As you scan the TV passage, you notice a wide variety of abbreviations used in their descriptions. Ultra HD, UHD, 2160p, 4K x 2K, 4K Ultra High Definition, Quad High Definition, Quad Resolution, Quad Full High Definition, QFHD, UD, HDR the list goes on. Is the extra money worth the hype?
4K / UHD has four times as many pixels as 1080p, so it should be better, right? Not really. You can only see the change in quality if you are within a short viewing distance or if the movie or image is 4K native content.
4K cannot improve images at native 4K, so values ??lower than 4K will not improve image quality. HDR (high dynamic range) is not focused on adding more pixels like its 4K counterpart, but instead creates better, more dynamic pixels by enhancing contrast and brightness and providing a wider range of colors.
Some manufacturers who have not achieved a real “HDR experience” often mislead customers by using the phrase “HDR-enabled” or “HDR-enabled”. While it has HDR in the name, that doesn’t mean it can produce the same high-quality, colorful HDR image. These TVs can only read HDR metadata, which is data encoded into a signal that tells the TV how the picture should be displayed.
Brightness is a big issue for these TVs. The leading brands’ HDR TVs can go up to 500-1000 nits (a unit of brightness). HDR TVs support 100-300 nits, resulting in a much more limited color range.
There are currently two main types of HDR technology. HDR10 has been adopted as the base standard for nearly every HDR TV. If you have an Ultra HD Blu-ray player, this is the only supported format. Another option is an improved version of HDR10 known as Dolby Vision.
What is Dolby Vision?
Dolby, a company also known as Dolby Surround, has created a trademark for HDR 4K known as Dolby Vision. Manufacturers must test their equipment and pay for certification of their products to display the Dolby Vision logo on their devices. Dolby HDR is also widely used in the professional film industry.
Dolby Vision provides more specific guidance on compatibility. Dolby even has separate instructions for encoding and decoding Dolby Vision HDR material for specific movies, TV broadcasts, and TV displays. This makes it technologically more complex than HDR10.
So HDR10 or Dolby Vision?
Dolby Vision TVs are supposed to provide an even better visual experience, but not all TVs are created equal. These TVs provide metadata that can alter scene by scene by instructing the TV to increase contrast or enhance certain colors. Dolby Vision can display up to 12-bit color depth for a possible 68 billion colors on a gray scale, reaching 4000 nits or more.
HDR10 uses a fixed set of metadata, which reduces flexibility in how your TV can reproduce different movies and scenes. HDR10 is also limited to 10-bit color depth up to 1.07 billion colors. Compared to Dolby Vision TVs, it may lack brightness levels: only 1000 nits or more.
Dolby Vision seems like a logical winner now, right? Well, at the moment, no consumer TV supports even 12-bit color depth. We hope the Dolby Visions lineup is a foreshadowing of future products.
Even with brightness requirements, Dolby and HDR10 may be distorted. An example of this are OLED kits, which cannot match the brightness level of an LCD display, but can provide superior picture quality in lower light levels. However, both TVs qualify as HDR10 and Dolby Vision compliant.
Explain what you mean!
So, whether you’re looking for the details of these two types of TVs, or just scrolling down the page for a simple answer, we have bad news for you: there is no simple answer. The answer is determined by your situation.
If you have a separate low-light room with an HDR-enabled device and are a bit close to your TV, then HDR is for you. On the other hand, if you only watch cable TV and haven’t spent the extra money on an HDR machine, 4K is fine.