If you’re in the market to buy a new TV, you may be wondering what the difference is between HDR10 and HDR10+. Which one delivers the best image quality? I was wondering the same.
I spent hours researching the HDR10 vs HDR10+ debate and I’ll share what I learned with you.
HDR10 vs HDR10+ Which is Better:
When comparing HDR10 to HDR10+, HDR10+ comes out ahead because it supports dynamic metadata that allows each frame to be optimized.
HDR10 only supports static metadata, the same configuration across the entire media, which can create oversaturated or washed-out visuals.
On the other hand, HDR10 is supported on more devices, such as consoles, streaming devices, TVs, and whatnot.
|Bit Depth||Max 10-bit||10-bit to 16-bit|
|Peak Brightness||10,000 nits||10,000 nits|
|Developer||Consumer Technology Association||Samsung and Amazon Video|
HDR10 Pros & Cons:
- Improves clarity and brightness
- Most 4K TVs, consoles, streaming services, and other devices support HDR10
- Uses static metadata. Some scenes can appear oversaturated or washed out.
HDR10+ Pros & Cons
- Uses dynamic metadata, and each frame is optimized and adjusted.
- Better image quality than HDR10 (no oversaturation).
- Fewer devices and streaming services support HDR10+
- Only found on Samsung TVs
What is HDR?
To start, let’s do a brief review of what is HDR. HDR stands for High Dynamic Range. Essentially, HDR boosts scenes’ contrast, brightness, tone mapping, and colour, using dimming zones and other features.
There are many different types of HDR, but the most common are HDR10, HDR10+, and Dolby Vision.
When a number follows HDR, that number represents the maximum peak brightness, measured in nits.
HDR10 is the standard version that is included in most 4K TVs. It’s an open-source standard created by Consumer Technology Associate in 2015.
It uses 10-bit colour and static metadata to adjust the colour, contrast, and brightness.
Metadata is like a set of instructions for the TV to calibrate the HDR settings.
While HDR10 definitely looks good, certain movies can look washed out because the HDR is not calibrated for every scene.
The metadata stays the same across the board. That means some scenes can appear too dark and others too bright.
HDR10 has a peak brightness of 10,000 nits.
HDR10+ is similar to HDR10 because it has the same peak brightness, except with the addition of dynamic metadata.
With dynamic metadata, the colour settings of each frame in a scene are optimized. Unlike HDR10, the settings don’t remain the same with every scene.
HDR10+ improves the clarity of each frame, without oversaturation or other issues.
Technically, HDR10+ can support more than 10-bit colours, but there’s barely any media that supports more than 10-bit colours.
Generally, HDR10+ looks much better than HDR10.
Now for a bit of background. HDR10+ is an improved version of HDR that was designed by Samsung and Amazon Video in 2017. HDR10+ is often referred to as Samsung’s Dolby Vision.
It’s a royalty-free open standard, no license is needed. However, competing versions of HDR such as Dolby Vision are usually not supported on Samsung TVs, and vice versa.
Is HDR10+ as Good as Dolby Vision?
HDR10+ and Dolby Vision are very similar because they both use dynamic metadata and have the same peak brightness.
Dolby Vision tends to take the lead because it’s supported on more devices (such as gaming consoles) as well as streaming services.
Also, the quality of the HDR depends on the TV’s capabilities, such as the number of dimming zones.
While a TV may support HDR10+, it needs an HDR10+ source signal.
Certain streaming devices support HDR10+. Roku, Amazon, and Google TV recently received updates to support HDR10+ at 4K.
Currently, Paramount+ supports HDR10+ but other streaming platforms such as Netflix only support HDR10 or Dolby Vision.
Likewise, modern gaming consoles (Xbox Series and Playstation 5) support HDR10 and Dolby Vision but not HDR10+.
Not many games support HDR10+ or even HDR10. For a list of games, take a look at our HDR for gaming article.
Overall, since it had a headstart of a couple of years, HDR10 is supported on more devices and content.
Is HDR10+ Backward Compatible?
Yes. HDR10+ is backwards compatible with HDR10. If a media source can’t output an HDR10+ signal, it will fall back to the standard HDR10. Dolby Vision is also backward compatible with HDR10+.
The Bottom Line
Overall, HDR10+ is the winner. Having said that, the quality of HDR varies from device to device, so it’s not so easy to say what will look best for you. I recommend playing around with the settings to see what you prefer.