Nowadays, HDR technology is so mainstream that well-known streaming services like Netflix, Disney+, and Amazon Prime have begun to support HDR content. In fact, you might be shocked to learn that practically every TV or monitor on the market today includes HDR in its list of specifications.
Which raises the question, what exactly is HDR? How does HDR function and how does it differ from standard SDR?
What Is SDR?
Since CRT monitors, the Standard Dynamic Range (SDR) video standard has been in use. SDR is still the standard format for TVs, monitors, and projectors despite the commercial success of HDR screen technology.
SDR is still a suitable format today even if it was once utilized in outdated CRT monitors (and is really hindered by CRT technology’s limitations).
In actuality, SDR is still used in a huge proportion of video content, including YouTube videos, movies, and video games. Basically, you’re probably using SDR if the gadget or content is not HDR-rated.
What Is HDR?
The more recent industry standard for photos and movies is High Dynamic Range (HDR). Photographers who wanted to properly expose a composition with two subjects having a 13-stop difference in exposure value were the first to take up HDR.
With such a broad dynamic range, real-world scenes could now be properly exposed, which was previously impossible with SDR.
HDR was recently introduced to movies, videos, and even video games. High-contrast situations in SDR content had overdone skies, hardly discernible blacks, and banding issues; in HDR, these scenes are realistically portrayed with a broader color space, greater color depth, and higher brightness.
HDR is superior, but by how much? It has a wider color gamut, greater color depth, and greater brightness.
Benefits and Drawbacks of HDR and SDR
Two standards utilized in visual digital media are HDR and SDR. Utilizing one standard as another has its drawbacks and limitations.
HDR is superior to SDR in every regard when it comes to color and display. It offers notable enhancements in color depth, brightness, and color space. Therefore, you should always watch movies, browse photographs, or play games in HDR if you have the option to do so—but can you?
The majority of consumable media does not support HDR, which is a challenge for HDR. Frequently, playing HDR content on an SDR screen will degrade your viewing experience compared to doing so on a standard SDR panel.
Another issue is that, despite its marketing being generally universal, HDR10, which is poorly standardized, is used by the majority of HDR devices. For instance, you may see the HDR10 badge applied on a poor display that falls short of the 1,000-nits panel featured in HDR10 commercials.
Although SDR offers the common viewing standards and, when it does, cannot compete with HDR, many people still choose utilizing it because to its simplicity, compatibility, and lower cost.
You need both
Knowing the distinctions between SDR and HDR standards makes it evident that HDR is the superior option for enjoying enjoyable content. This does not suggest that you should stop utilizing SDR, though. The truth is that, whether you’re watching or playing HDR-specific content, SDR is still the superior standard to utilize.
It might be wise to spend more money on an expensive HDR-capable panel when purchasing a new monitor so you can watch both HDR and SDR material. You may always disable HDR when watching, playing, or using SDR content and applications because SDR content appears horrible in HDR10.
That should help you understand how significant a contribution HDR makes. Even though SDR will continue to be the preferred method for viewing different types of information, HDR will eventually receive stronger support. Then, it will probably become the accepted standard.