HDR Formats Types: HDR10, HDR10+, Dolby Vision and HLG

HDR Formats Explained-AV Access

Most new TVs have the ability to display HDR content, which has more detail in the bright and dark areas of the image, for a greater “dynamic range” compared to non-HDR content. Billed as a way to get brighter colors and a better image, HDR essentially allows you to get brighter images and more vibrant colors — as long as the screen and the content support the tech.

But what exactly is HDR? And what’s the difference between HDR formats? From HDR10 to Dolby Vision, here’s everything you need to know about HDR.

What is HDR?

HDR stands for “High Dynamic Range”. It is a technology that produces images with a large perceptible difference between bright and dark regions. This capability achieves lifelike images and preserves precise details in lighting variations and gradations for realistically bright or dark pictures without subtle detail loss.

There are a number of different types of HDR that you’ll find on displays these days. The most popular include HDR10, HDR10+, Dolby Vision, and HLG. Next, we will have a closer look at them.

What is HDR10?

  • Supported by everything
  • Better image quality potential than Standard Dynamic Range (SDR), but perhaps not as good as HDR10+ or Dolby Vision
  • Static metadata

HDR10 is the most common and popular type of HDR, since it is an open standard and is used by a huge range of streaming services, including Netflix, Disney+, Apple TV+, and more. Also it is free to use for manufacturers, so it can be decoded by any HDR TV and streamed by any HDR streamer.

HDR10 uses something called “static metadata.” This means that there’s one HDR “look” for the entire movie or show. This is certainly better than SDR content, but it doesn’t allow for, say, a really bright scene to look its absolute best, nor a dark scene its best, within the same movie. The advantage of that is that it takes up less bandwidth than a format like Dolby Vision, which can send metadata frame-by-frame.

What is HDR10+?

  • Championed by Samsung
  • Not widely supported
  • Dynamic metadata
  • Potentially better image than vanilla HDR10

As you probably figured from the name, HDR10+ is like HDR10… but plus. The plus in this case is dynamic metadata, improving on HDR10’s static. This means that on a per-scene — or even per-image — basis, the content can provide the TV with all the information it needs to look its absolute best. The only problem is that it’s a Samsung format. Although they promise that there will be no licensing fees, it is still a bit of stumbling block.

Although there are many TV manufacturers producing HDR10+ compatible TVs, content and other devices are not as prevalent. The intention is for it to become more popular over time and more competitive with Dolby Vision.

What is Dolby Vision?

  • Widely supported
  • Potentially the best image quality of all the formats
  • Less content than stock HDR10

Dolby Vision is a format developed by Dolby Labs. Since it’s a propriety format, Dolby Labs licenses it, which means that companies have to pay Dolby to use it.

Dolby Vision offers a number of clear advantages over other HDR formats, making a big push for HDR. It supports 12-bit color, and a theoretical maximum brightness of a hefty 10,000 nits, so it is much more future-proof than other HDR standards.

What is HLG?

  • From BBC and NHK
  • Free to use
  • Broadcast friendly

HLG, or Hybrid Log-Gamma, was created by Britain’s BBC and Japan’s NHK. Unlike the formats we’ve discussed so far, it’s actually backward-compatible with SDR TVs. HLG is likely better than SDR, but perhaps not quite the picture quality of the other HDR formats, since it can’t do much to the black levels of an image — so you won’t really get much better detail in shadows and night scenes.

HLG is still in its infancy, and as a result, there isn’t much HLG content out there. We’ll have to wait and see if that changes over time.


Ultimately, the difference between the formats isn’t that important. The quality of the TV itself has a much bigger impact on HDR. There are limitations with HDR, though, because TVs can’t reach the 10,000 nit peak brightness and all the colors HDR is capable of, but most TVs still deliver a satisfying HDR experience.

AV Access 4KEX70-ARC-H2 is a 4K ARC HDMI extender kit, it can transmit 4K@60 4:4:4 UHD video signal up to 40m/130ft. With HDCP2.2 compliant and 18Gbps bandwidth, it can support HDR10.

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