High Dynamic Range (HDR10 | HDR10+ | Dolby) Standards Explained

High Dynamic Range (HDR) standards like HDR10, or HDR10+, or Dolby vision HDR are very conspicuous in today’s display markets, especially in Televisions and monitors.

If these terms confuse you, you are in the right place. In this article, we explain what these terms mean, how they work, which is best, an example of devices using them, and where to buy. Read to the end, thank us later.

What is High Dynamic Range (HDR)

HDR is a display technology that enhances picture quality by making white scenes of the image very bright and black scenes very dark.

HDR was introduced alongside Ultra HD technology to enhance image clarity. Improvement in image quality from HD to UHD to 4K UHD was purely based on additional pixels on the screen.

It was a common belief that more pixels meant a proportional improvement in image quality. HDR came to demystify this believe.

Instead of just additional pixels, HDR focused on having better pixels. Perhaps, the mix of two technologies meant even better image quality. HDR, therefore, tries to reproduce your eye view on your TV. Let’s see how below.

How HDR Works?

HDR simply entails brightening white scenes and darkening black scenes of an image. The strike of balance between the two is what results in very sharp images on your TV screen.

HDR enables TV to display a wider range of colors by darkening dark colors and brightening bright colors. The images appear more real life as a result. The main aim of HDR is to make the images look as real as possible as you would see them through a window.

Several manufacturers in the display industry have tried to incorporate HDR technology in their screens. The most popular currently are Dolby Vision and Blu-ray. You will, therefore, see these terms next time you are buying a TV or Monitor.

TV manufacturers have as well started incorporating HDR technology in their devices. However, technology might be named differently.

For instance, Samsung refers to a panel that enables HRD as “Peak illuminator and HRD-enabled Televisions as ‘SUHD.’ Dolby refers to HRD as Dolby Vision. Whereas Sony popularly refers to HRD as ‘X-tended Dynamic Range.

Types of HDR Standards

The 4 types of HDR technologies include HDR10,  HDR10+, Quantum HDR (QHDR), and Dolby Vision HDR. Let’s see how each works.

1. HDR10 Standard

HDR10 is the first HDR standard and is an open standard that is free to use.  For this reason, you will find many earlier TV brands with HDR10 technology.

When Dolby vision was introduced, HDR10 manufacturers started scratching their heads on how to counter its stunning clarity. As a result, HDR10+ was invented.

2. HDR10+ Standard

HDR10+ is an improved HDR10 standard that uses dynamic metadata technology in contrast improvement instead of static metadata that HDR10 uses.

HDR10 produces a brightness of up to 1000 nits.

By dynamic metadata means HDR10+ controls scene-by-scene screen brightness instead of the entire screen as HR10 does.

HDR10+ Catch: Though we have said HDR10+ is a free standard there is a catch. Hardware manufacturers must certify their hardware with the provider before they can declare and stick their Dolby HDR10+ stickers. However, content developers don’t need to certify.

HDR10+ was introduced to compete Dolby Vision whose contrast was far much better due to dynamic metadata approach. More details in Dolby HDR section below.

3. Dolby Vision

What is Dolby Vision HDR? Dolby Vision is a technology that improves HDR clarity in displays. TV manufacturers are increasingly using a Dolby-enabled display to woo customers.

How Dolby Vision works

Dolby Vision sharpens scene clarity by adding dynamic metadata into standard HDR10 images. Recall that HDR10 captures only static metadata of the scene. In Dolby Vision technology, each frame is metadata encoded to sharpen image clarity.

Example of Dolby Vision Content

Netflix and Amazon prime have numerous movies encoded with Dolby Vision technology. Various TV manufacturers like Panasonic, Sony, and LG have their TV hardware encoded with Dolby Vision technology.

Relationship of Dolby Vision and HDR10

Both technologies are built on the same core. Therefore, it is easy for manufacturers to bundle the two together in the same device.

This is the reason you will find that Ultra HD Blu-ray devices can play both Dolby and HDR10. Thus, the same device can play HDR10 if your TV is only HDR-enabled or Dolby Vision if it has Dolby enabled.

Dolby mainly powers HD Blu-ray players and screens. Previously, such devices required to have an inbuilt Dolby chip. Nowadays, it is possible to install Dolby firmware to a device through an update.

Dolby Prices

Is Dolby Vision HDR Free? No. Manufacturers require a paid license to install Dolby technology in their devices. This is the reason you find gadgets with Dolby vision expensive than those with standard HDR technology.

Dolby TV Price Range: TVs with Dolby vision range displays range from $400 to $800.

Dolby Vision Manufacturers

Various device manufacturers are now embracing Dolby capabilities in their devices. Increasingly, Dolby Vision is becoming a selling magnet

Top manufactures using Dolby Vision Technology. LG and Panasonic are two major TV manufacturers that have their devices come with inbuilt Dolby support.

Manufactures not using Dolby Vision Technology. Samsung remains one of the biggest electronics manufacturers that does not use Dolby Vision in any of its products. Instead, Samsung believe their hardware and processing speed are so powerful that there is no need of having Dolby Vision in their devices.

Dolby Vision is based on the same core framework as HDR10. The reason both technology act on display metadata. In fact, Dolby is just an HDR enhancement that adds dynamic metadata improvement.

Therefore, a Dolby vision device is able to play HDR10 content without a need for any conversion.

Thus, though Dolby Vision content and devices are not common, you can still buy Dolby Vision Television if you have some extra cash or buying for the first time.

If you have a TV already, we dont advise you to rush buying a Dolby-enabled one now. HDR10 will still work for you in 2020.

Dolby Vision Cons

Despite its tranquility, Dolby vision is very limiting. To play Dolby you must have Dolby player, play Dolby-enabled content, and Dolby-capable Television.

That is to mean, you may buy Dolby vision and fail to reap its color depth if the above three requirements are not met. Ensure you gather

Comparing HDR10, HDR10+, and Dolby HDR

HDR10+ vs HDR10

HDR10+ is an open display standard that was created by Samsung to improve HDR10 and compete Dolby vision.

HDR10+ technology instructs the tv screen to adjust the brightness of each frame popularly known as frame-by-frame. The brightness of each scene popularly known as scene-by-scene.

The difference between HDR10 and HDR10+ is that while HDR10 exhibit static metadata while HDR10+ employs dynamic metadata just like Dolby Vision does.

The other difference between HDR10 and HDR10+ is that HDR10 produces a brightness of 1000nits whereas HDR10+ produces a brightness of 4000 nits. Thus HDR10+ is four times brighter than HDR10.

HDR10+ is an open-source standard just like HDR10. So, expect HDR10+ to be as popular as HDR10 in the due course.

Dolby Vision Vs HDR10+

HDR10+ and Dolby vision top the battle for color and brightness. There are noticeable efforts by HDR10+ to catch up with Dolby. Below are some of the differences between Dolby and HDR10+.

Brightness: HDR10+ offers a maximum brightness of 4000 nits whereas Dolby offers 10,000 nits. Thus, Dolby vision is 2.5 times brighter than HDR10+.

Cost: HDR10+ is cheaper than Dolby vision. Just like HDR10, HDR10+ is a free standard. Dolby is a paid standard thus more expensive.

Popularity: Expect more HDR10+ televisions in the market compared to Dolby Vision despite brightness superiority associated with Dolby displays. The reason, manufacturers are not ready to pay for Dolby licenses.

Dolby Vision vs HDR10

Dolby Vision and HDR are fierce rivals in display technology. However, Dolby is far much better than HDR when it comes to screen contrast.

There are many reasons why Dolby Vision is better than HDR10. Dolby supports 12-bit color depth while HDR supports 10 color-depth.

Dolby Vision presents a brightness of up to 10 000 nits. On the other hand, HDR10 maximum brightness is 1000 nits.

Metadata: Dolby Vision boasts of dynamic metadata while HDR10 exhibits static metadata. Dynamic metadata instructs the screen on how to display each frame depending on brightness demand. Such is referred to as frame-by-frame metadata. That way, the screen colors are fantastic.

Frequently Asked Questions on HDR

Why are Dolby HDR Devices Rare?

Dolby Vision is a premium standard, unlike HDR10. Manufacturers and content creators must, therefore, pay a licence fee to use the standard.

As a result, both manufacturers and content creators are shunning Dolby to save on the cost of production.

Is Buying Dolby Vision in 2020 Worth?

The answer is not really. The reason is most hardware manufacturers are yet to implement Dolby capabilities are in their devices. Dolby vision-enabled content is rare as well.

Why is HDR10 Very Popular?

If you go shopping, you may wonder why most TVs are HDR10-enabled yet Dolby Vision is better. HDR10 is more popular because it is a free open source standard.

Screen manufacturers and content creators, therefore, don’t need to pay license fees to use HDR10. As a result, the market is flooded with HDR10-enabled display and HDR10-enabled content.

Other standards like HDR10+, HLG, and Dolby Vision are premium thus manufacturers and content creators must pay licenses to use them. It is for that reason other HDR standards are not common and more expensive.

Our Verdict

Dolby vision is great since it’s 2.5 times brighter than HDR10 technology. Buy Dolby vision if you are buying your new TV or ready to upgrade.

But if you already have a TV and you don’t intend to upgrade, you can wait until we have enough Dolby content in the market. Also, Dolby gadgets in the future will be cheaper.

And true to the invention, HDR10+ has given Dolby vision the run for its money. Though, Dolby is still better compared to HDR10+.

Quantum HDR brings about excellent clarity by illuminating even the tiniest details of the scene. Bright points and colors appear brightest while black points or colors appear blackest. As a result, colors and objects appear almost real.

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