So by now everyone has seen and heard of the new Xbox One S, Microsoft’s new “slim” iteration of the Xbox One console. The Xbox One S also packs some new features, internal power supply, 4K video and blue ray playback as well. The redesigned console adds support for HDMI 2.0a, so it now supports 4K 60Hz output. HDMI 2.0a has a capacity for deeper color space that allows the use of High Dynamic Range (HDR).
What is High Dynamic Range (HDR)?
High Dynamic Range is the rendering of computer graphic scenes by using lighting calculations done in a larger dynamic range. HDR uses 10 bit color rendering that allows colors to be displayed in much broader range allowing details in a scene with a large contrast ratio to be preserved. Without HDR, areas that are too dark will be clipped to black and areas that are too bright will be clipped to white. In short, HDR provides more natural colors in a scene with deeper blacks, brighter whites and a more natural color pallete in an image compared to standard rendering.
How can you benefit?
The only way you will be able to take advantage of this new rendering technique is to have a TV or monitor that supports HDR. When looking for a display that can take advantage of HDR you want to look for an Ultra HD Premium Certification (UHD), meaning you will have a TV that is capable of meeting HDR standards. Even though HDR (UHD) is almost exclusively seen on 4K TV’s, not all 4K televisions support HDR, so be sure to pay close attention to the features of the display before making a purchase.
What games will support HDR?
According to The Coalition studio head Rod Fergusson, Gears of War 4 will be one of the first games that will use HDR. Playground Games announced that they will also utilize HDR in their beautiful open world racer Forza Horizon 3. As the technology is now available we will have to wait and see what other developers will utilize this new rendering technique into its games to take advantage of this feature. As it stands today, various game engines support HDR and we could expect to see future games implement it now that there is a console supporting it. Some of those game engines are:
- Unreal Engine 4
- Unreal Engine 3
- Chrome Engine 3
- REDengine 3
- CryEngine, CryEngine 2, CryEngine 3
- Dunia Engine
- id Tech 5
- Frostbite 2
- Refractor 2
- Real Virtuality 2, Real Virtuality 3, Real Virtuality 4
- HPL 3
- Babylon JS
We hope this article was useful in explaining what HDR is, what type of displays will support it and what games we may see in the future supporting it. The Xbox One S is a clear step ahead of the original console and for those with displays that can take advantage of HDR, this seems like a purchase worth looking into.