To bring a truly cinematic experience to homes, a large 4K TV (ideally 65-inch or more) is a great start.
But with advancing TV technologies, particularly on the display front, 4K may not be enough to replicate a movie theater experience.
You may think we are alluding to 8K. But we aren’t. 8K is just a bit too expensive and niche at this point.
Moreover, there aren’t TVs big enough to make 8K resolution look like a more significant leap, like how the jump to 4K from 1080p was.
Other aspects of the display matter equally, if not more. And one of those elements is HDR (high dynamic range).
If you’re looking to buy a TV, checking off HDR in your wish list of TV features is becoming imperative.
And your existing TV could be HDR-ready, but you may not have discovered that feature yet.
After reading this article, you’ll learn how to find out if your TV supports HDR. And if it does, we’ll guide you on how to enable it if it’s not turned on by default.
- How Do I Know If My TV Supports HDR?
- How Do I Turn on HDR on My TV?
How Do I Know If My TV Supports HDR?
If your TV is a top-of-the-line 4K TV, it’s pretty much HDR-capable. But do not take our word for it, for there are exceptions. Do some testing instead.
The following are some signs or things you could do to ascertain whether your TV supports HDR.
Look for the HDR Logo
If your TV has the HDR sticker or the stamp of approval from the UHD Alliance–the organization setting UHD content standards–you can be pretty sure your TV supports HDR.
The logo will consist of the text “UltraHD Premium” with an hourglass-like colorful motif to its left.
The seal does not just indicate the TV is HDR-capable, but it also signifies the TV’s 4K Ultra HD resolution, natural colors, a broader color spectrum, etc.
Beware of impostor logos.
If the HDR sticker on your brand-new TV doesn’t look like the UHD Alliance decal, learn more about the sign before brushing it off as fake.
Go Through TV Literature
Usually, TV manufacturers mention critical information about their products on their packaging, including their HDR capabilities.
Therefore, check the TV’s box, and go through the user guide or product manual to learn about its HDR functions.
If that seems like work or you’ve misplaced the manual or discarded the box, do a basic scan online about your TV, typing in its model number in search.
Play HDR Content to See the HDR Prompt
Some TVs may briefly pop up the HDR icon when you stream Dolby Vision or HDR10 content.
On televisions that aren’t that proactive, press the info key on the remote to call up the HDR status information on the screen.
The HDR sign is usually situated in the screen’s top-right corner.
If your TV takes a more passive approach, pull up its Settings while playing the HDR content.
Press the Home key on the remote and access Settings
In Settings, choose Preferences, Picture, and then Picture Mode. If your television detects HDR, it will display the text “HDR-Video,” “HDR-Vivid,” or something similar.
Kindly note that the above prompts or methods to pull up the HDR status of a streaming video may not apply to all brands.
If none of the above applies to your particular TV model, do an online search to find the method specific to it or contact customer support.
Learn Display Specifications
HDR has specific requirements that a TV’s display must meet for the screen-boosting tech to perform to its full potential. The following are those:
If your TV uses a 4K panel, it likely supports HDR.
But because 4K is no more the premium feature for a TV to pack in, it’s entirely possible the greater pixel count does not amount to high dynamic range visuals.
4K is now what 1080p was a few years ago. 8K is now the new 4K. It’s at the upper end of TV screen resolutions and quite expensive.
If your TV is 8K, you can be confident your TV is HDR. Because of the kind of dough buyers must spend to bring home an 8K TV, not equipping the TV with HDR capabilities would be suicidal for the brand.
The 8K television would support all flavors of HDR and lots more to offer the best viewing experience possible.
An electronic display’s brightness is measured in nits.
Traditional HDTVs had a 100-bit output, which is pretty low by HDR standards. Smartphones have gotten so much brighter than that.
HDR needs at least 400 nits of brightness to go about its task. If the brightness levels are lower than that, HDR will be hard-pressed to churn out the splendid visuals it’s known for.
There’s no dearth of “HDR” TVs based on just 300 or 200 nits of display brightness. The cheaper HDR TVs or the deals that seem too good to be true are the ones guilty of such sub-par displays.
If you have a basic understanding of HDR, you would know that the display tech needs a 10-bit panel to work.
For those not in the know, a 10-bit panel can produce a lot more colors per pixel than the traditional 8-bit panel.
If your television uses a 10-bit panel, it’s likely a sign of its HDR readiness.
However, the 10-bit display is not always a given because some TVs with 10-bit panels may not incorporate HDR features.
Though it’s pretty rare to see 10-bit and HDR not going hand in hand, it’s a possibility nonetheless.
If you have good pair of eyes and multiple TVs in the house, play the same content on a non-HDR TV and the other TV you’re testing for its HDR chops.
If the visuals on the TV that you’re testing are brighter and more colorful than the other TV, you could be looking at an HDR screen.
Although the most unscientific method on this list, the dual-screen viewing test could perhaps be the simplest and most effective way to ascertain whether your TV supports HDR.
The test works the best when you play an HDR video on both screens. Here’s a sample 4K HDR video for testing purposes:
You may play the HDR video on just the under-testing TV set and check out things. But when there’s a screen to compare it to, it becomes easier to glean the visual data.
How Do I Turn on HDR on My TV?
If your TV supports HDR and you play HDR content, the TV usually turns on the HDR by itself.
However, the automatic detection may not occur in some cases, mainly when the HDR content is sourced through a USB or an HDMI connection.
In such scenarios, you’ll have to turn on HDR manually. The following are the steps to do it:
- Head to the Picture Settings of your TV in its main menu. In some TVs, HDR could be hidden under Advanced Picture Settings, Input Settings, or could be a sub-menu in the Main Options itself.
- Look for a setting that reads HDMI Color Subsampling, HDMI HDR, HDMI UHD 10-Bit Color, HDMI HD Ultra-Deep Color, etc. It could be something else on your TV.
- The HDR setting would have a toggle switch next to it. If it’s not active, enable it, and you’re done. Restart the TV for HDR to take effect.
If you have trouble locating the HDR setting on your TV, refer to the user manual or do a quick search online.
How to Enable HDMI HDR on a Samsung, LG, or Sony TV?
If you have a Samsung, LG, or Sony-branded 4K HDR TV, here are the steps to enable HDR after plugging in an HDMI cable:
- Samsung: Press on the Menu key; head to Picture; then Picture Options; and enable HDMI UHD Color.
- LG: On an LG, head to Settings; select Advanced; choose Picture; and enable HDMI Ultra Deep Color.
- Sony: In the Settings menu of your Sony television, head to External Inputs, choose HDMI signal format; select HDMI input source, and then Enhanced mode.
Reboot the TV if it doesn’t work on its own.
1/ Do all 4K TVs have HDR?
No, all 4K televisions do not have HDR, but most do.
The belief that 4K TVs have to have HDR support stems from the fact that both technologies became household names at around the same time. There, therefore, is the misconception that 4K and HDR are intertwined.
HDR and 4K are pretty independent of each other or handle different display aspects. In other words, HDR doesn’t need 4K or vice versa.
It’s, therefore, quite possible for some 4K televisions to not pack in HDR and 1080p TVs to support HDR.
Having said all of the above, 4K and HDR are usually packaged together.
2/ Do all TVs come with HDR?
No, all TVs do not come with HDR. Currently, HDR is a display tech relegated to high-end or more premium TVs.
The TVs sold at the lower end of the price spectrum, as a result, are unlikely to support HDR.
That means most 1080p or small 32-inch and 40-inch TVs are unlikely to be HDR-capable.
Kindly note that HDR comes in different avatars, and your TV may support one of them and not all.
For instance, Samsung TVs support HDR10 and HDR10+ as it founded the standard in association with Panasonic and 20th Century Fox. You’d, therefore, not see a Samsung TV with Dolby Atmos.
Before digging into the picture settings of your TV, getting familiar with the various terminology used to denote HDR is essential.
The above ways to learn about your TV’s HDR status won’t work if you don’t know the exact terms you should be looking for.
Catherine Tramell has been covering technology as a freelance writer for over a decade. She has been writing for Pointer Clicker for over a year, further expanding her expertise as a tech columnist. Catherine likes spending time with her family and friends and her pastimes are reading books and news articles.