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The future is bright, the future is HDR!

HDR stands for High Dynamic Range; this is the difference between the lightest and darkest parts of the television picture. It has been discovered that increasing the dynamic range of a television picture provides vivid colour rendition, a higher contrast ratio and increases the overall brightness of the picture. In other words the blackness of a picture is blacker but with more discernible information in the shades of black and more information in the brightest pasts of the picture instead of the whites appearing to wash out all the detail. This has the overall effect of producing a greater pallet of colours than available on a ‘normal’ television set.

Although this has been developed to enhance the perceptive definition of the UHD (ultra high definition) 4K generation of television sets, what the manufacturers will not tell you is that it can also markedly improve the overall quality of a normal HD television picture as well. In fact in a recent test where viewers were asked to choose between an HD TV with HDR and a UHD TV without HDR most said that there was little to choose between them or they were inclined to show a preference for the HD HDR television.

To distinguish between UHD and a TV with UHD High Dynamic Range the manufacturers have decided to label these TV as ‘UltraHD Premium’. So these 4K TV’s will be badged with the logo below. Both LG and Samsung’s SUHD will have Premium badges and have announced that they will begin to ship UHD Premium products shortly.

None of the manufacturers have stated whether they intend to produce HD HDR televisions and as the marketing bias is towards shifting buyers to purchase UHD sets there seems little likelihood that HD HDR will be manufactured.

As to where you can see UHD Premium programme content, both Netflix and Amazon are beginning to add HDR content to their library with Netflix’s Marco Polo and the second series of Daredevil both available in HDR, but at a ‘Premium’ price, you should also be aware that to receive 4K content you will need a very fast broadband speed of at least 25Mbps which is recommended by Netflix.

Beware – an important tip, if you intend to buy a sparkling new UHD TV make sure that you view a SD (standard definition) programme on it and that you are entirely happy with the quality of SD as viewed on the UHD TV in the store. I overheard a salesman in a famous high-street store recently say to a couple who were about to spend the best part of £1500 on a new TV, “0h, don’t take any notice of the quality because it’s only a standard definition broadcast.” In fact, probably 80% of the TV you watch will still be in SD at the moment and nothing in 4K for quite a while unless you subscribe to Netflix or Amazon Prime Video and then only a select amount of content is currently available. So don’t be fooled and taken in by the slick sales and marketing hype.





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