19 Oct HDR: What is really High Dynamic Range
HDR is one of this term usually associate with TV, but it not only affects to this device, but also others. HDR (High Dynamic Range) is set as one of the revolutionary technologies to TV and its experience.
HDR is affecting to the quality of images. It provides more dynamic pictures and quality over the number of pixels that a TV has. Thanks to this technology, bright whites look brighter, dark blacks look darker, and panels are able to display millions of colors as never before. As a result, images have a greater contrast between light and dark, displays true color and the user experience is better.
Anybody could see the improvements an image show when it is viewed in a TV with HDR. You could appreciate these improvements in many ways. For example, in a standard display you could find that, below a certain brightness, the shade of black is always the same. By contrast, in an HDR TV, the range of display goes further. That’s the reason you could difference between something really dark and something that’s just dark.
As we said before, the color HDR is able to show are more realistic, what means that media viewed on this kind of screen are more realistic. The images are closer to what the human eye sees in real life. Even more, this TVs are capable to show an expanded contrast ratio to make black parts of the image look closer to ‘true’ black.
Adding pixels is not enough
Thanks to the HD (High Definition), TV were gaining a lot of extra pixels, what results in an image quality improvement. But, as the size of TV are becoming bigger and bigger, adding pixels is just not enough. There are other aspects of the image that can be improved to offer a better user experience when watching TV.
That’s exactly what HDR does: adds additional colors, better clarity in shadows and highlights. It delivers a more visually satisfying picture, and this experience could not be possible only having extra pixels.
TV and content
Having a HDR TV is not a warranty that all the media showed in it is going to have a brighter and powerful colors. The media showed on it must be also created with HDR or, at least, be HDR compatible.
If you want to find some YouTube HDR videos you can find a dedicated channel to show these improvements. You could find content on HDR in different streaming platform, as Netflix or Amazon. There is a documental in TVE about Segovia that is made also in HDR.
Anyway, in the market we can see a wide portfolio of devices with an Ultra HD Premium logo (you could find this hallmark in TV, but also in Blu-ray players and discs as HDR is a mandatory part of the Ultra HD Blu-ray spec). This means that the screen offers a level of performance that’s guaranteed to get the most out of an HDR source. In terms of specification the screen must have 3840 x 2160 pixels (although this is no different to any other UHD screen) plus it must be able to display a vast number of unique color shades captured within an image.
Nits are a term that’s been adopted by the TV industry to indicate the brightness of a display. 1 nit is approximately equal to the light from a single candle. Most TV screens in use today offer between 300 and 500 nits, so that gives you a good idea of the greater luminosity required to show HDR.
While the big screen might be the best way to indulge in high dynamic range content, it’s not the only way to watch it. HDR has been on most flagship phones since around 2017 with big names, like Apple and Samsung, ensuring the viewing tech is on their newest devices.
These kinds of devices usually support the Mobile HDR standard, a mobile version of HDR released by the Ultra HD Alliance in 2017 for phones, tablets and laptop. This standard includes 10-bit color depth, a minimum of pixels per degree, color space (which may vary from smaller devices like tablets and smartphones to larger screens on laptops), and maximum bit-depth. The aim is to guarantee the displays support HDR content.
Dolby Vision HDR and HDR10
In HDR world, we can also find two different approaches: HDR10 and Dolby Vision. Both are two main HDR formats. The difference is that HDR10 is an open-standard and non-proprietary, whereas Dolby Vision requires license and fee from Dolby.
It is supposed Dolby Vision offers a better image quality, mainly due to its dynamic metadata. It is capable of displaying 12-bit color depth, which amounts to 68.7 billion colors, whereas HDR10 is limited to 10-bit and 1.07 billion colors.
But it is easier to find TV with HDR10 support than Dolby Vision. The reason is simple: HDR10 it’s free (it is not required that vendors pay a fee to support this technology), while Dolby Vision is a copyright feature.
As a conclusion, we can say that HDR10 is a more cost-efficient and widespread format, while Dolby Vision is the premium option.