HDR10+ Gaming is the latest technology to expand the scope of the HDR10+ standard. It is debuting on Samsung TVs and gaming monitors. But how does it improve your gaming experience, and what do you need to enjoy HDR10+ Gaming?
Bringing HDR10+ to Games
HDR or high dynamic range is one of the most exciting features to make its way to 4K and 8K TVs. It allows televisions and monitors to display more lifelike and accurate colors. But there are multiple competing standards for HDR. While HDR10 is the baseline HDR and is present on every display that claims to support high dynamic range, HDR10+ and Dolby Vision are advanced HDR formats that come with dynamic metadata to tell displays how to adjust brightness levels on a frame-by-frame or scene-by-scene basis.
But even these advanced HDR standards aren’t enough to do justice to gaming content. This is where Dolby Vision for Games and the new HDR10+ Gaming extensions come into play. With HDR10+ Gaming, HDR10+ Technologies, which is the company behind the HDR10+ standard, aims to bring the advantages of its HDR format to games.
But HDR10+ Gaming doesn’t just bring the HDR10+ benefits, like expanded dynamic range and increased color depth. It also focuses on three key aspects—variable refresh rate (VRR), automatic HDR calibration, and low latency source tone mapping—to ensure the gaming experience remains top-notch.
Unlike the regular video content like TV shows or movies, which always have a fixed frame rate, video games can have variable frame rates. So to match the variable frame rate of the games, the displays come with a feature called variable refresh rate or VRR. And, the HDR10+ Gaming will support it up to 120Hz, ensuring smooth gameplay.
The new high dynamic range gaming extension is also fixing an annoyance that gamers deal with in the form of manual calibration of their displays for HDR games. An HDR10+ Gaming compatible display will seamlessly provide its panel properties to the game’s HDR10+ processing block. And the game will automatically optimize its video output for that particular display. Since the game itself is optimizing its video content, it can maintain the creative intent.
Finally, HDR10+ Gaming ensures that the tone mapping process doesn’t increase the latency. Based on the HDR metadata, tone mapping adopts the digital signals to appropriate light levels. So if this process takes time, it can increase the latency, thus hampering your gaming experience.
All in all, HDR10+ Gaming ensures that compatible titles display rich and lifelike colors just as the developers intended, without the sacrifice of extra latency or crucial features like VRR.
HDR10+ Gaming vs. Dolby Vision for Games
Dolby Vision for Games is an extension created by Dolby to bring the benefits of Dolby Vision HDR format to gaming. It was first to arrive in May 2021 and is quite similar to HDR10+ Gaming in many ways, and includes support for Auto HDR calibration and VRR. But it does have at least one additional trick up its sleeves.
One of the significant ways Dolby Vision for Games differs from HDR10+ Gaming is its ability to enhance regular HDR titles. Of course, the best Dolby Vision for Games experience is only available on the titles optimized for it. Still, even the older titles that were released in HDR or Auto-HDR get improved visual experience with Dolby Vision for Games technology. It isn’t clear exactly how much enhancement they get, but something is better than nothing.
As of late 2021, Dolby Vision for Games is only available on Xbox Series X and Series S consoles, but it has broader support in terms of gaming titles compared to HDR10+ Gaming.
HDR10+ Gaming vs. HDR10+
HDR10+ Gaming is just an extension of the HDR10+ and not a full-fledged HDR standard. It has been developed to bring HDR10+ benefits to games. So it packs everything that HDR10+ has to offer, like dynamic metadata for frame-by-frame brightness adjustments and lifelike colors. It will also be available for free to game studios and hardware manufacturers, same as HDR10+.
What You Need to Enjoy HDR10+ Gaming
HDR10+ Gaming will initially be available on select 2022 Samsung Neo QLED 4K and 8K TVs as well as gaming monitors. Other television manufacturers that have adopted the HDR10+ standard are also likely to include the extension in their upcoming products, particularly Panasonic. The Japanese technology company is a founding member of the HDR10+ Technologies. So it’s a prime candidate to support it.
It’s unclear whether Samsung or other manufacturers will bring the HDR10+ Gaming extension to their existing TVs via a software update.
Additionally, NVIDIA has pledged support for the HDR10+ Gaming. The company’s RTX 16, 20, and 30-series GPUs will get driver updates in 2022 to enable the feature. However, none of the console makers have said anything about adding HDR10+ Gaming support to their devices.
So essentially, for now, PC gaming will be the only way to enjoy HDR10+ Gaming, and you’ll need a TV that supports HDR10+ Gaming, a PC with compatible NVIDIA GPU, and a compatible game.
Speaking of compatible games, several gaming developers, including Saber Interactive and Game Mechanic Studios, are adopting the new technology in their games. Redout 2, Pinball FX, and Happy Trails and the Kidnapped Princess will be among the first HDR10+ Gaming titles that you’ll be able to play.
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