What Netflix HDR on Windows 10 means for PC users
Windows users can now stream Netflix in HDR on their laptops via Microsoft Edge browser or the app, provided the device supports it
After many 4K TVs, the Apple iPhone X and iPad Pro, popular video streaming service Netflix has extended the HDR (High Dynamic Range) content support to Windows 10 PCs. This means users can now stream HDR content from Netflix on their Windows PC through the native Netflix app or the Netflix webpage on the Microsoft Edge browser. It doesn’t work with Chrome or any other browser, as of now. Users don’t have to pay extra to access HDR content.
The big difference between HDR and SDR (Standard Dynamic Range) content is the way it reproduces colours. Dynamic range is basically the ratio between the darkest and brightest part in a video played on any screen. As the name suggests, HDR enhances this dynamic range, resulting in richer colours and better contrast (it determines how bright and dark the video on a screen will look). As a result, bright areas look brighter and dark areas look darker on the same screen, if the display in the smartphone or PC supports it. The other advantage of HDR over SDR standard is that it can reproduce the red, green, and blue colour gamut more vividly and clearly.
There are two versions of HDR—HDR 10 and Dolby Vision. The former is an open format, promoted by a consortium called UHD Alliance. It requires no licensing fee and can be tweaked by the manufacturer of the TV or PC for better results. The latter is Dolby’s proprietary format supported fully by them and comes with a licensing fee, which is why the adoption is limited to high-end TVs.
The other major difference between the two is that HDR 10 supports 10-bit colours, while Dolby Vision supports 12-bits. The bit size determines the number of colours in each pixel, resulting in slightly better colours. However, as of now most TVs allow only 10 bit colours.
To play HDR content on Windows 10, users will need PCs that support the HDR technology and meet minimum system requirements. Netflix has specified that the HDR 10 content will only work on PCs running the latest Windows 10 Creators Update (version 1703). They should also be running on Intel’s 7th Generation Core i3, i5, or i7 or higher processors and must have Nvidia’s GeForce1050, 1060, 1070, and 1080 graphics. At present, a laptop with the most basic GeForce 10 series processor costs over Rs70,000. Newer laptops with HDR-ready display may cost even more.
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