What is HDR?

By Mike Atherton 28 Feb 2018

Staying up-to-date with the ever-changing world of TV tech isn't easy - it seems like a new acronym is introduced every week, and if you've been on the lookout for a new TV recently, you'll probably have heard the term 'HDR'.

HDR stands for High Dynamic Range and in short, it means you'll get a better picture with deeper blacks, more detail, and more accurate colours.

What is HDR, and how does it compare to a standard TV picture?


There are a few things that make a good TV picture - the main ones are contrast ratio (the difference between the brightest whites and the darkest blacks), and how well the TV can replicate real-life colours.

HDR gives you a much wider range of colour and contrast meaning the TV can get much closer to replicating real-life. On a standard Full-HD screen you might see a dark area in the picture that just looks dark, but HDR can pick out lots more detail in the darker areas giving you a much better sense of depth.

Colours look a lot more natural too. On a standard TV colours can look washed out, you could turn up the colour settings but this can make it look over-saturated - HDR expands the range of available colour, making it much better at reproducing the colour you see in the real world.

How does it work?


To put it simply, HDR is the next step in the evolution of TV technology. For example, 4K gives you more pixels so you see pictures in finer detail, but it doesn't necessarily mean the quality of the pixels has improved - that's where HDR comes in, increasing the range of colours and contrast that your TV can display.

But having a 4K HDR TV doesn't mean that everything you watch will be in HDR. Just like 4K content, the TV show or movie also needs to have been made in HDR. The good news is that HDR content is rapidly growing in popularity with services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and BBC TV already creating content using HDR technology.

Movie directors go to a lot of trouble to make sure that scenes are lit in a particular way to create the right atmosphere, and even after the movie has been finished, the colours are tweaked to ensure that the finished product is exactly as the director intended. HDR gives your TV the ability replicate these colours exactly as the movie was intended to be viewed - so you get the best possible experience.

HDR is certainly here to stay, with lots of manufacturers already using the technology in their mid, to high-end TVs. HDR won't completely replace standard TVs anytime soon, but if you are looking for a new TV, we'd certainly recommend considering one with HDR included. 

Take a look at our range of HDR TVs here.

Hopefully, that's helped you understand what HDR is and why it beats a standard TV. If you'd like help with anything else, you can contact one of our Team Knowhow experts here.

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