Disney + ‘s The Mandalorian Joins Long List of Fake HDR Content, Analysis Says

Enlarge / Pedro Pascal plays the role of the Mandalorian.

High Dynamic Range (HDR) is the most notable new display technology for consuming rich media from high definition, but judging by some of its implementations, you wouldn’t necessarily know it.

The HDTVTest YouTube channel is known for performing quality analysis of HDR implementations in popular media such as movies, games, and TV shows, and has found that Disney + The Mandalorian live action Star wars The series is the latest in a long line of high-profile content that is simply SDR packaged in an HDR package. The show doesn’t have any of the real benefits of HDR and a number of additional drawbacks, so viewers might actually prefer to turn HDR off on their TVs while viewing.

Most good TVs that support HDR are capable of displaying specular reflections at a brightness of around 800 to 1200 cd / m², and that brightness range of black (or quite close on LCD screens) is what. that makes HDR possible. By presenting such a range of brightness, the content presents a realistic and visually striking contrast between the lightest and darkest parts of the image. This range and granularity of brightness also has a significant impact on color.

In what has become a common test to evaluate the implementation of HDR, HDTVTest measured the luminance of each part of the screen and thermally mapped the image of the YouTube video to clearly indicate the brightness of each part of the screen. image, even if you are not. watch the analysis video on an HDR screen. The test revealed that at no time was part of the image The Mandalorian– even reflections like blaster fire, a molten metal forge, or the sun – appear at over 200 cd / m².

The channel assumes that Disney simply put the SDR content in an HDR wrapper, with the associated HDR-10 or Dolby Vision flags for the TV turned on regardless. It’s also possible that Disney sees this flat look as part of the show’s aesthetic. But in any case, the result is that users expect to watch it in the full HDR experience, but they really aren’t, and they don’t have a good way (apart from watching this video) to find out what is going on other than the image looking awfully dark and not meeting expectations.

Additionally, it has ramifications beyond image quality. When an HDR-capable TV gets this flag to display HDR content, it can use considerably more power than if it’s in SDR mode, especially if it’s an LCD TV with a backlight that needs to be. amplified to allow highlights. It may affect the life of the TV for some TV technologies, and it will definitely affect the power consumption and environmental impact in others.

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