What Is HDR, And How Does It Work?
It is becoming increasingly more common for home entertainment to support High Dynamic Range (HDR.) This is a good thing, of course, since it means a better viewing experience. But unless you’re the sort of person that goes out of your way to research new technology, you might be scratching your head and wondering what exactly it is.
First and foremost, this technology isn’t new by any stretch of the imagination. Like High Definition and 4K, it has been available for years, or even decades, but has only recently started to become mainstream. In short, HDR is a method used to enhance the range of luminosity used in screens. It allows for darker, brighter, and more contrasted image quality overall, which enhances the viewing experience.
In the world of printing, technology similar to HDR has been around for decades. Since printing requires a specialised focus on colour quality, a much-enhanced range of image vibrancy is used. Though, since such an intense focus is less needed in-home television, and achieving such image quality is expensive, this broadened range of quality never went mainstream. At least not until now.
Most mainstream televisions are standardised and streamlined, offering only the necessary level of color range required. Additionally, virtually all viewing material released for home entertainment abides by this narrowed colour scape. In other words; common middle ground is used for home entertainment.
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Is It Worth It?
If switching between images that are HD, and 4K, you might be pretty hard pressed to tell the difference. Unless you sit a few feet away from the screen, the increased resolution is more or less negligible.
HDR, however, is a much more noticeable and tangible upgrade. On a Standard Dynamic Range (SDR) display, the differences between the brightest and darkest points are approximated, often resulting in a blown-out image. This is because there simply isn’t a broad enough range available.
With High Dynamic Range there is significantly more range to work worth, resulting in a richer, more detailed picture that sings with highlights and shadows.
If it is worth the cost, on the other hand, really is a matter of preference.
New Tech Just Like The Old
The jump from Standard Definition resolution to High Definition Resolution was big. Though, lest we forget, HD was technically available since the 90s. Jumps in tech since then have not been as significant, or impressive. The truth is that tech giant companies have been scrambling to find another comparable upgrade, lest they go out of business.
High Dynamic Range is another upgrade that, although nice, hardly justifies the cost of a new TV. Though that is up to the individual, of course. Those who will receive the biggest benefits from 4K and HDR are gamers, where the increases in image quality are drastically easier to notice.
For a Netflix enthusiast, it is likely not worth the cost.