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Written by Jason
In the wake of 2016 the sudden popularity of HDR has raised another round of heated discussion over better image/visual quality. Almost all devices including tablets, TVs, 4K Blu-ray discs, streaming boxes, and media players are taking aims at featuring HDR, smooth HDR content playback etc. But to our common users, questions like what's HDR? How to play HDR video content are more of the matter at presant.
What is HDR Content?
HDR is the abbreviation for High-dynamic range. Briefly speaking, under this HDR effect, the luminosity range of video/image is extended so that more details in both highlights and shadows are able to be showed as if we are looking at the real thing. We are all familiar with HDR photo, HDR camera, HDR images, since HDR is rather an old concept that has been already used in photography (HDR imaging) and video games (HDR rendering). But it was until 2015 when Amazon Video offered HDR video using HDR10 Media Profile video that the HDR video was for its first time revealed in front of our video viewers.
How to Play HDR Content?
To enjoy and play HDR content, three dispensable elements shall be simultaneously met: HDR content, HDR player and HDR display (with HDMI cable).
Method 1: There are thousands of HDR content online free downloadable on YouTube like HDR video clips, HDR demo videos, HDR movie clips of Mad Max, Life of Pi in 4K res. You can either play those HDR content or download those HDR video to your local storage for viewing or testing.
Method 2: You can go to subscription based Netflix, Amazon Prime video to take a look or go to purchase/rental sites like Amazon Video, Ultraflix, Fandango Now, Vudu, Sony Ultra to take a bite on HDR videos and movie clips. 2019 Netflix offers a lot HDR contents with 5.1 SS suport:
The Do Over
The Ridiculous 6
Godless – Limited Series
Marvel's Luke Cage
Marvel's Iron Fist
Marvel's The Defenders
Abstract: The Art of Design
Chef’s Table France
Friends from College
Santa Clarita Diet
Method 3: If you are intended to watch an HDR full movie offline, HDR 4K blu-ray DVD movies are wide spread already. Buy or rent HDR 4K Blu-ray movie discs. Mind that not all 4K blu-ray discs support HDR effect, so make sure that the discs are tagged with HDR. Great collections of HDR 4K movie DVDs are but not limited to
Kingsman: The Golden Circle
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Ultimate Edition
The Amazing Spider-Man 2
Independence Day: Resurgence
Blade Runner 2049
Blade Runner: The Final Cut
War for the Planet of the Apes
Ghost in the Shell
Star Trek Into Darkness
The Fate of the Furious
Planet Earth II
Blue Planet II
HDR video movies usually use 10bit HEVC encoding in 4K res. From our experience, as long as your HDR player (device or software) supports 10bit HEVC decoding, you can play HDR content out of the box.
Best HDR Video Player Software – 5KPlayer
If you want to play HDR videos on computers, 5KPlayer is a good choice! This 4K HDR player supports HEVC, H.264, H.265 8bit 10bit video decoding with immersive rendering ability. It plays back HDR 4K 8K videos smoothly without hiccups, provided that your computer configuration is higher than the average. Also, this HDR player enables you to free download YouTube HDR videos and from over 300+ online HDR content sites and is built in with AirPlay tech to let you stream HDR content to Apple TV 4 HDR TV screen. For a HDR video taster, this might be the most ideal way of HDR content appreciation at zero cost.
Ace 4K HDR TV Set Supporting 10bit HEVC decoding – Sony X9300D/X9400D
Sony XD93 and XD94 are two latest and smartest 4K HDR blessed TV set 2016 that natively support 4K HDR content playback and 10bit HEVC decoding. Note that X9000 2015 series support HDR yet are made possible by firmware update which is inferior to the 2016 newest 4K HDR models. XD93 and XD94 4K HDR TVs support direct playback of 4K HDR videos, embedded with Slim Backlight Drive, X1 4K processor, x-tended Dynamic Range pro, and 4K X-reality pro. Just download an HDR video to a flash drive and plug it into the TV USB port then you can enjoy.
Roku 4 is reported to throw a big upgrade this time for the addition of 4K HDR support in the high-end "Ruko Ultra" and "Roku Premiere Plus". Since Nvidia Shield and Xiaomi Mi box have already added 4K HDR streaming options, Roku 4's big overhaul will catch up with the competition or better stands out from the crowd.
Great HDR Video Media Player Devices – Samsung & Panasonic 4K Bluray Players
To play 4K Blu-ray HDR full movies in 4K blu-ray discs, 4K blu-ray players are needed since there's no way to decrypt 4K blu-ray. Newly produced top 4K blu-ray players 2016 can generally get HDR video playing smoothly on your 4K HDR TV. Among them, Samsung UBS-K8500 4K Blu-ray player and Panasonic DMP-UB900 4K Blu-ray player are the most recommended two devices for you to give a try, yet a bit expensive at the moment - $400 and $600 for each device respectively. Other comparatively cheaper 4K up-scaling Blu-ray players like Sony 4K WIFI, Samsung 4K 3D, Panasonic Smart network 4K are also doable. Check up the Top 5 4K Blu-ray players list to decide yourself.
To play HDR video movies, a qualified HDR-capable TV or computer monitor is a must. As said before, HDR, as a visual standard can only be manifested through the HDR screen otherwise the HDR content can only be shown in SDR quality.
There are mainly two HDR formats HDR10 and Dolby Vision. Apart from Sony X9300D and X9400D mentioned earlier which only supports HDR10 format, LG Signature OLED and Vizio HDR TV support both HDR10 and Dolby Vision. Philips and TCL support Dolby Vision. It might be better for you to choose a display with complete HDR format compatibility to cover all HDR video playbacks.
Step 1. Download this HDR video player for PC/Mac – 5kplayer and install it.
Step 2. Download a 4K HDR video by following the 4K movie download instructions.
Step 3. Upon the completion of download, drag and drop the HDR video onto 5KPlayer UI.
Tips: The HDR video will be played in a sec, and you can follow the 4K HDR streaming guide to AirPlay 4K content to your Apple TV 4 for a better immersive HDR watching experience.
5KPlayer enables your PC/Mac to play HDR content directly free on PC/Mac while streaming the video to your HDTV screen. Best HDR video player freeware to get what you want directly from online. Get this 4K HDR player now!
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