HDR Explained for TVs Dolby Vision, HDR10, HDR10+, HLG Formats (Updated)

Want to know about all the stuff of HDR TV before buying an HDR TV? In this article, we have spread out everything that we know about HDR.

Everyone knows HDR stands for High Dynamic Range but in short HDR TV and old TVs differ in one vital prospect and it is the picture quality of the TV itself.

When comparing recent TVs to older models, one of the biggest differences between the two is the widespread ability to read an HDR signal. Be specific: HDR pinpoints what the TV needs to display.


HDRIf we say the meaning of HDR is something more than just High Dynamic Range actually it is basically about metadata. Metadata is simply additional information sent with the video signal, that tells the TV how to display the content properly.

Metadata is divided through one of many different standards, including HDR10, HDR10+, and Dolby Vision.

Though metadata is one of the important factors in HDR there is another valuable factor is that a TV should capable of displaying what he has been asked for.

Whereas there are two most important factors on which a TV depends are Contrast Ratio, which determines how good the brightness and darkness levels are.

And the second is Color Accuracy, which is basically how closely colors on the screen resemble real life.

A TV with higher color accuracy and great contrast ratio but with low pixel count will deliver a much more quality viewing experience than a TV with just higher resolution.

HDR increases the levels of both contrast and color remarkably. Bright parts of the image can get much brighter, so the image seems to have more “depth.” Colors get expanded to show more bright blues, greens, reds and everything in between.

The term originates in photography and refers to a technique to heighten a picture’s dynamic range – the contrast between the brightest whites and the darkest blacks. One of the most important things to know about HDR TVs is that TV HDR is not the same as photo HDR.

HDR IN TV: HDR in a TV helps to get a more realistic and natural image by expanding Contrast Ratio and Color Accuracy.

HDR IN PHOTO: When many images with different exposure are assembled together they resulted as an HDR image.


  1. Better Brightness and Contrast – TV is capable of displaying a bright area that is 2,000,000 times brighter than its correspondingly darkest area. Whereas Standard dynamic range TVs generally produce 300 to 500 nits at most, but in general, HDR TVs aim much higher. Some top-tier models can display upward of 2,000 nits of peak brightness for HDR highlights.
  2. Better Color – 4K TVs equipped with HDR technology almost always possess the ability to display Wide Color Gamut (WCG). WCG provides a larger color palette than what HDTVs have been able to show in the past.


WCG (WIDE COLOR GAMUT) is quite important to get a high-level viewing experience but yes, of course, it is not mandatory. As all televisions are not capable of showing every color because there are some colors which a TV cannot produce.

Wide color gamuts include a greater number of colors than what most current TVs can display, so the greater a TV’s coverage of a wide color gamut, the more colors a TV will be able to reproduce.

This is one of the more exciting new developments in TV technology and should help a TV to create more colorful and lifelike images. While WCG is not necessary for HDR, they go side by side.

Nowadays 4K TVs with HDR usually equipped with Wide Color Gamut in normal HDTVs present a vast color palette of 8-bit color, with its millions of shades but with Wide Color Gamut, they present 10-bit color for billions of shades.

And HDR content benefits himself by using these available colors of WCG. So, these additional colors add more colors and present lifelike realistic to your eyes when you watch HDR content on an HDTV.

Not only that they also improve gradients that’s why when a single area of screen shifts from one color shade to another like bright green to dark green it appears smoother due to the availability of more shades.

Color Depth is very much like color gamut but they are different in some sense and it is a bit confusing. Color gamut refers to the level of saturation the TV can display, while color depth refers to the number of colors the TV is capable of showing within that palette.

A color gradient is a stretch of gradually changing color. For example, the far left side might be a dark green that progressively changes to lighter green on the right.

If a TV is able to display a gradient smoothly, that means it is able to capture small differences in color and is therefore good at reproducing details in color.

A more detailed color is one of the promises of HDR media, so it’s worth getting a TV that performs well on this test if you’re interested in it.

A limited color gamut would stop a TV from displaying the red of an apple accurately, while a limitation in color depth would make the red gradients on that apple look uneven and with visible steps.

In general, an 8-bit TV will have 256 shades of red, green, and blue, or about 16.7 million in total. This seems like quite a small amount when compared to 10-bit TVs which would have 1,024 shades of each channel or 1.07 billion colors.

And it is very much important for HDR TVs because if a TV is HDR capable but has a limited bit depth then it can lead to blockiness and uneven gradients that we generally find in SDR TVs.


HDR TVs show a noticeable difference when it comes to the term Dynamic Range, HDR content uses higher brightness or can say Peak Brightness refers to the maximum luminance of a TV.

Higher Peak Brightness means the TV can make the picture look brighter and presents a lifelike picture which is important for HDR. When a TV has a limited dynamic range, it can only display highlights while crushing the dark elements and vice versa.

An HDR TV will only give you the HDR viewing experience when it is sourced by HDR content. So to give a video signal an HD clarity a piece of additional information is sent with the signal, they are of different standards like HDR10, HDR10+, and Dolby Vision which we had explained below in this article.

Fortunately, the amount of HDR content is growing fast. The major 4K streaming services like Netflix and Amazon both have HDR content.

Another source of HDR is physical discs. Ultra HD Blu-ray is the latest physical disc format. You’ll need a new 4K BD player to play these discs.


Today mostly all TVs are HDR capable, which improves picture quality and there are three main HDR formats: HDR10, HDR10+, and Dolby Vision also two nearly popular formats HLG and Vesa Display.


HDRYou will find this format in common if you have an HDR TV as not because it is unique instead it doesn’t need any licensing, it is free to implement for any manufacturer. But it is not so attractive as other formats. Every HDR TV can decode it, every HDR streamer can stream it.

Pretty much all HDR content has an HDR10 version. SDR uses 8-bit color which provides millions of colors but HDR10 uses 10-bit color which provides billions of colors and it is considered to be enough because there is no television in the market which can show more than 10-bit color.

Technically, it uses static metadata, i.e., it only tells the display those values once and then that applies to the whole movie.

HDR10 uses metadata that rides along with the video signal down an HDMI cable and allows the source video to tell a TV how to display colors.

HDR10 gives 1000 nits peak brightness and it is the point where HDR10 gets limited because mostly HDR TVs are capable of much more than 1000 nits.


  • BIT DEPTH – 10-BIT, 1.07 billion COLORS
  • PEAK BRIGHTNESS – Mastered from 1000 to 4000 cd/m²
  • TONE MAPPING – Tones that extend past the TV’s range are mapped using the PQ transfer function.


UHD Blu-Ray: Yes

Netflix: Yes

Amazon Video: Yes

Vudu: Yes

NVIDIA Shield: Yes

Fire TV Stick 4K: Yes

Apple TV 4K: Yes

Chromecast Ultra: Yes

NVIDIA GTX 900 Series and up: Yes

AMD Radeon RX and up: Yes


While a big majority of TVs support HDR10 and many models support at least one of the more advanced formats, none of the models available in India support all formats.

Sony, LG, Vizio, Hisense, TCL, and also Panasonic support HDR10 and Dolby Vision on most of their models, whereas Samsung remains invested in HDR10+, and does not currently support Dolby Vision on any of their models.

But yes don”t go for cheaper TV models because most of them won’t make a noticeable difference. Only high-end TVs can take advantage of it.


Although HDR was initially designed for movies, the advantages of gaming are undeniable. Most modern consoles support HDR10, including the original PlayStation 4 as well as the PlayStation 4 Pro, and new Xbox Ones.

The Xbox One also supports Dolby Vision, although it isn’t supported by all TVs, as it uses a new ‘low-latency’ Dolby Vision format, ensuring the extra processing used for Dolby Vision doesn’t add too much latency for gaming.

PS4/PS4 Pro: Yes

Xbox One: Yes

Nintendo Switch: No

PC: Yes


Monitors have been very slow to adopt HDR. It is starting to change though, with more and more monitors now supporting HDR10.

The VESA standards group has been pushing for new standards for HDR on monitors, which typically can’t hit the brightness levels necessary for a great HDR experience. Despite this, monitors are still a few years behind TVs.

HDR10’s issue – 

HDR10’s static metadata is much better than SDR but still, it doesn’t bring a really bright scene to its absolute best.

This one-size-fits-all aspect of static metadata is fine but doesn’t let the content nor the TV live up to its full potential. And for that, you require Dynamic metadata which most other formats have.



HDR10+ is just an improvement of HDR10 static metadata to dynamic metadata. So, HDR10 with a plus means Dynamic metadata.

HDR10+ is championed by Samsung but it is not widely supported. One of the most interesting features of HDR10+ is that you don’t need to pay any licensing fees but you will get most of the advantage of Dolby Vision which is a premium HDR format.

What HDR10+ does is use dynamic metadata (basically more information) to tell the display how bright it should be. It expands on the possible brightness of HDR10, by allowing up to 4,000 nits.

However, it keeps HDR10’s 10-bit color. HDR10+ offers enough of an improvement over HDR10 which is good news for manufacturers, content creators and companies. But it is improving slowly.

Only Samsung, Panasonic and Philips have created HDR10+ compatible TVs. Amazon’s 4K Fire TV Streaming Stick is one of the very few streaming devices to support the format. HDR10+ is starting to be used on 4K UHD Blu-rays, but only about 100 movies have used it so far.

Finally, HDR10+ really aims to boost the performance of cheaper TVs. We’ve seen HDR10+ demos on mid-range HDR sets that don’t have the peak brightness of flagship models and the difference between HDR10 and HDR10+ is remarkable.


  • BIT DEPTH – 10-BIT, 1.07 billion COLORS
  • PEAK BRIGHTNESS – Mastered from 1000 to 4000 cd/m²
  • TONE MAPPING – Tones that extend past the TV’s range are mapped using the PQ transfer function.


UHD Blu-Ray: Yes

Netflix: No

Amazon Video: Yes

Vudu: No

NVIDIA Shield: No

Fire TV Stick 4K: Yes

Apple TV 4K: No

Chromecast Ultra: No

NVIDIA GTX 900 Series and up: No

AMD Radeon RX and up: No


PS4/PS4 Pro: No

Xbox One: No

Nintendo Switch: No

PC: No


Dolby Vision

Dolby Vision is a proprietary HDR format developed and licensed by Dolby Labs. One of the things that makes Dolby Vision different is that it’s designed as an end-to-end HDR process.

So from capture through processing and into production, Dolby Vision is designed to preserve information that was originally captured and pass it on.

The issue with DV is that companies have to pay Dolby to use it. On the plus side to that, Dolby will then show them how to make their TVs look best when showing DV content.

Dolby Vision supports 12-bit color which expands the number of available colors to 68 billion. It also features higher theoretical brightness: Up to 10,000 nits.

It tells the display device how bright it should be, but rather than provide one value as HDR10 does, it can do this for every frame.

But still, we want to make it clear that there are no such HDR formats that will bring you a fully accurate lifelike real picture but Dolby Vision gives you a lot more room to grow, it is the highest option that a manufacturer or a consumer can opt for.

So for some companies, this is an easy way to get their TVs to look better than perhaps they would on their own.

It uses dynamic metadata, which means that every scene and every frame of video can be adjusted with color and contrast info. Combined with a huge amount of additional information which generates the looks far better than HDR10.

Because of the licensing fees associated with Dolby Vision, not all HDR TVs support this format. Only those that specifically carry the Dolby Vision logo are compatible.

To see true Dolby Vision you need both a Dolby Vision source and device which can show it. Therefore not all HDR content is available in Dolby Vision.

Support for Dolby Vision has been announced by many studios – Universal, Sony Pictures, Warner Bros and Lionsgate for example – as well as streaming services – like Vudu, Amazon Video and Netflix – and it’s also aiming to come to games and mobile applications too. You can also buy Dolby Vision encoded Ultra HD Blu-ray discs.

But a Dolby Vision decoder doesn’t just support Dolby Vision HDR content, it will also handle HDR10, so if you have a Dolby Vision compatible device and you’re not watching Dolby Vision HDR content, there shouldn’t be a problem. However, if you don’t have the Dolby Vision decoder, you can’t take advantage of Dolby’s system.

After HDR10, this is the most popular HDR format, but that doesn’t mean it’s universal. Some companies might only offer Dolby Vision support on certain models.


  • BIT DEPTH – 12-BIT, 68.7 billion Colors
  • PEAK BRIGHTNESS – Currently mastered at 4000 cd/m², but supports up to 10000 cd/m²
  • TONE MAPPING – Tones that extend past the TV’s range are mapped by a Dolby chip* using the PQ transfer function.


UHD Blu-Ray: Yes

Netflix: Yes

Amazon Video: Yes

Vudu: Yes

NVIDIA Shield: No

Fire TV Stick 4K: Yes

Apple TV 4K: Yes

Chromecast Ultra: Yes

NVIDIA GTX 900 Series and up: Yes

AMD Radeon RX and up: No


PS4/PS4 Pro: No

Xbox One: No

Nintendo Switch: No

Nintendo Switch: No

PC: No



HLG stands for hybrid log gamma, created by Britain’s BBC and Japan’s NHK. The aim of HLG is to recreate that HDR standard for broadcast, it’s actually backward-compatible with SDR TVs.

Because broadcast is less consistent than those other delivery systems, the aim of HLG is to create an HDR system not dependent on metadata. One signal that works on both older TVs and newer is a huge deal for broadcasters.

But yes HLG comes with drawbacks especially in terms of picture quality. Like other formats, HLG is better than SDR but not as good as HDR formats.

Ultimately, if HLG is adopted for broadcast, it could reproduce the HDR effect without needing special equipment to receive it or process it, as well as being cost-effective for TV production companies, as they won’t have to upgrade all their equipment.

Vesa DisplayHDR


In late 2017 Vesa announced another HDR format. One of the main reasons behind the introduction of this format was that there was no consistent standard to certify devices in the PC industry.

So, to get it in Monitors they created a design that is compatible with the monitors from different manufacturers whether it is external monitors or built-in (Laptops).

Three levels of Vesa Display HDR:-

  • DisplayHDR 400 – entry-level, 8-bit, global dimming, 400cd/m2 brightness, colour boost over SDR
  • DisplayHDR 600 – enthusiast-level, 10-bit, local dimming, 600cd/m2 brightness, colour boost over DisplayHDR 400
  • DisplayHDR 1000 – professional level, 10-bit, local dimming with 2x contrast increase over DisplayHDR 600, 1000cd/m2 brightness


Like HLG, Advanced HDR by Technicolor aims to be backward compatible with SDR displays, Technicolor’s Advanced HDR comes in multiple formats: SL-HDR1 is similar to HLG, allowing for one signal to rule them all, SL-HDR2 has dynamic metadata like HDR10 Plus and Dolby Vision, SL-HDR3 uses HLG as a base, but adds dynamic metadata. At CES 2018, Philips announced that its 2019 TVs would support Technicolor Advanced HDR and the ATSC 3.0 broadcast standard.

AMOLED vs OLED: Brief Structural Overview and Key Differences


Look we have explained nearly everything which is important to know and now it’s time for some Q&A. Below we have listed down some popular questions regarding HDR TV that we have found all around the web.

  1. What is required for HDR TV?

There are two major things required to experience HDR. First, A TV that supports one or more HDR formats.

Second, a content which is actually produced by using one of those HDR formats. Also, we like to mention

Third, optional part a playback device that is compatible with HDR-like an Ultra HD Blu-ray player or media streamer.

But the optional part is not so mandatory for HDR experience because HDR TVs are also smart TVs that already have apps like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.

2. Do all HDR TVs are of equal quality?

As tons of HDR TVs are available in the market with different prices and different sizes, their picture quality changes dramatically.

So, not all HDR TVs are equal because when you play HDR content on 55 inches UHD LED TV it won’t look as good as on an OLED or QLED TV. Hence a high-quality HDR TV will present an HDR content at its best.

3. How to get HDR?

One major thing you can look at when you are going to buy an HDR TV is the Ultra HD Premium logo. But it’s not compulsory to use the UHD Premium logo – others are (confusingly) using their own branding.

Logos are the most reliable way of ensuring you see what the creator intended. Ultra HD Premium logo guaranteed to get the most out of an HDR source. In terms of specification the screen must have 3840 x 2160 pixels, they are capable of showing a vast number of unique colors and shades hidden in the image.

And the contrast ratio of at least 1,000 nits peaks brightness and less than 0.05 nits black level. Most TVs that do not support HDR offer between 300 and 500 nits of peak brightness.

4. Which TV supports HDR?

The television launched since 2016 supports HDR in one form or another. But it is important to note there are some 4K/Ultra HD televisions that have no HDR support, either because they are older or cheaper TVs.

And it is not an issue which can be fixed with any software or anything else because the problem is with the panels as their panels are not capable enough to display the colors or the brightness, regardless of the resolution, until technologies like HLG become mainstream.

5. Cables and connectors required for HDR?

Probably there is no requirement for new cables and connectors for HDR. Modern high-speed HDMI cables can carry the signals. And if there is a need for new cables then they are not expensive. But keep in mind your source device and TV must be HDR compatible.

Yes, you can go for next-generation HDMI cables that are 2.1 which adds a number of new features, including some improvements to how HDR is handled.

6. Is it worth upgrading to HDR?

HDR is arguably one of the greatest improvements in recent TVs. As technology has changed dramatically in recent years high-end TVs are getting much brighter and can display much wider color gamuts than ever before. So, from mid-range TVs, you won’t gain much visually with an HDR signal. Hence to get a full HDR viewing experience it is worth upgrading from SDR to HDR.




Disney+ content is totally dedicated to HDR content. Movies like Star Wars and shows like Marvel Cinematic Universe are presented in Dolby Vision and HDR10. Hence whatever format of HDR your TV supports you will get the best possible picture quality.


Netflix HDR

Normal HDR formats and Dolby Vision supporting contents are offered by Netflix. It was one of the first companies to announce HDR support. It started showing this content with Marco Polo and a wide range of content has followed in HDR.

Amazon Prime

HDR Amazon Prime

In July 2015 Amazon announced that HDR content is available in his video service. a number of films are available via Amazon Prime Video, along with many of its original series, including Jack Ryan (in Dolby Vision), Man in the High Castle, Transparent, Mozart in the Jungle, and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. You can access Amazon in HDR through TVs directly and via most streaming sticks and boxes.

Ultra HD Blu-ray

Ultra HD Blu-ray is obviously one of the big sources to supply UHD and HDR content. Offering the highest-quality for a top-level HDR experience at home, UHD Blu-ray allows for 4K UHD resolution, HDR and color expansion, alongside revolutionary surrounds sound codecs like Dolby Atmos and DTS:X.

Sadly, the PS4 Pro doesn’t offer an Ultra HD Blu-ray player, the Xbox One S, and One X does support Ultra HD Blu-ray. But streaming services support Ultra HD Blu-ray.


Youtube HDR

Youtube is available in HDR. YouTube announced support for HDR on 7 November 2016. YouTube supports streaming in HDR10 and HDR10+ but doesn’t know about it’s Dolby Vision support because Google has not yet disclosed any information about it.


Vudu supports Dolby Vision. It is one of the earliest providers of 4K programming and also offers HDR support. Many of its content supports Dolby Atmos surround sound. In November 2017, the company announced complete support for HDR10, and available in many ranges of devices.

Apple TV+

Apple TV+ supports Dolby Vision on its limited original content. After Apple launched Apple TV 4K it also announced that it was upgrading a lot of movies purchased from iTunes – for no additional cost.


iTunes (or Apple TV app) offers a wide variety of Dolby Vision content available to stream. In 2017 after the launch of Apple TV 4K, the iTunes Store was updated to offer movies and TV shows in HDR (in HDR10 and Dolby Vision).

Google Play Movies and Google Chromecast

HDR TV owners are able to use Google Chromecast Ultra to watch HDR content from many sources, including Play Movies, YouTube or Netflix. Unlike other set-top boxes. Google Play included HDR movies and TV shows in 2017.

But till now HDR10 and HDR10+ available, not Dolby Vision. At the moment, watching HDR content from Google Play is supported natively on Chromecast Ultra, Samsung, and LG smart TVs, and some Sony Android TVs.


Roku has a number of different players that all support HDR, but there’s no support for Dolby Vision on Roku devices.

Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K

Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K supports HDR – including Dolby Vision – so you can plug the stick into a compatible HDR TV and enjoy content from a range of sources, including Netflix, Amazon Video and Apple TV.


Gaming is one of the important sides that most HDR guides didn’t focus on, Microsoft was the first off the bat with an announcement about HDR gaming and with Forza Horizon 3.

Xbox One S and Xbox One X

Xbox One S and Xbox One X HDR

The first generation of Xbox One didn’t have the feature of HDR but the updated versions of Xbox One enabled with the version of 4K or HDR. HDR10 is also supported for both games and general entertainment purposes.

The Xbox One S does not support native 4K Ultra HD content for gaming. Instead, video is upscaled to 4K. Whereas the Xbox One X does support native 4K. Xbox streaming in HDR works with Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Vudu, Plex, and myTube.

And also now Microsoft has included it with Ultra HD Blu-ray drive build-in which means now you will get a double dose at a single price.

PlayStation 4 Pro

PlayStation 4 Pro HDR

While Play Station has taken little more time to announce HDR gaming. But later Sony came up with the announcement of adding it to their original PS4. Sony said that all PS4 models would receive a firmware update to enable HDR and it was not much helpful as it was not 4K Ultra HD support.

So, to fill the gap Sony came PlayStation 4 Pro which features HDMI 2.0a and HDCP 2.2, that allows the PS4 Pro to offer both 4K and HDR10, but it doesn’t offer Dolby Vision. Playstation apps for Amazon and Netflix support 4K and HDR.

Sony didn’t include a UHD Blu-ray drive in the PS4 Pro. Native 4K gaming is possible on the PS4 Pro, though it’s a complicated situation, as some games are native while others are upscaled.



Bringing HDR in Smartphones is one of the major challenges for mobile manufacturing companies. But when Samsung launched Galaxy Note 7 it introduced the feature of Mobile HDR.

Mobile HDR is specifically about bringing a similar experience from your 4K TV to your smartphone or tablet.

Again, it’s all about using the skills of the display, giving amazing colors and controlling the backlight to provide better video performance.

Though the model was not so successful, it has given the mobile industry what they are looking for for a long time.

After that, the new winner of this technology was the LG G6 launched in early 2017. LG G6 supported both HDR10 and Dolby Vision and that is something which continues across Smartphones till now.

So, today many Smartphones are available which supports HDR and there are few streaming services that are available only for mobiles and tablets.


It is the advanced technology and the key feature which affects your television viewing experience. Like display technologies LED, QLED, OLED, or AMOLED everyone gives you something unique that no other can give it to you but QLED or OLED is far better than LED or AMOLED.

So, if you don’t have a severe budget constraint then you should go for the latest and advanced technologies, they are made to take you to the next level of experience. Hence when you are searching for the best-LED TV for your home, office, shop or something else make sure to go for the best within your budget.

Today there is plenty of HDR content available, whether it is gaming, streaming, movies or TV shows and in the future, there will be nearly everything in HDR. So, it is now time to move from SDR to HDR and believe me it will totally change your entertainment world.

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Tanmoy Misra found his love for tech early in life when he got his first Nintendo (NES) console. He spent many hours blowing into cartridges to no avail until inspiration struck and he started taking apart and rebuilding anything that didn’t work. After dropping console gaming at the end of high school, Tanmoy entered the world of PC online gaming. His love of gaming and problem-solving soon led him to build his computers. As per expertise, he is an ISF-certified video calibrator and covering AV for a number of publications since 2018.

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