Apple TV App Is Adding HDR10+ Support; What Does That Mean and Why Does It Matter?
Apple announced a lot of software updates and some new tech hardware on Monday at its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), but perhaps one of the more interesting tidbits that swept by is the revelation that the firm will add HDR10+ support to its Apple TV app. Here’s why that matters.
For the uninitiated, HDR stands for High Dynamic Range, which relates to photos and videos. Typically speaking, the human eye can better interpret highlights and shadows than most image sensors, meaning that people can generally interpret a broader scale of light than a majority of cameras can. Traditionally, this has meant that filmmakers and photographers have had to expose for a set range, knowing they’ll lose out on detail — usually in the brightest or darkest sections of a frame.
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HDR works to overcome this issue by capturing multiple frames — exposing for highlights, mid-tones, and shadows — stitching them together to make one complete image. Of course, there are many flavors of HDR, each relying on its own methods for processing frames. But whatever the process, the net effect is a final image that has more detail throughout than its non-HDR counterparts.
Among the more recent standards is HDR10+, which is often considered a premium HDR standard. In short, HDR10+ adds additional information to each video frame, which promises an even better audience viewing experience. However, HDR10+ only works on supported devices, which is often used as a selling point for higher-end TVs and monitors.
Dolby has its own competing top-shelf HDR format — dubbed Dolby Vision HDR — but it’s a more proprietary system and is therefore subject to more licensing agreements than HDR10+, which has somewhat restricted its support across the industry. Still, Apple has supported Dolby Vision HDR since the launch of iPhone X in 2017, and soon the company will bring similar love to HDR10+ content.
HDR10+ will be added to the Apple TV app as part of the company’s next major software rollout, which will happen sometime in the fall. This means iOS devices with OLED displays, Apple TV 4K, and select iPads will all soon be able to handle premium HDR content, no matter the format it was mastered in.