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Are UHD and HDR the Same Thing?

Nov 27, 2018

Not only is technology changing at a breakneck pace, so too is the vernacular we use to talk about that technology. The phrase “alphabet soup” used to belong exclusively to discussions about Campbell’s, government agencies and shadowy conspiracies. However, in 2018, “alphabet soup” is just as applicable to new technology and the industries that expand as a result. From LCD to HDR, there are many acronyms to keep track of. So, we’re taking the time in this post to explain two of the most important audiovisual acronyms that a lot of consumers will be hearing about more often and will most likely want to learn all about: UHD and HDR. 

We’re often asked if UHD and HDR are the same thing. It’s a fair question. Though they both affect the quality of the image on the screen, they are two separate technologies. Interestingly enough, UHD and HDR actually provide the best results when they are working together. 

UHD stands for “Ultra-High Definition,” HDR stands for “High Dynamic Range.” Both of these acronyms cover technology present in many 4K digital screens available today and are usually discussed when it comes to televisions. Consumers will inevitably hear and see these terms when looking at displays in stores or online, and it can get confusing fast without having a solid explanation around these acronyms first! 

At a high level, UHD refers to the total number of pixels a screen is capable of displaying, while HDR refers to the accuracy, or sharpness, of the pixels that are available. A digital image that is incredibly realistic and lifelike is created when both of these technologies are combined in a display. A UHD/HDR image is noticeably better when it is shown next to a prior generation of display technology, like straight up High Definition. 

The most important part of HDR is the dramatic contrast it offers on screen. With an HDR-capable television, the brights are brighter and the darks are darker. How can darks be darker? Play a horror movie on your HDR-capable television and you’ll understand immediately. That higher contrast ratio makes the image on the screen appear exponentially more realistic, pulling unexpected detail out of what used to be just murky depths on the dark end of the contrast spectrum. On the lighter end of the spectrum, sunlight gleams properly off of a window, and clouds have layers of white that make them appear more lifelike. All told, HDR allows screens to better recreate what our eyes see out in the real world. 

Ultra-High Definition is another way of referring to a 4K screen. 4K is an acronym more of us know. 4K Ultra-High Definition refers to the number of pixels available on the screen. The more pixels available, the sharper the image on the screen will be. The sharper an image, the more realistic it appears. A UHD screen displays four times the number of pixels than a traditional HD screen does. 

If you have to choose one, UHD is the way to go. However, you no longer really have to pick just one. UHD and HDR work best when they are working together, and in 2018 the cost of a screen with these technologies working in tandem is attainable. 

So, how do you know which displays offer this dynamic tech duo? Easy. All you have to do is keep an eye out for the Ultra HD Premium TMlogo. When you see a screen sporting the logo you know that it offers UHD technology. This logo is found on hardware that meets the requirements necessary to create a premium UHD audiovisual experience, meaning you get to view content as the content creator originally intended—and that’s no small feat! 

Shopping for new audiovisual equipment for your home can be stressful and perhaps a bit overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be! Explore experienceUHD.com, take the time to do your research, and keep an eye out for those Ultra HD Premium TMand Mobile HDR Premium TM logos. Trust us, once you make the leap into UHD 4K, everyone you know will want movie night to be at your place from now on.