The technology improves the contrast and colors of images, and Samsung, LG and other large TV companies are betting big on it. But is this just another false start for early adopters or could it potentially catch the interest of a broader audience?
Analysts say HDR could actually have an impact, for a number of reasons. Consumers traditionally buy new TVs with three factors in mind — size, price and picture quality. And HDR does, in fact, make pictures pop off the screen more.
"HDR … certainly [has] the potential to offer a real step change in the TV-viewing experience akin to going from black and white to color," says David Watkins of Strategy Analytics. "However, the technology is complex and the industry faces the challenge of promoting and explaining the benefits of the technology to consumers. If they can do this and retailers can offer compelling in-store demonstrations, then we see no reason why HDR cannot give a kick-start to the UHD TV market over the next couple of years."
Perhaps just as importantly, a large number of people now have HD set that are 6 to 7 years old, says Watkins, meaning we're entering an upgrade cycle for TVs.
That's working in 4K/UHD's favor right now, as adoption is on the rise, thanks in part to plummeting prices (a 4K set costs the same as a traditional HD one now). But it could make HDR more successful as well.