4K vs HDR: What are the Differences?

4K vs HDR: What are the Differences?

Both 4K and HDR improve image quality through making the picture brighter and giving it more colour depth. 

With them both doing the same job, it is easy to confuse them with each other, but to be frank, they change the picture quality similarly but do it in a different way.

What is 4K?

4K is the resolution of the screen, with the amount of pixels available to the TV screen.

When watching on a 4K TV, there are 4096 x 2160 pixels, which gives you around 8 million pixels in total. 

4K uses 4x more pixels in comparison to HD, or high definition.

What is HDR?

HDR stands for High Dynamic Range - this simply means the ability of the TV to range dynamically across brightness and colours showing on the picture.

What affects this ability to produce a great quality image is the signal between what the TV shows and what the metadata are wanting to input.

The differences between 4K and HDR

The difference between 4K and HDR is that 4K refers to the resolution on the screen; how many pixels are within the TV producing an image. 

HDR however, refers to the overall contrast range between colours and brightness.

Colour and contrast in 4K

Even though HDR is referred to as sorting the correct contrast out dynamically within 4K TVs, there are still contrast settings which have to be set manually instead of dynamically. 

The usual settings which are recommended are:

  • For the sharpness to be set to 0%;
  • The backlight percentage depends on what time of day you are watching, but if it is comfortable to have on 100%, then this is best;
  • The contrast at 100%;
  • The brightness to be on 50%.

Colour and contrast in HDR

HDR controls the contrast range for light to dark and other colours around. 

Let’s say you're watching a romcom and there is a sunset scene, HDR will dynamically preserve the graduation that 4K TVs would not be able to do. 

Is HDR better than 4K?

To put it simply, it comes down to personal preference. HDR produces a higher contrast which allows for a greater colour and brightness range and also has a better visual impact, making the viewing experience more immersive. 

4K, on the other hand, delivers an image that is sharper and includes much more finer details. Nowadays, in 2022, newer TVs deliver both 4K resolution with HDR supported. 


Is 4K or HDR better for gaming?

When gaming, the picture quality has no relationship with resolution. However, using a HDR monitor or TV for gaming could be using a lower resolution than 4K and still create a better coloured image, which is more like the colours received from the real environment. 

Again, it comes down to your personal preference.

Is 4K more expensive than HDR?

When 4K was first released in 2014, the price of 4K TVs was very high but little amount of consumer interest led to the price falling to be similar to HDR TVs. 

It is now possible to purchase TVs that have both technologies within their systems. These TVs are obviously more expensive than when the technologies are on their own in seperate TVs.

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