But what is HDR, and why should you be getting ready for it?
The deeper blacks, brighter whites, and extended colour space of HDR are motivating TV content providers in a way that data-heavier 4K UHD alone did not manage. But are you – and your TV – ready?
It wasn’t so long ago that the video display industry was buzzing about the high clarity visual experience of 4K resolutions being rolled out everywhere, while even further excitement was mounting about an 8K future. But these days, the hottest trend in the TV world is that True 4K itself is getting an upgrade in terms of contrast and colour depth with the increasing popularity of High Dynamic Range (HDR) technology. But what is HDR, and why should you be getting ready for it?
Black is the New Black
Contrast is very important to the human eye, but TV screens and other displays have always had problems with blacks and with details in shadows. HDR looks to solve these problems. The technology allows for significantly more realistically contrasted visuals and is a dramatic leap forward for 4K in the home. So much so that any content that isn’t HDR is now referred to as SDR (Standard Dynamic Range).
While the higher resolution of a 4K Ultra HD TV gives you more pixels than previous standards, an HDR TV can do so much more with those same pixels. HDR is generally more focused on lowlights than highlights, but both have a much more increased range of depth with an HDR TV. HDR brings out colour detail in low-light areas so that shadow details aren't crushed, while also not clipping the highlights. Put even more simply, HDR makes the darks deeper and the lights brighter, with extra color shades created in post-production that optimize the contrast ratio of the display while also increasing the amount of detail in an extended colour space. This adds both noticeable punch and extra vibrancy.
HDR technology is giving displays an upgrade in terms of contrast and colour depth, delivering a much wider range of colour and contrast to produce more vivid video than SDR.
What is the difference between Static HDR and Dynamic HDR?
SDR is vastly improved upon by HDR, but there are actually two kinds of HDR – Static HDR and Dynamic HDR – and these offer different levels of visual improvement. While both HDR standards will allow movies to take advantage of HDR’s expanded contrast ranges, brightness levels, and heightened levels of detail, only the dynamic version can have this perfected scene-by-scene or even frame-by-frame. In this way, dynamic HDR ensures every moment of a video is displayed at its ideal visual brilliance, which is important in terms of being able to bring a director's “vision” to your TV with dramatic changes, in contrast, becoming part of how content is conceived and filmed. With Static HDR, on the other hand, there is only one HDR look for content, because static metadata necessitates a compromise that applies to all the scenes. Notwithstanding, static HDR is still HDR, and still constitutes a big leap forward from SDR.
On the left you can see how static HDR applies the same heightened settings to every frame; on the right is a representation of how dynamic HDR can apply different levels of contrast and brightness on a frame-by-frame basis.
ATEN Ensures Quality HDR Delivery
While the industry is excited about HDR content and HDR displays, how do you make sure that your HDR content gets to your HDR display? What kind of infrastructure do you need to achieve this? This is where ATEN comes in.ATEN fully tested its True 4K Series with HDR to verify with absolute certainty that all products support the bandwidth required for HDR content as well as comprehensive EDID settings to ensure output capability. All products are also guaranteed to transmit complete InfoFrame Metadata, something that is especially important to enjoy the full visual benefits of dynamic HDR.
ATEN’s True 4K Series with HDR supports all the popular HDR formats on the market, including HDR10, Dolby Vision, and Hybrid Log Gamma (HLG), and both static and dynamic HDR. ATEN’s products support up to 18Gbps bandwidth and HDCP2.2 to deliver high-performance signal extension, routing and distribution solutions for True 4K HDR video content. The series not only includes splitters and switches but also matrix switches with a video wall processor, meaning that ATEN has a product for any of the various applications where you need the seamless delivery of HDR content at the best possible quality to wherever you require it.
Discover more about ATEN’s True 4K Series with HDR here: True 4K HDR Series