Welcome to the guide to watching HDR video on MasterHDRVideo.com! I've worked hard to create a platform that will deliver the highest quality HDR content on as many platforms, devices, and displays that support HDR as is possible, and to be as easy to use as is possible.
While the video files and video player are capable of automatically detecting HDR support in most cases, and serving you the right format for you device, you will need to do a little bit of setup on your end. That's why I've set up this How to Watch page, to help you get the best learning experience from the content I'll be presenting.
I strongly recommend testing out the HDR rendering and playback settings on your playback devices using one of the free to watch videos prior to purchasing any courses or premium special topic videos. No refunds will be issued if your internet connection or display will not support viewing the content in HDR or in the delivered bitrates.
- Samuel Bilodeau
To playback HDR content on MasterHDRVideo.com, you will need a device capable of decoding and playing back HDR, and a display that is capable of displaying high dynamic range content. That could include:
- A desktop display with HDR capabilities hooked up to a desktop or laptop over HDMI 2.0 or DisplayPort 1.4 or better, such as an Apple XDR display (ProDisplay XDR or Liquid Retina XDR), ASUS ProArt display, LG EP950 or similar.
- A laptop display with HDR rendering capabilities, such as 2018 or later MacBook Pro, or a variety of Windows based laptops with HDR support.
- A phone or tablet with and HDR capable screen (OLED, Zone Array LCD). Many portable devices manufactured after 2018 have some level of HDR support.
- An HDR Television connected to a laptop of desktop over HDMI 2.0 or greater
- An HDR Television with a built in or available web browser (LG WebOS, Amazon FireTV, Android TV)
- An HDR Television attached to a streaming device with a built in web browser
Use the Display Setup and Device Specific Setups sections below to learn how to configure HDR on your specific setup.
Many modern HDR televisions and HDR displays feature "enhancement" or "user" modes that adjust HDR images away from the intended rendered image. I strongly recommend using the most neutral settings available on your HDR Television or DisplayHDR device. Look for "ISF Expert" modes, "Technicolor Expert" modes, "HDR Normal", or "HDR Neutral" modes. On one of my HDRTVs (TCL 8-series), I get the most accurate picture settings on the "HDR Dark" mode, with a "warm" white balance.
Most devices with integrated HDR displays offer no calibration or setup other than brightness. Screen brightness should be set to max (usually) and any TrueTone or NightShift modes should be disabled to preserve color accuracy.
The quality of the HDR display makes a difference in your ability to see the HDR content. I don't recommend watching this content on DisplayHDR 400 or DisplayHDR 500 displays, since their color gamuts are limited to Rec. 709, and their dynamic range is limited to SDR's 10-steps. That said, you'll gain a better understanding of HDR if you watch the content on a DisplayHDR display operating in HDR mode than if you watch the same content in SDR on the same display.
Most tablets, phones, televisions, and streaming dongles / set top boxes require no extra setup to work in HDR, but many / most laptops & desktops do. Ensure that HDR is enabled on the device for the attached HDR display:
On Apple MacOS devices manufactured within the last three years with integrated displays, or that have an attached Apple ProDisplay XDR display, MacOS will automatically adapt played back HDR content to the native colorspace and brightness of the display without any user input and without changing any settings. No additional configuration should be required.
On all other Apple MacOS devices, navigate to your MacOS System Preferences → Display preferences. In the "Arrangement" tab, disable screen mirroring. On the "Display" tab on the pop up on your HDR display, select "High Dynamic Range". Your desktop experience on that display will adjust to operate in HDR, and color rendering of HDR content will bypass Apple's HDR to SDR conversion and render in HDR on your display. Override the HDR signaling if necessary (see Known Issues below).
Then, using Apple Safari, Google Chrome, or Opera (do NOT use Firefox), move the browser window to the HDR display, log in, and open the video page. HDR should automatically be detected and activated (see Overriding HDR Auto-detection below).
See Apple's HDR help document for more information on watching HDR on MacOS.
On Windows 10 / 11
Right click on your desktop and select "Display Settings", or click on your Windows menu, search for "Settings" and open the Settings app. In the Display pane of the settings, toggle the slider "Use HDR" to "On" under the heading "Windows HD Color". On older versions of Windows 10 you may find the toggle under the "Windows HD Color settings" link under the same heading.
Then, using Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome, or Opera (do NOT use Firefox), move the browser window to the HDR display, log in, and open the video page. HDR should automatically be detected and activated (see Overriding HDR Auto-detection below).
Note: SDR rendering from HDR content under Windows is very gross. Do not playback the HDR on an SDR display.
See Microsoft's Windows HDR help document for more information on watching HDR on Windows 10 / 11.
On iOS & Android
iOS 14.1+ has native HDR support. Devices with OLED screens (iPhone X, XS, XS Max, 11, 11 Pro Max, 12, 12 Mini, 12 Pro, 12 Pro Max, 13 Mini, 13, 13 Pro, 13 Pro Max) and Zone Array displays (the 2021 iPad Pro 12.9" with Liquid Retina XDR Display) will render the HDR content with exceptional quality. iOS devices with standard LCD screens, including other versions of the iPad and iPad Pro have high quality HDR rendering delivered by Apple's incredible color science and HDR playback support.
Many Android-powered phones and tablets support HDR, at a variety of quality levels. Unfortunately, because of the fragmented ecosystem, it is impossible for me to even begin to test and write up a help document for all Android devices. Generally, Android has supported HDR since Android Version 7.0 (Nougat).
Using Apple Safari, Google Chrome, or Opera (do NOT use Firefox, or Puffin browsers), log in, and open the video page. HDR should automatically be detected and activated (see Overriding HDR Auto-detection below). You will need to manually select your playback quality settings on iOS. To change video streaming settings, pause and exit full-frame video playback, select the video icon in the bottom-right corner of the video player, and select your streaming video quality. Lowest quality streams in 720p @ 2.5-3 Mbps, Highest Quality streams in 1080p @ 12.5 - 13 Mbps. Default is 1080p @ 5.5 - 6Mbps.
See Apple's iOS HDR help document for more information on watching HDR on iOS. See Android's HDR on Android document for more information on watching HDR on Android devices.
On Android TV & Amazon Fire TV
The current version of the AndroidTV Browser API does NOT support HDR video playback, even if the streaming stick or television does. In order to get pseudo-HDR playback on these devices I have generated three Gamma 2.4 Rec. 709 limited HDR versions of the content that the video player will detect and serve to Android TV and Amazon Fire TV televisions and streaming dongles.
If your display has user selectable Gamma, set this value to 2.4. If your dongle or set top box has an option to set it to operate in HDR, do that (varies by device). Set your display brightness to max. Then, download and install the Puffin browser (Android TV) or Silk Browser (Amazon Fire TV), log in, and open the video page. Pseudo-HDR should automatically be detected and activated (see Overriding HDR Auto-detection below).
My workaround to render HDR video correctly only works in the Puffin and Silk browsers, since I'm using these browser IDs to serve up the correct content. Six pseudo-HDR streams are available at three peak brightness levels, and two quality levels each. To change video streaming settings, select the video icon in the bottom-right corner of the video player, and select your peak SDR display brightness (400, 600, or 1000 nits) and video quality (lq or hq). Lowest quality streams in 720p @ 2.5-3 Mbps, High quality streams in 1080p @ 5.5 - 6 Mbps. Default is 400 nits peak hq @ 5.5 - 6Mbps.
On WebVideoCaster (Roku, AppleTV, AndroidTV, Samsung Tizen, VIEWD TV & Blu-ray Players, DLNA TVs)
The receiver application WebVideoCaster is available to install on Roku, AppleTV, AndroidTV, Samsung Tizen TVs, and TVs & Blu-ray players using the VIEWD app store (including Sony TVs), and the controller application is available as a download for iOS and Android. Unlike AirPlay or Chromecast specifications that decode video at the host and recompress it to send to the device, the WebVideoCaster controller pulls the stream from the website and then forwards the original video stream to the television or set top box, allowing the receiving TV / device to handle the HDR decoding and playback, without sacrificing video quality. This is the recommended solution for HDR playback on Roku, AppleTV, AndroidTV, Samsung Tizen Televisions, and VIEWD enabled televisions & devices.
On the receiving device, using your device's app store, search for and install the WebVideoCaster app. On your controller device's app store, search for and install the WebVideoCaster app. The free, ad-supported version of the app will work in HDR without paying for premium. With the app open on your television or set top box, open the WebVideoCaster app on your controller and select the casting icon in the top right corner. Select your television or device and follow the prompts to link the apps (if necessary).
Then, on the controller app, log in and open the video page. If the device you're using to control playback has HDR support, HDR will be automatically detected. If not, you will need to override the auto-detection (see Overriding HDR Auto-detection below). Playback should begin on the television or set top box, and the controller app will offer playback controls.
The first time you connect you may experience some difficulties linking the television or set top box/streaming stick to the app. Try different casting settings to see what works best for your devices.
The WebVideoCaster platform supports casting to AirPlay, Chromecast, and DLNA devices. I recommend avoiding using AirPlay or Chromecast methods, since these will reencode the streamed video into 8-bits for transmission.
See WebVideoCaster's website for more information on the app and supported devices.
The video player on MasterHDRVideo.com attempts to autodetect HDR capabilities for the display that the browser window is open on. Unfortunately there's no direct way to ask the display if it supports HDR, so I'm using indirect ways of determining HDR support, which work nearly every time.
You can see if HDR's been detected and served to you by looking in the bottom right-hand corner of the video's playbar for the HDR or SDR symbol:
To override the automatic detection, click on the HDR or SDR symbol, and select the version to use:
The video player will reload with the selected HDR, SDR, or Autodetected settings.
Note that when you override the HDR auto-detection, you will be switched to a manual quality scale and will need to set the quality manually (see Setting the Quality Manually below).
On iOS devices, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, some other Android devices, and when overriding the HDR auto-detection, automatic quality selection is disabled.
By default, medium quality will be selected: 1080p @ 5.5-6 mbps, which should be sufficient for most connections. To select a lower or higher quality stream, click or tap the video icon and select the desired quality.
The Lowest quality streams in 720p @ 2.5-3 Mbps, while the Highest Quality streams in 1080p @ 12.5 - 13 Mbps.
On Android TV and Amazon Fire TV devices, six options are given in the quality selector, matching three screen peak brightnesses (400, 600, and 1000 nits) and two qualities: LQ which streams in 720p @ 2.5-3 Mbps, and HQ which streams in 1080p @ 5.5 - 6 Mbps. Default is 400 nits peak hq @ 5.5 - 6Mbps.
The following are known issues with HDR detection & playback.
Firefox browser does not support HDR
This is an implementation in the Firefox browser. It will DECODE 10 bit video, but will only pass the video to the screen in 8 bits, without any wide color gamut support or HDR metadata. Until this is resolved by Mozilla, Firefox will not play back in HDR.
WORKAROUND: Select SDR in the Firefox browser or use Chrome, Safari, Opera or Edge browsers instead.
Windows incorrectly reports SDR displays as having HDR capabilities
When both HDR and SDR displays are attached to a Windows computer and the Window's toggle "Use HDR" is set in the Display Settings, Windows will report HDR capabilities on all displays, including SDR displays. This only happens when the desktop is extended between the HDR and SDR display, and is not an issue when the desktop is only available on the HDR capable display. When the displays are duplicated, HDR is disabled.
WORKAROUND: Move the browser window to the HDR display to correctly render the HDR.
HDR is Not An Option OR Picture Disappears on my External Display or HDRTV When I Activate HDR Mode
Sometimes Apple Displays settings or Windows Display Settings do not allow you to toggle HDR, even though your attached display is HDR and you're using an HDR capable port (HDMI 2.0+ or DisplayPort 1.4+), OR picture on the display disappears when you toggle HDR. There are a couple of reasons this could happen, but it's typically because of mirroring the desktop across multiple displays, or using older / too long of cables.
WORKAROUND: Ensure the desktop is extended onto the HDR display and that you're using a newer, high speed HDMI or DisplayPort cable of appropriate length.
HDR Looks Washed Out on External Displays or HDRTVs When Using MacOS
HDR televisions and most HDR displays require HDR metadata over their connection to trigger HDR mode. However, sometimes MacOS will not transmit the correct metadata over HDMI and the display will not enter HDR mode.
WORKAROUND: Override the HDR settings when possible*, or add an HDR metadata injector such as the HDFury Integral into the signal chain. *Many HDRTVs do not allow you to override the settings.
M1 / M1 Pro / M1 Max MacOS Devices Exhibit Strange Behavior
M1 Macs may temporarily exhibit some strange behavior with HDR playback. This is an issue with HDR playback and drawing the display on the M1 chipset and may be resolved at some point in the future.
WORKAROUND: Refresh the browser, disable and reenable HDR, unplug HDMI / DisplayPort cables and plug them back in. Or, just wait it out.
Video Is Blocky / Flat / Banded & SDR When Using AirPlay or Chromecast
AirPlay and Chromecast reencode the video content playing in your browser or on your screen into an 8-bit highly compressed video stream designed primarily for low-graphic transmission of webpages and operating system displays. While they will send HDR video, the quality is extremely low due to high compression levels and requires your casting device to decode the HDR and recompress the video in real time, draining system resources. It is not a recommended playback solution.
WORKAROUND: Use the WebVideoCaster app for your device instead.