Have you come across the term HDR or High Dynamic Range while buying your new television set? Do you know what it means or how does it affect your TV watching experience? Has your salesman used the term HDR Media? Are you impressed with the new technology that your TV set has? Let’s take a dive into what is HDR and what it does?
What is High Dynamic Range Media?
High Dynamic Range is the latest and the most advertised feature added to the television. HDR is something that has changed the TV viewing experience and made it much better. Similar to the HDR feature being promoted in smartphones, yet, much different, both should not be confused and misunderstood.
HDR pushes the video content past any limitations that were being adhered since the last generation in the broadcasting field. In simpler terms, dynamic range is the difference between the dark and bright settings in our TV. Dynamic range is the display contrast and HDR works to widen the contrasts.
But, is widening the contrasts sufficient to enhance the image quality? The television broadcasting still follows age-old norms. However, with the advent of LED lighting panels in TV, this definite rule for black and white has blurred and today there is more to TV viewing than what it was.
Types of HDR
Although HDR is a popular format, it is yet to gain universal status. It is divided into two groups, namely, Dolby Vision and HDR 10. Not every TV is HDR-supported and will fail to run the HDR content on it. HDR can run efficiently on Ultra HD Blu-ray discs and HDR 10 is compatible with Ultra HD Blu-ray discs. HDR 10 is the format that is pushed by the UHD alliance and is a specific set of ranges and specifications that need to be met with in order to broadcast videos on TV. TVs that accommodate HDR 10 are allowed to display UHD’s Ultra HD Premium logo.
Dolby Vision is Dolby’s personal HDR format. It requires a set of permission from Dolby for media houses to represent themselves as Dolby compatible and they have to be properly certified to make such claims. Dolby Vision is less specific than HDR 10. The picture quality and color gamut is wider and presents a better imaging sensation.
BBC and Japanese Public broadcaster NHK have developed another standard, namely, Hybrid Log-Gamma or HLG. The standard is compatible with the standard dynamic range and is quite popular with TV broadcasters. It is loved by live video streamers too due to their simplicity and of course, no royalty.
What does HDR do for your TV?
HDR removes the limitations that were set by the older video signals and gives information regarding the color and the contrast on a wider scale. The format allows the HDR-supported devices to project an array of colors and brightness that was previously impossible. HRD images can display darker and brighter images on the same screen. This is possible since the format contains data that describes the steps in between the extremes.
In order to understand it better, let us imagine an image of say, a sunset. In older format, you could see only orange and black but with HDR we are able to see vibrant shades of pink, orange, and red or the sun and royal blue, black, and grey of the sky where the sun is slowly setting in. Do you want to understand it better? Watch a horror movie on your HDR TV set. You will be able to view not just bright or dark colors but finer details that we used to miss out on while watching television(tv)
Major streaming services such as Amazon, Netflix, and iTunes, Google Play, YouTube, and Vudu all support HDR for their 4K content streaming. Although not all services are competent and equipped to handle HDR in all their devices, they can still manage HDR 10 due to the Ultra HD Blu-ray discs. They have started releasing content in both HD format and also, standard Blu-ray format to enable viewers of every kind to view their content.
The media world has spread its wings to huge levels and HDR has set its foot in the media world and is taking up a stronghold, slowly. HDR compatible TVs are being slowly introduced in the market and the growth is at such a pace that the newer models of TVs are being made HDR-enabled.