Skip to Content

HDR Vs SDR: Differences (What’s BETTER?)

HDR and SDR are great to enhance your TV or monitor viewing experience to the next level.

The HDR stands for High Dynamic Range and the SDR stands for Standard Dynamic range. 

Dynamic range is the spectrum of contrast between light and dark on a screen.

It also refers to a pixel’s ability to display hues in their full capacity, from deep black or white to bright color.

HDR display color technology enhances the color on your Monitor or TV by increasing the color gamut, and contrast ratio as compared to SDR. The HDR display’s output looks better with more clarity and appears lifelike.

In this post, I will discuss the comparison of HDR vs SDR in detail.

HDR vs SDR

Let’s get started!

HDR vs SDR



HDRSDR
Full-FormHigh Dynamic RateStandard Dynamic Rate
Dynamic RangeHigher (More Brightness and Contrast)Lower as compared to HDR
PriceHighLow
ColourMore Punchy and LifelikeNatural(may appear muted)

What is HDR?

HDR or High Dynamic Range is a type of technology that improves the contrast and color in images. 

This newer display tech makes colors brighter on HDR screens to see them better – even when viewing photos at different angles. 

In the case of HDR, additional metadata or information is sent across the video signals in standards like HDR, HDR 10, Dolby Vision, etc. to display enhanced lifelike images on the screen.

The images appear cinematic with high brightness, contrast, improved vibrancy, and ultimately a clear vibrant image.

What is SDR?

SDR, or standard dynamic range, is another display technology that doesn’t produce hues as bright and lifelike. 

SDR is the format that has been used for television and film for many years.

It is based on the way that our eyes see the world, with a limited range of brightness and color.

However, if you look at another Monitor or TV with HDR, you will see a noticeable difference between the two.

Overall Image Quality Comparison for HDR and SDR

HDR and SDR are both acronyms that describe the difference between high dynamic range and standard dynamic range media. 

The terms HDR and SDR refer to a display’s ability to show colors in great detail, with better contrast than on an old TV or monitor. 

This is possible because of a new type of technology called LED backlighting, which more accurately displays the colors of the human eye.

HDR allows for a better dynamic range than SDR and provides a wider color gamut with brighter whites and blacker blacks. 

As contrast is increased, so are near black or white (the two ends of the grayscale).

Using her means images will be viewed in a much more realistic and natural way.

The video below shows the color comparison side by side on monitors to visually understand how HDR differs from SDR.

Price Point comparison for HDR vs SDR

HDR displays are still more expensive and less common than standard dynamic range ones because of the benefits.

 But improvements in HDR technology mean there’s now a greater variety and lower prices for hdr monitors.

Contrast Ratio

HDR displays whether it is a computer monitors or a TV have a much higher contrast ratio as compared to regular SDR displays.

If you watch Online content or Play games you will notice that the dark part of images appears darker in the case of an HDR monitor.

On the other hand, brighter areas appear brighter in the case of an HDR monitor if you watch HDR content on them.

This separation is a game-changer. It will make your watching movies, videos, and playing games much more enjoyable and lifelike if you do that in HDR.

In gaming, you will notice the reflection and shadows better and much as you see in real life.

Color Gamut

SDR displays had a good color gamut already and if you are watching an SDR display you generally won’t complain about the display’s color.

However, if you get a chance to watch proper HDR content on an HDR-enabled display (HDR 10/ HDR 10+/ Dolby Vision).

You will now know the real difference. When I watched HDR and SDR side by side considering both good quality displays, I found I was missing much in an SDR display.

HDR Pros and Cons

Pros

Here are the advantages the HDR displays have over the SDR ones:

1. HDR displays have a wider depth of color and wider color gamut than the standard dynamic range displays.

2. High contrast in the screen offers a better and more realistic viewing experience on HDR when watching video games or looking at images with detail that would otherwise be lost.

3. HDR has a wider range of hues, making for deeper dark shades and clearer bright hues.

This makes it better suited for displaying images with detail that would otherwise be lost or washed out in other types of displays because it offers brighter hues.

Cons

1. HDR displays are much more expensive than regular SDR displays.

2. To enjoy HDR in Monitor you need to have a GPU with HDR support and content must be also HDR.

3. If you are having HDR TV screen, then you need to find appropriate HDR-supported content to get the experience. Often, they come at a premium subscription if you watch Web series or online content.

SDR Pros and Cons

Pros

Here are the advantages of the Standard dynamic range :

1. SDR is less expensive and more common than HDR.

Cons

Here are the cons of using an SDR display:

1. Color output doesn’t look satisfying if you have already watched HDR content on an HDR-supported display.

HDR vs SDR Live Demo Side by Side

For Gaming

In this video, find the difference between HDR and SDR for a monitor in terms of color gamut, color depth, picture clarity, and overall real-life experience by HardwareCanucks.

For Watching Movies

Here is the experience of watching a movie in two displays, one with HDR and another SDR compared side by side by Creative Intent.

HDR vs SDR: Which is Better?

It’s HDR only!

HDR is superior in terms of viewing experience whether it is for a monitor or your television. You will enjoy watching HDR content on HDR television or HDR Monitor even further.

What else is needed to watch a movie in HDR at the weekend?

The experience is unmatched and can’t be compared to SDR.

In one word HDR is way superior and with the latest standards, Dolby Vision watching HDR content is excellent.

HDR vs SDR FAQs

Q. What is better 4K SDR or 1080p HDR?

For large Displays(larger than 40 inches) 4k SDR would look better than 1080p HDR with proper color tuning. However, in the case of smaller monitors and TVs, 1080p HDR would look better and more lifelike than 4k SDR.

Q. Is HDR brighter than SDR?

HDR is much brighter than regular SDR screens. Similarly, the dark points are darker than SDR. This increased contrast ratio and increased color gamut range in the case of HDR displays make them appear brighter than SDR ones.

Q. Which HDR format is best?

HDR has many modern formats like HDR 10, HDR 10+, and Dolby like Dolby Vision. Dolby Vision is the best HDR format. Next comes the HDR 10+ format.

Conclusion

Let’s conclude the post on the comparison of HDR vs SDR!

In this post, I compared the two technologies that define the color output in display screens, such as monitors, televisions, etc.

I hope you enjoyed reading the post!

Was this article helpful?
YesNo