Why Is HDR So Dark On My TV?

Why Is HDR So Dark On My TV? – [Complete Detailed Guide]

Many people buy new HD (maybe 4k) TV and realize that the picture on their new TV is darker than the previous TV. If you are also one of them, don’t worry because you are not alone.

The best part of this problem is that this is not your brand-new TV’s fault. But still, there must be a question in your mind, “Why is HDR so dark on my TV?”

HDR looks dark because HDR TVs always try to get a higher contrast when simultaneously dealing with dark and bright scenes.

Well, this is not enough as you need to know more. So, if you want to know more, read till the end. Let’s get started with the explanation:

Why Is HDR So Dark On My TV? — Explained

Note: Being a technical topic, this might go somewhere when you find it difficult to get it completely. But we’ve tried explaining it in as common language as we could. Still, if you have any queries, ask us freely!

Before going towards an explanation, you need to understand one thing:

“HDR tends to make bright images even brighter and dark images even darker.”

A person buys a new HDR or 4k (they are not the same, though) TV to enjoy TV shows or movies with a better resolution or image result than ever before. Right?

But for a person like you, it just ruins the enjoyment of watching TV. No, the problem is not with you.

hdr so dark on tv

Actually,  there is a great possibility that you’ve been using a TV with SDR. SDR (standard dynamic range) is not as efficient as HDR (high dynamic range).

It’s the reality that HDR is darker than SDR, but a sudden change from SDR TV to an HDR TV makes it worse. So, even without doing anything, this problem might be resolved itself when your eyes get used to HDR.

In the most straightforward words, HDR has a high pixel density that blocks more light (brightness light, in simple words) from the back of your TV’s screen than SDR or other lower-resolution TVs.

Didn’t get it? Keep reading!

HDR and High Pixel Density:

Almost every TV and monitor uses an LED light in the back of the TV screen that can be adjusted. The real job of that back LED light is to illuminate pixels to make it easier for you to see the image.

But HDR TVs decrease the intensity and power of that LED (back) light due to high pixel density to achieve higher contrast between dark and light images.

So basically, pixel density refers to the detailing of the image. The higher your pixel density is, the more detailed the video or image will be. Now it’s making more sense. Right?

You can understand in another way. When you have a higher pixel density, it means that you have way more pixels on the screen than a TV that has a relatively lower pixel density.

So, with more pixels on one screen, it is difficult for the back LED light to illuminate every pixel. Here, some pixels block light and stop the backlight to illuminate other pixels. It makes the video darker than an image in an SDR TV.

Solution for Dark HDR on Your TV:

Generally speaking, the best solution is to keep it as it is because, after some time, your eyes will get used to HDR just like they used to SDR. Got it?

If you still want a proper solution to this very problem, we have got you back.

Note: We don’t recommend using these solutions or hacks for nighttime because, apparently, your HDR is already working well and is not that much dark. But if you still want to do it for the night as well (along with the day), please try to keep the brightness and lighting lower than usual.

So, let’s get started with the most obvious solution to this problem:

Turn on the Back LED Light:

LCD backlight

This solution is so noticeable that you might have already tried it. If not, do it now. Now to do that, you just simply need to find Backlight Settings on your TV.

It can have a different name, but always go for backlight options. Some people adjust the brightness instead of the backlight and then blame us.

So, don’t ever go for brightness, as it might ruin your image even more. Brightness can definitely brighten your image, but it will make details like shadows invisible.

Therefore, always use the ‘default setting’ of your TV’s back LED light to enjoy the best results.

Try Dimming:

Most TVs (especially new ones) already have this option to default. But if your case is different, do change its default for the best results.

You can find the ‘dimming’ option in the main menu.

Experiment With Gamma:

No, these are not real ‘gamma rays’ which you need. But it’s a Gamma setting that is usually set as default.

The default setting is 2.2, which should be changed to 2.0 for ideal results. But you can experiment with it according to your need.

But always remember to stay as close as you can to 2.0.

Change the Picture Preset:

If you are using a picture preset on your TV (intentionally or accidentally), there are many chances you are using Movie or Cinema mode.

It’s because these modes are said to be the best for a quality experience in HDR TV. Well. It’s a fact, but in some cases, it becomes a reason for darkness on the screen.

Picture Preset on tv

This mostly happens when you watch a movie with more night scenes than day scenes (maybe a horror movie).

Anyways, to enjoy a better experience, you can try “Cinema Home” mode because it’s brighter than both Movie or Cinema modes.

Bottom Line:

So, you know the reason, “Why is HDR so dark on your TV?”

But this wasn’t enough. That’s why you also have many possible solutions to this issue.

Still, there is a chance that nothing might work for you. That’s where we’ll recommend two things.

We have already told you, and this one is ‘be patient’ and let your eyes set for HDR. But if you don’t want to watch your favorite movie with that irritating feeling, you only have one solution left which is “SDR.”

Yes, go back to SDR.

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