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What is HDR, Exactly?

High Dynamic Range, or "HDR", is a technology which has become extremely popular recently. You have almost certainly heard of it if you have been shopping for televisions in the last five or so years, but you might not have known what it means- or, how it works. I am here to disambiguate the term and explain why it is a significant technology in terms of consumer displays.

What is HDR, Exactly?

What Does it Do?

HDR processes images on a screen as they are output, rendering improved shadows and highlights. It also provides a much better range of colors in the images it produces, providing an extremely detailed picture with deep blacks and bright whites. This began as a technology utilized in photography during the 1990s, sought after as a means through which to enhance the quality of images in a way that did not necessarily rely upon technique. It also provides improved contrast, which has traditionally been a major problem in photography. In televisions, this improved contrast simply serves as a way to provide a better image than normally possible for viewers.


HDR Content

It is important to note that, while an HDR-compatible TV will likely have an excellent image in general, not all content is made with this technology in mind. In particular, older content will likely lack compatibility and thus will not have the beautiful colors and contrast found in actual HDR content. Despite this, it is extremely easy to find compatible content today. Netflix and Amazon Prime both offer support, and most Blu-rays will as well. The F 4 and Xbox One S (and Xbox One X) both support HDR for videos and video games. Despite it not working with 100% of video content in the world, it should be supported by nearly anything made in the last decade.


Image Courtesy of 4K.com.

What About 4K?

This is an important distinction: HDR and 4K are not synonymous. They often do go hand-in-hand, though, as many 4K televisions do support the technology. If one were to have to choose, 4K is always going to be a more significant upgrade than HDR, as it works best when seen in conjunction with 4K content. In non-UHD settings it still provides an improved image quality, but it will not be as mind-blowingly gorgeous without high quality, Ultra HD content.

Are you interested in televisions which feature UHD and/or HDR technologies? Are you looking for Televisions which support worldwide content and will work anywhere? 220-Electronics.com has an incredible selection of Multi-System TVs with prices that cannot be beaten.