Each HDR TV Format Defined – CNET


Just about each new TV and projector has the flexibility to decode HDR, or excessive dynamic vary, video. Usually, HDR content material appears to be like higher than non-HDR materials, although a person show’s capability to take care of the additional knowledge can fluctuate drastically. 

Nonetheless, there is not only one HDR format. There are a variety, together with Dolby Imaginative and prescient, HDR10, HLG and a few others. Few shows can decode all of them, however all can decode the fundamental HDR formatting that every one HDR content material contains. Streaming providers like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, together with 4K Blu-ray discs, may also assist a number of codecs, although typically they solely have one or two. 

The excellent news is, this is not a format struggle. All HDR shows can watch all HDR content material. Nonetheless, among the codecs have further options that can be utilized by suitable shows for an excellent higher picture. Figuring out what every of the codecs does, and what to search for by yourself TV, will be very useful. This is every thing you could know

The fundamentals

In CNET’s TV and projector critiques, each the capabilities of the TV itself and the way in which HDR is used within the film or TV present have a better affect on picture high quality than the precise HDR format. Which is to say, simply because a show can learn a “higher” HDR format, does not imply that show will look higher than one that may’t learn that format. This is a tour of the HDR panorama because it stands right now.

  • It isn’t a full-fledged “format struggle,” it is extra like a slap combat.
  • A number of HDR codecs can exist in a single TV.
  • Every part helps HDR10, however many TVs and sources may also have no less than one of many different codecs.
  • One format may look “higher” than one other on paper, however in the true world the most important elements are the TV’s total efficiency and the content material itself.

Most new TVs have the flexibility to show HDR content material, which has extra element within the brilliant and darkish areas of the picture, for a better “dynamic vary” in comparison with non-HDR content material (i.e. just about every thing you have ever watched). Older content material is now known as “SDR,” or customary dynamic vary. HDR content material on an HDR TV can look much more punchy and vibrant than conventional content material.

Learn extra: How HDR Works

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The dynamic vary of what is captured by the digicam (left) and what’s attainable on SDR and HDR shows. 


Simply having an HDR TV is not sufficient. It’s a must to watch particular HDR content material. With out HDR content material, your HDR TV does not actually know what to do with itself. Certain, it is going to look good, and possibly even artificially develop SDR content material for maybe a slight enchancment. However to get essentially the most out of your HDR TV, you want actual HDR content material. Fortunately, there’s now plenty of it on the market. Chances are high your favourite new packages can be found in HDR.


  • Supported by every thing.
  • Higher picture high quality potential than SDR, however maybe not so good as HDR10 Plus or Dolby Imaginative and prescient.
  • Static metadata.

HDR10 is as near a regular as we have. It is free to make use of for producers, so it is out there in every single place. Each HDR TV can decode it, each HDR streamer can stream it. Just about all HDR content material has an HDR10 model, in some instances together with a extra “superior” HDR format like Dolby Imaginative and prescient, which we’ll talk about in a second.  

HDR10’s difficulty, in case you can name it that, is that it has “static” metadata. Which means that there’s one HDR “look” for all the film or present. That is definitely higher than SDR content material, however it does not permit for, say, a extremely brilliant scene to look its very best, nor a darkish scene its finest, throughout the similar film. This one-size-fits-all facet of static metadata is okay, however does not let the content material nor the TV reside as much as its full potential. You want dynamic metadata for that, which a lot of the different codecs have. 

Static metadata is type of like if a soccer staff all needed to put on the identical sized shirt. Perhaps it appears to be like good on the quarterback, and OK on the large linebacker and the diminutive kicker, however absolutely they’d all look higher with a shirt in their very own measurement.

HDR10 is not backward-compatible with SDR TVs, so it is no good for broadcast. You will discover it out there with streaming content material and on 4K Blu-ray.

HDR10 Plus

  • Championed by Samsung.
  • Not broadly supported.
  • Dynamic metadata.
  • Probably higher picture than vanilla HDR10.

As you in all probability figured from the title, HDR10 Plus is like HDR10… however plus. The “plus” on this case is dynamic metadata, enhancing on HDR10’s static model. Which means that on a per-scene — and even per-image — foundation, the content material can present the TV with all the knowledge it must look its very best.

The catch is… this can be a Samsung format. It is pushing it laborious, and regardless of promising no licensing charges (so anybody can use it principally without spending a dime), this can be a little bit of a stumbling block. Exhausting to think about a world the place LG willingly helps a fledgling format backed by Samsung. Different TV firms have in all probability been hesitant to again it for a similar cause. Sure, shopper electronics is as petty as junior excessive.

hdr10-via-samsung hdr10-via-samsung

It is a bit laborious to inform from this graphic, however discover that the frames on the precise present totally different ranges of brightness within the sky. That is simply an instance, utilizing a regular dynamic vary picture in your customary dynamic vary display screen. The concept with HDR10 Plus’s dynamic metadata is {that a} filmmaker can decide how one can finest present every shot or scene. With HDR10’s static metadata, a single setting is used, a compromise that has to cowl the darkest and brightest scenes. 


Proper now — past Samsung — Panasonic, TCL, and Hisense are the most important show manufacturers supporting the format within the US. On the content material aspect, there’s Amazon, Hulu, Paramount Plus, Apple TV Plus and Google. It is unlikely HDR10 Plus will ever turn out to be the usual dynamic metadata HDR format, however it does give firms an alternative choice to the licensing charges of Dolby Imaginative and prescient.

Learn extra: What’s HDR10 Plus?

Dolby Imaginative and prescient

  • Extensively supported.
  • Probably the very best picture high quality of all of the codecs.
  • Much less content material than inventory HDR10.

Dolby Imaginative and prescient, like HDR10 Plus, can have dynamic metadata. Streaming providers like Netflix, Amazon, Vudu and Apple TV Plus assist it, and you will discover it on some 4K Blu-rays. Elements of Dolby Imaginative and prescient, like the way it handles dynamic metadata and shade, are elective for HDR formatting within the upcoming NextGenTV, aka ATSC 3.0

The difficulty with DV is that firms should pay Dolby to make use of it. On the plus aspect to that, Dolby will then present them how one can make their TVs look finest when displaying DV content material. So for some firms, that is a simple approach to get their TVs to look higher than maybe they’d on their very own. For bigger firms (like sure Korean firms that start with S), they do not want such help and would somewhat dump cash into their very own HDR format, thanks very a lot.

Dolby_Vision.jpg Dolby_Vision.jpg

It is not possible to point out you need an HDR picture appears to be like like in your present gadget, because it’s SDR. That is an approximation, utilizing two SDR photos, of what you’d see in case you positioned an SDR and HDR TV side-by-side.


After HDR10, that is the preferred HDR format, however that does not imply it is common. Samsung is the most important holdout, for causes talked about above. Some firms may solely provide Dolby Imaginative and prescient assist on sure fashions. Typically talking, if an organization does not assist Dolby Imaginative and prescient, they probably assist HDR10 Plus, although some firms assist each. There may be far much less Dolby Imaginative and prescient content material than there may be vanilla HDR10 content material. Not an enormous difficulty, however one thing to bear in mind.


  • From BBC and NHK.
  • Free to make use of.
  • Broadcast pleasant.

Hybrid Log Gamma was created by Britain’s BBC and Japan’s NHK. In contrast to the codecs we have mentioned to date, it is truly backward-compatible with SDR TVs. One sign that works on each older TVs and newer is a large deal for broadcasters. Although as you possibly can think about, it isn’t with out drawbacks. Primarily, that is by way of image high quality. Like HDR10, HLG is probably going higher than SDR, however maybe not fairly the image high quality of the opposite HDR codecs. It is a part of the upcoming ATSC 3.0 customary.

hybrid-log-gamma hybrid-log-gamma

A graphical illustration of an SDR and HLG sign. The vertical axis is the sign, from broadcast, cable or satellite tv for pc for instance. “0” is black, “1” is brilliant white. The horizontal axis is the bodily brightness popping out of your tv. An SDR TV would see the HLG sign and assume it was “regular,” displaying a picture that had, maybe higher spotlight element. An HDR TV that is HLG-compatible would perceive what to do with the HLG sign and present that brighter info as a bodily brighter a part of the picture (i.e. how HDR usually works). 

Public Area/Inventive Commons

There’s already vast TV assist. Content material continues to be within the early phases, nevertheless. If you will get the BBC’s iPlayer (whether or not you are within the UK or utilizing a VPN), that service has HLG assist. DirecTV and YouTube additionally assist HLG, however there’s simply not plenty of content material to date. Because it’s free, and fills an necessary area of interest, anticipate to see extra HLG sooner or later. Some telephones can file HDR by way of HLG, which you’ll be able to playback on HLG-compatible shows.

For more information, and why it is so totally different from different strategies, take a look at our explainer on hybrid log gamma.

Superior HDR by Technicolor (SL-HDR1, 2 and three)

  • Not broadly supported.
  • Every “taste” has its personal area of interest.
  • Probably helpful, however we will see.

Technicolor’s Superior HDR is available in a number of flavors: SL-HDR1 is much like HLG, in that it is totally backward-compatible with SDR TVs, permitting for one sign to rule all of them; SL-HDR2 has dynamic metadata like HDR10 Plus and Dolby Imaginative and prescient; SL-HDR3 makes use of HLG as a base, however provides dynamic metadata.

technicolor-hdr-path technicolor-hdr-path

The trail to SDR and HDR in a single SL-HDR1 sign. The highest is the content material creation, the underside is what your TV will do with it. The SDR content material is robotically created from the HDR sign.


Content material is proscribed to some NextGenTV broadcasts. It is unlikely it is going to get vast acceptance amongst streaming firms. 

Learn extra: What’s Superior HDR by Technicolor?

There will be just one. Or three. Or possibly 5

A number of issues listed below are fairly simple to guess. HDR10 is the de facto base format. Nothing is more likely to change that. Dolby Imaginative and prescient, with its vast trade assist, particularly on the content material aspect, is more likely to stay the “step-up” format. HDR10 Plus has elevated in acceptance since its launch and is now a viable various to Dolby Imaginative and prescient.

NextGenTV continues its sluggish rollout, and it stays to be seen how a lot HDR content material we’ll get with over the air content material, although each HLG and Superior HDR are viable choices. 

In actuality the long-term outlook is, to be sincere, considered one of common playback and irrelevant content material format. Do you care in case your TV is displaying Dolby Imaginative and prescient or HDR10 Plus, so long as it appears to be like pretty much as good as attainable and similar to the opposite format? Since a TV’s HDR efficiency is sort of fully based mostly on its bodily {hardware}, so long as the content material appears to be like good and will be proven correctly, its particular format “language” does not matter. Effectively, it does not matter so long as your TV can communicate it. 

In addition to protecting TV and different show tech, Geoff does picture excursions of issues like cool museums and areas around the globe, together with nuclear submarineshuge plane carriersmedieval castles, epic 10,000-mile street journeys, and extra. Take a look at Tech Treks for all his excursions and adventures.

He wrote a bestselling sci-fi novel about city-size submarines, and likewise Price range Journey for Dummies. You may comply with him on Instagram and YouTube.


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