We’ve stumbled upon a truly ironic problem for the highly anticipated HDR (high dynamic range) format after watching a few Ultra HD Blu-ray movies on several 2016 4K HDR TVs we’ve reviewed recently. We were experimenting with introducing ambient lighting to see if we could better mask the backlight inconsistencies and local dimming issues in HDR mode on the LED LCD televisions we were testing, but invariably found ourselves asking, “Why does the HDR picture look so unimpressive? We can’t make out any dark detail!”
And then it hit us.
Contrary to popular belief, the purpose of HDR (high dynamic range) mastering is to expand the available luminance range rather than elevate the overall brightness of HDR videos. High-end display calibration software maker Light Illusion has published this exact quote from SMPTE’s ST.2084:2014 standard “High Dynamic Range Electro-Optical Transfer Function of Mastering Reference Displays” on its website:
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