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What is HDR and Why Is It Important

by Ronald Elias

We all want our home media to look as good as possible.

At least know that all of us at Mission Audio Video do -- and we have a feeling that our customers want the same thing. But if there's one thing about the industry that's true, it's that it's always moving forward with exciting new technology, and it can be hard to keep track of everything.

The good news for all of you reading at home is that we're here to help. Today, we're going to take a look at high dynamic range -- often abbreviated as HDR -- and what it can bring to your movies, TV, and other media, and why it's going to be important for years to come.


What is HDR?

High dynamic range is the term used to describe technology that makes the images you are watching appear more life-like. It does this by letting you see a larger range of colors, as well as greater contrast. Take a second and look at the interactive sliders Dolby has put together -- they are a great example of how HDR can take content and really make it pop and appeal to the senses in new and exciting ways.

You can also think about it as the visual equivalent of surround sound. Surround sound helps you experience movies and other media in a more realistic way -- with sound happening all around us. HDR does the same thing, except it presents us with picture that is closer to the colors and images we see in real life. It's another way technology is changing to make our experiences more immersive and enjoyable!


Different Types of HDR

As HDR is a new technology, there currently are different versions. As we already mentioned, Dolby has Dolby Vision, which is their standard for HDR content. TVs, mobile devices, and streaming services can all have Dolby Vision compatibility, giving you a wide range of devices on which to enjoy your colorful content. Netflix, Vudu, iTunes -- the list of places that support Dolby Vision goes on and on.

HDR10 is another HDR format, and is the one you are most likely to see devices supporting. It's open source, which is helping it spread, but technically it is a little behind the other formats when it comes to quality. It's still a great way to enjoy HDR content, and there's a reason it is the most popular format out there.

All in all, there are five different formats for HDR, with HLG, HDR10+, and Advanced HDR by Technicolor rounding out the list. And while it isn't true of all devices, the good news is that most TVs that support HDR also support multiple formats. If you are really looking to watch a specific piece of content that is only available in a certain HDR format, you'll want to make sure your TV supports it.

It may seem like not that long ago that 4K was the big push for TVs, and if you haven't yet made the jump to 4K, it's something that you really should do. However, there're people who think that HDR will be a big shift and actually end up being the future of TV and content as we know it, and it's time to make sure you are taking advantage of that technology, as well. If you don't have a 4K TV ... well, what are you waiting for? Give us a call at (805) 682-7575 and we'll be glad to help you find a 4K TV equipped with HDR that can show you the best content


How You Can Get It

HDR doesn't require additional pixels, so does that mean that you don't have to go out and buy a new TV if you want to experience HDR content?

Well, maybe.

While it's true that HDR isn't a jump in resolution or pixels like 1080p was to 4K, your TV still needs to be equipped to display HDR. The good news is that most 4K sets can display HDR content, so there's a good chance if you have a 4K set that you already have what you need to watch 4K content.

Even more so than 4K, HDR is something that you really have to see to believe, and there's no better place to see it than in your own theater. Head on over to our contact page and shoot us a line -- we'll help you get set up with what you need to bring the latest HDR technology right to your home theater.