.
As a result, it might be worth making sure that the firmware in your Dolby Vision source equipment is up to date, on the off chance that this fixes the problem. If it does, please let me know via my Twitter account at the bottom of this article. Failing that, it may be that a further frustrating wait is necessary before Oppo, Apple and so on update their devices with the latest Dolby Vision profiles. John Archer – Forbes