Q: Could you explain the television high dynamic range formats HDR10, Dolby Vision and HDR10+? It is confusing, and now there are competing HDR standards/formats. It's making me angry.
A: It is indeed confusing, but there is no reason to get angry. There is compatibility among the formats.
HDR10, Dolby Vision and HDR10+ are formats for transmitting and displaying high dynamic range (HDR) material. HDR expands the range of colors and brightness levels that a 4K television can display. The program, playback device and display all must support HDR to show the HDR image.
Most products support at least HDR10. It is an open format without licensing costs. Dolby Vision is a proprietary format with licensing fees. It has higher technical specifications than HDR10 and potentially can provide better picture quality, though I think the quality of video mastering and production and the quality of the TV itself have a bigger impact than the HDR format used. HDR10+ is an enhancement of HDR10 that also is free and is compatible with HDR10. It brings HDR10 capabilities closer to Dolby Vision.
Almost all Dolby Vision programming also supports HDR10. If you stream a Disney Plus program broadcast in Dolby Vision, your HDR10 TV will display it with high dynamic range. Theoretically it would look slightly better if the TV supported Dolby Vision, but, again, you have to consider the quality of the source material and the television being used.
Samsung does not support Dolby Vision, and they make some of the best televisions. With the same Dolby Vision source material, a top-of-the-line Samsung with HDR10 will produce a better picture using HDR10 than a competitive mid-level model using Dolby Vision. So for me, HDR10 is a must-have. Dolby Vision is nice to have, but not an absolute must-have.
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Send questions to Don Lindich at firstname.lastname@example.org. Get recommendations and read past columns at soundadvicenews.com.