Although we often think that the size of the screen or the type of panel are the most important characteristics of televisions, in reality the technologies become almost even more important. We have already talked about what Dolby technologies are and what the Philips Ambilight can offer, so today we are going to talk about why HDR technology and its variants are very important for setting up a home theater.
HDR technology came to our televisions a whopping eight years ago. In 2015, the main manufacturers began to carry out marketing campaigns to publicize its benefits, and the truth is that it is one of the most important technologies today. HDR (High Dynamic Range) is a technology intended, above all, to improve and increase the amount of light an image can project.
We must emphasize that the brightness that a television can project is important, but so is the scale of luminosity levels with intensity variations is able to reproduce. This, in a simplified way, is important when the number of levels is high, since it means that it is capable of recovering a greater amount of information.
Here other aspects of televisions come in, such as the type of panel that the television has. In general, OLED panels offer a lower amount of light than LCD panelsbut if HDR technology is added, you can take advantage of it in a better way due to its ability to turn the LEDs on and off automatically.
Currently we can find two different standards depending on the type of panel. While the LCD panels are HDR compatible if they reach a minimum of 1,000 nits, the OLED panels they reduce that figure to offer compatibility if they exceed 540 nits.
Similarly, color depth is important in achieving this compatibility, as TV manufacturers try to generate higher color fidelity. In this case, to talk about compatibility with HDR, it is necessary that the panels manage to reach a minimum of 10 bits.
Perhaps one might think that in practice the difference should not be so noticeable, but the truth is that currently we have become accustomed to televisions —and even monitors— including HDR compatibility. The UHD Alliance gives a good example of this on its website, allowing us to see an image with a filter that allows us to see both sides of the coin: an image with and without HDR.
Thus, HDR is a technology whose objective is to increase and improve the contrast of the image of televisions and other devices. If a television has such technology, will be able to offer a more realistic image. Currently, there are few televisions that do not have HDR, since it has been on the market for a long time and has even evolved to bear fruit to HDR10, HDR10+ and HDR10+ Adaptive, among many others that we will discuss.
But not everything is positive”. As a curiosity, do you remember the episodes of ‘Game of Thrones’ and ‘The House of the Dragon’ that looked very dark? This is for the HDR and the fidelity of the image that ex-showrunner Miguel Sapochnik wanted. Our colleagues from Xataka Smart Home were able to verify the differences in the episodes by having HDR enabled or not. Of course, using dongle to be able to disable HDR.
HDR technology was a big addition for the second half of the past decade, gradually becoming a standard on televisions. At the moment, HDR10 is the most widespread HDR format because it is less demanding in terms of requirements and because of its open component, which means that any manufacturer can make use of the technology without any cost. To achieve compatibility with HDR10, the panels must achieve a minimum of 1,000 nits in peak brightness and a color depth of 10 bits.
A good example of a television that includes HDR10 is the Smart TV Xiaomi F2, a model that integrates the Amazon operating system: Fire TV. It is one of the most popular models of the brand that also has HLG technology, which we will talk about a little later. Currently, we can see a fairly low price on this television, since its size of 55 inches – which is the maximum – reaches 499 euros.
Many of us may think that adding a “+” to HDR10 means that it comes with news to improve conventional HDR10, but the truth is that it is only an evolution that includes improvements. Jointly powered by Amazon and Samsung, HDR10 features static metadata measurement, while HDR10+ uses dynamic metadata measurement.
Samsung TV Crystal UHD 2022 55BU8000
What does this mean? There’s nothing like putting a concept into practice. With HDR10, a movie or series analyzes information about light levels at the beginning, while HDR10+ does it scene by scene. Does “an image close to what the director originally intended” sound familiar to you? The HDR10 + manages to improve the luminosity of the contents through this dynamic metadata, which by the way we also see in Dolby Vision.
HDR10+ makes use of this dynamic metadata measurement to calibrate movies or series that have different levels of lightness, and it does so by consistently improving the color reproduction process. Nowadays, HDR10+ is a technology that is often used more than Dolby Vision by its open component. Come on, because manufacturers get it for free.
HDR10 + technology can be found in a good number of Samsung televisions. Among them, we cannot avoid recommending the Smart TV Samsung BU8000, a best-selling model of the brand that is priced at only 499 euros in its 55-inch size. In addition to HDR and HLG technology, it comes with a QLED panel, which favors image quality.
We have already laid the foundations of what Dolby Vision can offer and that it resembles HDR10 + technology to some extent. We don’t often see Dolby technology in too many televisions—even the most expensive ones. In principle, the requirements to be able to have this compatibility is that the panels reach a minimum brightness of 10,000 nits and a minimum of 12 bits. And we say “in principle” because not all panels manage to reach these levels.
Marketing has positioned Dolby Vision technology as the most pioneering and the one that offers the best image quality, but it is not that different from HDR10 + or other variants of HDR. The fact that it is a closed technology is something that brands do not usually like too much either.so we don’t always see it on high-end TVs.
For its part, we can also find an alternative version of Dolby Vision, and it is called Dolby Vision IQ. The difference is that the latter allows the high dynamic range content to be adapted depending on the ambient light in our room.
While TVs with HDR10+ are more common in Samsung models, those that come with Dolby Vision are more common in many others, such as LG. And taking this brand into account, we can currently find a very interesting price for one of its best televisions: the Smart TV LG C24LA EVO —or LG C2—. It has some similar features as its predecessor, the LG C1, but with improvements in its sections.
The price of the LG C2 is currently found for 957 euros. The Dolby version included in this television is Dolby Vision IQ, and it also comes with a OLED panel with which to take advantage of their technologies. It also has HDR formats such as HLG, HDR10 Prowhich is the same as HDR10 only that LG has named it that way.
When a technology hits the market, it doesn’t take long for the competition to hit the market. Given the proposal of Dolby Vision IQ, Samsung developed HDR10+ Adaptive under the same premise as Dolby’s ownautomatically configuring the technology based on the ambient light in our living room or bedroom.
Samsung TV Neo QLED 8K 55″ QN700B
At the moment We can only see this technology in those more expensive models of the brand, so, in principle, it is not used too much. In addition, it is a recent technology, since the official announcement was made in the year 2020.
As we have mentioned, we see this HDR10+ Adaptive technology on expensive televisions. A good example, and returning to the brand, is the Smart TV Samsung QN700B, a model with a Neo QLED 8K panel that comes with HDR technology. It also includes HLG and HDR 2000 —which we will talk about a little later—, and its price currently reaches 1,226.70 euros.
HLG technology is the most different within HDR, since it is not intended for any type of multimedia content, but for that content that we can see on television broadcasts. In the same way, it is an open technology, which favors its inclusion in a greater number of televisions.
Today it is not so relevant in old televisions, but there was a time when it was favored not having the “obligation” to change television. While HDR content will not play with this technology on incompatible TVs, HLG content can on incompatible TVs.
Other HDR technologies
In terms of televisions, we can occasionally find other variants of HDR. It is not common, but they do exist and offer features similar to those listed above. Advance HDR It’s another HDR technology that isn’t too prevalent, but it offers cool things like TV broadcasts and content conversion that HDR lacks.
For its part, we also find other HDR technologies on Samsung televisions, called Q HDR 1000, Q HDR 1500, or Q HDR 2000, but there is more. The number corresponds to the number of nits of brightness, and in practice it translates more as a marketing strategy than something completely different from other HDR technologies.
Remember that you can subscribe to Amazon Prime with all the benefits (Prime Video, audiobooks, Prime Music and more) using a 30-day free trial.
Some of the links in this article are affiliated and may benefit Espinof.
Image | Xiaomi, Samsung, LG
In Espinof Selection | Fire TV Stick guide to set up a home theater: how many models are there and which one best suits your needs
In Espinof | The 13 Best Space Horror Movies