What is HDR (High Dynamic Range)?
If you’re looking for a new high-end TV you might think that 4K is everything you need for a fully-fledged cinematic experience.
Well, you might be in for a big surprise. As you’ll find out, not all 4K TVs are created equal. While 4K refers to a resolution of at least 3,840 x 2,160 pixels, it doesn’t say much about how colours and brightness are displayed on the screen. You certainly don’t want to have great resolution, but a dark display.
This is where HDR (High Dynamic Range) comes into play. You may have come across the new Panasonic flagship JZ2000 series featuring the AI-powered 4K Master HDR OLED Professional Edition Panel, which is able to produce the darkest shades and brightest colours – for more colourful and vivid images, whose quality even surpasses the experience on the big screen.
But what exactly does HDR stand for and how can it turn your home theatre into an authentic cinematic experience? Should you opt for HDR10 or go all in with HDR10+? And what role does an OLED panel play in all of this? These and many more questions will be answered in this article.
What is a HDR TV?
Before we get into the nitty-gritty details of what high dynamic range entails, let’s cover the basics. When it comes to displays, HDR refers to the luminance level of an image and how the colours are being displayed. The most common unit is ‘nits’, which measures the brightness level.
While regular standard dynamic range (SDR) panels don’t exceed 100 nits, HDR starts from 1,000 nits and can even go up to 10,000 nits, depending on which format you choose. This means you will get the brightest and darkest images for a much more immersive experience compared to standard displays. Next to brightness, HDR televisions must also meet certain criteria when it comes to contrast and colour depth.
High dynamic range offers such a big impact that most people would choose a Full HD HDR display over a 4K SDR display. Fortunately, you don’t need to compromise between resolution and HDR, as both are not competing standards. We suggest you go all-in and opt for a 4K HDR display in order to get a future-proof setup which won’t become outdated in the next few years.
Now you know that an HDR screen is able to render images with much higher contrast and richer colours compared to regular SDR models. However, before you buy a new 4K HDR panel, you need to consider another spec to make a decision.
As initially mentioned, not all 4K TVs are created equal. There is one missing piece of the puzzle when it comes to choosing the right TV for your home theatre. You may have noticed the term ‘OLED’ panel while reading about the Panasonic JZ2000 series. When it comes to picture quality, OLED is considered to be the new gold standard. But why should you opt for OLED instead of LED?
We have just learned that the higher the nits, the brighter the image. But how about dark shades? 0 nits would mean complete darkness, but most displays aren’t able to produce such dark shades. In comparison to LED displays, OLED displays are able to display dark colours with precision, as every single pixel can be switched off completely. On the other hand, LED displays are usually able to display higher screen brightness. OLED displays perform so well in terms of displaying darker shades, they’re usually considered to be the better choice when it comes to picture quality and colourful, vivid images.
Now that we have covered the most important basics, we need to take a closer look at different HDR formats. A lot of things have changed since the first HDR video technology hit the market in 2014. As of right now, the most common HDR formats include, among others, HDR10, HDR10+, Dolby Vision and HLG.
Even though different vendors offer different formats, HDR10 and HDR10+ have become the gold standard for most high-end TVs. The HDR10 Media Profile standard is supported by virtually all media, including Ultra HD Blu-Ray, streaming services and video game consoles. While both standards increase image quality, there are still some remarkable differences between HDR10 and HDR10+.
HDR10 uses static metadata to provide optimal colour calibration settings for the TV screen and has a peak brightness of 1,000 nits, which already offers a great level of contrast and colour depth, considering that SDR only reaches up to 100 nits.
However, in comparison to HDR10, HDR10+ goes even further. While HDR10 reaches a peak brightness of 1,000 nits, HDR10+ can go up to 4,000 nits, which delivers a truly immersive experience. But there is more; the HDR10+ standard uses dynamic metadata, which means that the picture quality is being calibrated on a frame-by-frame basis. The standard ensures that every scene has the optimal brightness, contrast, depth and colour level, for much more realistic and precise images.
As we have seen, TV technology has come a long way. With technologies such as 4K resolution, OLED displays and high dynamic range you have all the right specs in one place to enjoy astonishing images and a fully immersive experience. And since HDR and 4K aren’t entirely new technologies, premium quality doesn’t need to cost much.
With Panasonic’s new range of high-quality 4K HDR OLED TVs, you don’t need to make any compromises in terms of quality and budget. With the JZ2000 series, you can get the best 4K HDR OLED panels to display the darkest shades and brightest colours. Thanks to its HCX Pro AI Processor, colour, contrast and clarity are much more precise compared to ordinary 4K HDR OLED displays. And this isn’t all; depending on the model, the premium televisions support up to HDR10+ quality, which means that you have all important specs covered to make the most of your cinematic experience.