What’s The Difference Between HD And HDR?

Recently, there is a new concept of display screens, which has gradually become the common standard for high-end devices: High Dynamic Range (HDR). So what is HDR, and what makes it popular? And what’s the difference between HD and HDR? Find out in the below article.

Difference Between HD And HDR

Difference Between HD And HDR

What is HD?

HD, or High Definition, refers to the detail level of a screen, or the number of pixels a display has. A pixel is the smallest visible element on a display; or in other words, pixels are the ‘dots’ that combine to make up the overall picture. For example, HD displays with a resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels are referred to as 720p.

Here are some common HD displays:

HD aka 720p 1280 x 720
Full HD (FHD) aka 1080p 1920 x 1080
WUXGA 1920 x 1200
2K 2560 x 1440 (typical monitor resolution) 2048 x 1080 (official cinema resolution)
Quad HD (QHD) aka Wide Quad HD (WQHD) 2560 x 1440
Ultra HD (UHD) 3840 x 2160
4K 3840 x 2160 (typical monitor resolution) 4096 x 2160 (official cinema resolution)
5K 5120 x 2880

What is HDR?

HDR, or High Dynamic Range, is an imaging technique that captures, processes, and reproduces content in a way that the detail of both the shadows and highlights of a scene are increased. Also, the color range is wider, the level of contrast between light and dark images is higher. With HDR, a much more vibrant and realistic image is created on the screen.

HDR was used in traditional photography previously, but recently, it has already been used in smartphones, television displays and so on.

There are two outstanding standards of HDR used today, which are Dolby Vision and HDR10. Dolby Vision uses 12-bit color and a 10,000 Nits brightness limit. However, it requires monitors to be specifically designed with a Dolby Vision hardware chip. Meanwhile, HDR10, a more easily adaptable standard, is chosen by manufacturers to avoid submitting to Dolby’s standards and high fees for hardware support. It uses 10-bit color and 1,000 Nits brightness limit (Nit is a measurement of how much light the TV screen sends to your eyes).

What’s the difference between HD and HDR?

HDR has a higher level of brightness

With HDR, the images are displayed more vividly. How? The whites are brighter and the blacks are darker. The screen has the ability to output more light – up to 1000 Nits, while your old devices are only able to output light levels of around 500 Nits. Especially, HDR screen can lighten or darken any particular area on the screen, while non-HDR screen usually lightens or darkens the whole screen.

(Non-HDR vs HDR)

HDR provides more colors

HDR has a Wide Color Gamut (WCG), which enhances both the color palette and the depth of the color bits (which means increasing the number and shades of the colors). Our old devices can display about 17 million colors only, while with HDR screen, this number increases up to billions. The larger luminance range and additional color data let HDR displays render more discrete steps from the minimum to maximum brightness value in each color, creating more realistic color transitions.

(Wide Color Gamut – WCG)

As you can see, HDR screen, far exceeding old standards, brings the highest quality of images in order to accurately reproduce what can be seen by the human eye.

Which one is better?

From the aforementioned comparison, it can be seen that HDR outweighs HD. In fact, no technology companies dare to stay away from the “HDR era”! Its importance and influence even exceed the current 4K resolution standard. If you are using a high-end device with HDR technology, obviously you cannot complain anything about what HDR brings to our experience. Some of the benefits which can be mentioned are more accurate, beautiful and realistic displays.

And what about gamers? With the strong hardware, gamers can experience a much more impressive and eye-catching “virtual world” instead of pale colors. However, there is one problem that not all game developers apply HDR technology. Only a handful of PC game developers use real HDR technology instead of simulation to make it look like HDR. One of them is Rise Of The Tomb Raider.

HDR10 has also been used by Sony and Microsoft in the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One S. We hope this article will provide you with useful information and answer your question!

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