No, HDR will not get you a lifetime ban from baseball, or a 4 game suspension from the NFL. But it is an under appreciated performance enhancer that not one single media format is currently employing. But that’s about to change…
HDR stands for High Dynamic Range. As many photogs out there know, HDR has been a fixture in the (higher-end) camera world for quite sometime. HDTV’s HDR is similar yet different.
Basically, HDR is the ability to display a wider and richer range of colors, much brighter whites, and darker blacks. HDR content preserves details in the darkest and brightest areas of a picture that are lost using current “broadcast” standards. It also allows for more natural, true-to-life colors by utilizing a broader-range color space. The result is a more natural, more impressive, and ultimately more realistic picture. The image at the top illustrates the difference between the color space used now vs. HDR’s color space.
And HDR refers to both the content and the display. You need content recorded and mastered using HDR, and you need an HDR capable set to view this superior recording. So everything is awesome now that HDR is here, right??
Well, HDR is still very much in it’s infancy. There are no HDR “TV broadcasts” and it may be quite some time before we ever see one. There is A LOT more information that TV providers would need to send down an already crowded feed. Until there are enough HDR TV sets out there for providers to justify the added expenses involved in the recording and distribution of HDR, they won’t be in a rush to make such a profound infrastructural change.
So TV programming is out. Amazon and Netflix have already announced that they all be adding 4K and HDR titles to their library, but again, due to all the extra information that will need to be streamed, you’ll have to have a very robust internet connection to stream HDR content w/o those annoying pauses for “buffering.”
Which leads us to the most practical way to appreciate HDR. Ultra Blu-ray is the heir apparent to traditional Blu-ray discs. Ultra Blu-ray will have more than enough space on the disc to pack both HDR and 4K resolution on a single DVD-sized disc that you just drop in the player. Easy-peasy. No extra bandwidth requirement. Of course, Ultra Blu-ray JUST started shipping, so initially, there won’t be very many HDR mastered discs out there either.
So why buy an HDR capable set now? Well, if you have the opportunity to view content in HDR, you’ll want to embrace that opportunity. HDR truly is breathtakingly impressive. HDR capability is usually found in a brand’s higher performing sets anyway. Since the HDR standard has been set and agreed upon industry-wide, you’ll be ready to watch HDR when it becomes a more mainstream amenity. All the while, you’ll be enjoying a higher-performing TV set that you just so happen to be currently under-utilizing.
As always, if you have any questions about TV technology or other tech related questions, don’t hesitate to contact us: