The world of image on screens and televisions has evolved very rapidly in recent years and we have been able to experience a change in the trend in which resolution and clarity have been given priority over contrast, brightness and dedicated technologies. As all that is reproduced in these screens, video games have been one of those affected by this change in trend, which are going to embody today in the figure of the HDR or High Dynamic Range, trying to explain its operation and the importance of its appearance in the intergenerational consoles.
The High dynamic range is already an old acquaintance of other sectors, mainly in photography, prior to its proliferation in movies or videogames, but they are all based on the same principle: to cover the widest possible range in the different levels of exposure to light that an image can have, that is to say, that in an image a whole range of contrasts is correctly represented. This contrast is measured by the difference between the lightest whites and the darkest blacks the screen is capable of displaying. This difference is usually represented by the minimum and maximum candles per square meter that can be displayed, being known as nits. So the HDR screens usually have a good level of contrast to work properly.
This effect in photography is achieved by superimposing the information of the same image exposed to different levels of light, in video, however, this is not possible. To achieve this effect it is recognized through software or the meta-information of the video itself how the lighting of each area of the screen should be that when it is broadcast, it is done with a different treatment where it is needed, that is, the image is illuminated by different way in different areas as required. The result is a more vivid image with a greater representation of color, which is numbered through the color bits, the greater the number, the greater the range. For this same reason, this technology benefits from high resolutions, it is common to find 4K HDR screens, since the greater the number of pixels, the greater the precision when limiting these areas of the screen that light up differently.
It should also be noted that the 4K HDR at 60Hz is the current limit of the HDMI standard, as we already talked about in our special about the HDMI 2.1 that will happen to you. For Sony and Microsoft it was vital to justify the launch of intergenerational consoles through the technology offered by these consoles, and to be consistent with this limitation.
There are different solutions that make use of this technology, the most common are Dolby Vision as the first precursor of technology and the HDR10 free-use standard being the most widespread today. There are also software solutions that are promoted as HDR, but their results are far from what we can see in the “real” format. of this technology but that lead to some improvement over the normal range.
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