HDR10 + Gaming is the latest technology to expand the scope of the HDR10 + standard. It debuts on Samsung TVs and gaming monitors. But how does it enhance your gaming experience, and what do you need to enjoy HDR10 + Gaming?
Brings HDR10 + to games
HDR or high dynamic range is one of the most exciting features to find its way to 4K and 8K TVs. It allows televisions and monitors to display more lifelike and accurate colors. But there are several competing standards for HDR. While HDR10 is baseline HDR and is present on all monitors that claim to support high dynamic range, HDR10 + and Dolby Vision are advanced HDR formats that come with dynamic metadata to tell monitors how to adjust brightness levels in an image-for picture or a scene scene by scene.
But even these advanced HDR standards are not enough to do game content justice. This is where Dolby Vision for Games and the new HDR10 + Gaming expansions come into play. With HDR10 + Gaming, HDR10 + Technologies, the company behind the HDR10 + standard, aims to bring the benefits of its HDR format into play.
But HDR10 + Gaming not only brings HDR10 + benefits, such as 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 mapping – to ensure the gaming experience stays on top.
Unlike regular video content such as TV shows or movies, which always have a fixed frame rate, video games can have variable frame rates. So to match the games’ variable frame rate, the screens come with a feature called variable refresh rate or VRR. And HDR10 + Gaming supports it up to 120Hz, ensuring smooth gameplay.
The new high dynamic range gaming extension also solves an annoyance that players deal with in the form of manual calibration of their screens for HDR games. An HDR10 + Gaming compatible screen will seamlessly provide its panel features to the game’s HDR10 + processing block. And the game will automatically optimize its video output for that screen. Since the game itself optimizes its video content, it can retain its creative intent.
Finally, HDR10 + Gaming ensures that the tonemapping process does not increase latency. Based on HDR metadata, tonemapping adopts the digital signals to appropriate light levels. So if this process takes time, it can increase the latency and thus hamper your gaming experience.
All in all, the HDR10 + Gaming ensures that compatible titles display rich and true-to-life colors, just as the developers intended, without sacrificing extra latency or crucial features like VRR.
HDR10 + Gaming vs. Dolby Vision for games
Dolby Vision for Gaming is an extension created by Dolby to bring the benefits of Dolby Vision HDR format to gaming. It first came out in May 2021 and is very similar to HDR10 + Gaming in many ways and includes support for Auto HDR calibration and VRR. But it has at least one extra trick up its sleeve.
One of the major 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 released in HDR or Auto-HDR get enhanced visual experience with Dolby Vision for Games technology. It is not clear exactly how much improvement they are getting, but something is better than nothing.
As of the end of 2021, Dolby Vision for Games will only be available on Xbox Series X and Series S consoles, but it has wider game title support compared to HDR10 + Gaming.
HDR10 + Gaming vs. HDR10 +
HDR10 + Gaming is just an extension of HDR10 + and not a full HDR standard. It’s designed to bring HDR10 + benefits to gaming. So it packs everything the HDR10 + has to offer, like dynamic metadata for adjusting image-by-image brightness and true-to-life colors. It will also be available for free to game studios and hardware manufacturers, the same as the HDR10 +.
What you need to enjoy HDR10 + games
HDR10 + Gaming will initially be available on select 2022 Samsung Neo QLED 4K and 8K TVs as well as gaming screens. Other TV manufacturers that have adopted the HDR10 + standard are also likely to include the expansion in their upcoming products, most notably Panasonic. The Japanese technology company is a founding member of HDR10 + Technologies. So it’s an excellent candidate to support it.
It is unclear whether Samsung or other manufacturers will bring the HDR10 + Gaming extension to their existing TVs via a software update.
In addition, NVIDIA has promised support for HDR10 + Gaming. The company’s RTX 16-, 20- and 30-series GPUs will receive driver updates in 2022 to enable the feature. However, none of the console manufacturers have said anything about adding HDR10 + Gaming support to their devices.
So basically, for now, PC gaming will be the only way to enjoy HDR10 + Gaming and you will need a TV that supports HDR10 + Gaming, a PC with compatible NVIDIA GPU and a compatible gaming.
When we talk about compatible games, several game developers, including Saber Interactive and Game Mechanic Studios, are taking the new technology into their games. Doubt 2, Pinball FX, and Happy Trails and the kidnapped princess will be among the first HDR10 + Gaming titles that you will be able to play.