What Is HDR? Here’s What You Need to Know About High Dynamic Range

The future of crystal clear images on televisions has been very much focused on 4K, however, there’s now something just as important as this new resolution to the quality of your image. High Dynamic Range (HDR) has recently joined the specifications for UHD (Ultra High Definition) Premium products. This means that if a TV wants to be deemed a UHD TV (or last year, an SUHD TV), High Dynamic Range technology must be implemented.

While 4K has been explained a fair bit, HDR is something that seems to have appeared out of nowhere and can be a little bit confusing when applying it to TVs. Considering iPhones and other smartphones got the ability to take HDR pictures about five or six years ago, it may seem strange that the same three letters are being associated with the best TVs on the market. Let us explain it for you.

High Dynamic Range technology in TVs brings a huge advance in color, contrast, and brightness which, as cheesy as it sounds, has to be seen to be believed. Essentially, the use of this tech makes bright and colorful scenes really stand out on your screen, but also brings a ton more detail into dark scenes that, on non-HDR TVs looked a little washed out and blurry.

This is all due to the fact that an HDR display’s color range is far greater. To put this into context, the latest home consoles from Sony and Microsoft run on an 8-bit color process and are capable of displaying 16 million colors. In comparison, HDR technology runs on a 10-bit process and can display 1 billion colors. That means you’re getting a much greater range of shades of all different kinds of colors, making the image on your screen more realistic.

While HDR on TV and the HDR mode on your camera essentially do the same thing, the method in which it is produced is different and therefore provides the difference in quality. Your smartphone will simply take several photos taken during a single burst at different levels of contrast. It then processes these different contrasts to get an improved level of contrast and range of colors in your image. Video imaging using this technology, however, simply by uses more advanced camera technology that captures a greater scale of contrast in colors.


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