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What's the difference between HDR 10 and Dolby Vision?

TV expert Steve Kindig has the latest scoop

HDR 10 and Dolby Vision Graphic

I've gotten a few questions lately about HDR, so I thought I'd share some of the info I've gathered on the topic, especially the differences between the two formats: HDR 10 and Dolby Vision™. If you want the full scoop, a good place to start is this CNet article on HDR format wars — it does a great job of explaining how both systems work. But if you don't have time to read it, here are some key takeaways:

The difference between HDR 10 and Dolby Vision

Both are methods for presenting a picture with advanced brightness and color.

HDR 10 is a static system — the HDR metadata establishes picture settings at the beginning of the movie, TV show, etc. and remain constant throughout. Content is mastered with 10-bit color and peak brightness of 1000 nits (Samsung's SUHD TVs claim peak brightness of 1000 nits, too).

Dolby Vision is a dynamic system — the HDR metadata can tell the TV to change brightness range on a scene-by-scene or even frame-by-frame basis. Content is mastered with 12-bit color and peak brightness of 4000 nits (no current TVs can fully reproduce these ranges, BTW).

Which TVs can display it?

To give you a sense of just how many options are out there, I took a head count, and Crutchfield offers 65 4K TVs with some degree of HDR compatibility.

Earlier models

All of the 2015 HDR-capable models support only HDR 10. That's because HDR 10 capability can be added to a TV or device via firmware update, which is what happened with many 2015 4K TVs. But Dolby Vision cannot be added via firmware update — it requires a Dolby decoder chip.

The newest TVs

Samsung and Sony 4K TVs support HDR 10. All LG 4K TVs support HDR 10, and LG OLED models and upper-end LCDs also support Dolby Vision. Vizio is another high-profile Dolby Vision supporter.

And where does the content come from?

So far, Ultra HD Blu-ray discs have featured HDR 10 only, and the Samsung Ultra HD Blu-ray player only supports HDR 10. HDR 10 is the "mandatory" HDR format for UHD Blu-ray while Dolby Vision is an "optional" format.

Netflix and Amazon are backing both HDR formats, but the selection isn't huge; Vudu already offers over 40 streaming movies with Dolby Vision.

Netflix 4K/HDR content:

A Series of Unfortunate Events

Bloodline

Chef's Table

Hibana

Knights of Sidonia

Marco Polo

Marvel's Daredevil

Marvel's Iron Fist

Marvel's Jessica Jones

Marvel's Luke Cage

Marvel's The Defenders

The Do-Over

The Ridiculous Six

Amazon 4K/HDR content:

Fury

Men in Black 3

Smurfs 2

After Earth

Pineapple Express

Chappie

The Amazing Spiderman 2

Salt

Hancock

Elysium

Transparent S1 & S2

Mozart in the Jungle S1 & S2

Man in the High Castle

Bosch S1 & S2

Red Oaks

Mad Dogs

Casanova

Highston

Z

One Mississippi

Edge

The Patriot

Good Girls Revolt

Here's a list of Vudu's 4K titles with Dolby Vision (and Dolby Atmos). I confirmed that the titles listed below have it, but there may be others; you can see the entire list at vudu.com.

How to Be Single

The Conjuring

Point Break (2015)

In the Heart of the Sea

The Lego Movie

Black Mass

Live, Die, Repeat

Sherlock Holmes

Goodfellas

Man of Steel

The Hangover

Mad Max Fury Road

Pan

The Intern

San Andreas

American Sniper

The Man from U.N.C.L.E.

Jupiter Ascending

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