4K or HDR Video?

HDR Video

Most consumers looking for TV sets are going to look for 4K sets, even though 4K resolution is only visible on really big screens. It’s true that 4K TV delivers four times the amount of information in a video frame as a HD display. But what is often overlooked is the importance of high dynamic range (HDR) video. HDR video has greater luminance and makes TV look better no matter what size the screen.

What is HDR Video?

HDR video goes beyond the limitations of most video signals. It carries information about brightness and color across a much wider range. HDR-capable displays can read that information and show an image built from a wider gamut of color and brightness. HDR video contains more data and that describes more steps in between the extremes. So very bright and very dark areas in the frame can be displayed on screen at the same time. HDR video gives you more shades of gray in between the extremes. It’s so much more data that current Blu-Ray disks cannot hold the HDR data. The new Ultra HD Blu-ray will, when available, be able to hold both 4K and HDR. Online streaming can also offer 4K and HDR video. Of course your current Blu-ray player will not play this new format. That will require a new Ultra HD Blu-ray player like the Samsung UBD-K8500 $226.

But consumers still want 4K more than HDR. TV producers and distributors want to deliver more HDR because not only is the picture quality better, but it can be streamed at reasonably low bitrates. Amazon which delivers lots of video reports that Customer viewing or Amazon’s HDR video in 2016 alone was up over 1,000%. 4K viewing on Amazon increased a bit over roughly 300%. Pay TV providers like cable and satellite find that 4K programming adds a lot to their bandwidth loads. They would rather deliver HDR than 4K.

Phones and tablets cannot benefit from 4K video. The bandwidth is too low and the screens are too small. HDR video, however, looks great on small screens.

YouTube Accepts HDR Video

YouTube does accept HDV video and has a tool for you to upload it, but warns that “If your video was not graded using an HDR transfer function, using this tool will badly distort your videos Many things that have “HDR” in the title were not graded with an HDR transfer function, and this tool will not work on those videos. If you did not grade your own content in HDR, or don’t know what it means to color grade a video, you should not use the YouTube HDR metadata tool.” See Upload High Dynamic Range (HDR) videos.


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