Trying to keep up with all the latest tech can feel like an uphill struggle at times, and we can be forgiven for wondering what’s worth it, what isn’t, and can we even tell the difference?
HDR (high-dynamic range) is the latest thing in TV tech, touted to make the viewing of films and shows a noticeably superior experience. So, what’s new?
An SDR (standard dynamic range) television screen consists of many pixels that can display up to 256 shades of red, green, or blue combining to display approximately 16 million colours. On an HDR TV, each light can display up to 1,024 shades of those colours, combining to display over 1 billion potential colours. As a result, HDR TVs display a much greater variety of colours and shades, improving the quality of the imagery.
Streaming services are using HDR as a selling point. In fact, the Disney+ streaming service will offer 4K streaming, including standard HDR and Dolby Vision HDR, as part of its subscription fee. Apple TV+ will be available for streaming in 4K HDR and Dolby Vision.
There are actually two kinds of HDR – HDR10 is the standard and offers around 1 billion colours, and Dolby Vision which can offer up to 68 billion colours. That’s a significant upgrade though Dolby Vision-compatible televisions are inevitably more expensive than ones that just work with HDR10.
However, it’s not easy to visualise the jump in visual quality of an HDR television without directly comparing it with an older-generation screen. In the same way that 720p resolution TVs were once considered cutting edge, compared with a 1080resolution they seem anything but sharp.
Of course, though streaming HDR content requires an appropriately fast internet connection, HDR TVs are the next step towards having a cinema-quality viewing experience at home. So, as HDR-enabled TVs become the industry standard and 1080p displays continue to be phased out, prices are becoming more affordable and we should see HDR hit the mainstream.
Just remember, if you’re tempted, you’ll need the right mount…