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How to Fix a HDR that Looks Too Dark on TV

Why Is My HDR Darker Than Usual?

The main reason why your HDR appears darker than usual is because the contrast and brigtness settings are too high, high black levels or using a SDR sceen instead of HDR.


Possible Causes

  • Default TV settings
  • Higher black levels
  • Incompatible screens


Default Television Settings

When certain televisions and screens enter HDR mode, the contrast and brightness settings are maximum. As a result, you can no longer raise or modify the brightness.

Some consumer television sets are promoted as HDR yet fall short of the mark. Because it cannot match the brightness, the television set uses tone-mapping to tailor the HDR material to its limitations.


Higher Black Levels

HDR footage is made with true-to-life black levels, which do not always pan out the way the creators had in mind.

One explanation is that movies are designed to be seen in dark theaters, and watching them in brilliantly light settings might make them appear darker than intended.

To compensate for HDR shortcomings, many televisions darken the entire image. Your television will either keep the average brightness of the scene but blow out the highlights, or it will reduce the overall brightness, resulting in a considerably darker image.

People begin to question why 4K and HDR are so dark when the latter occurs.


Incompatible Screens

If your screen is from a time before HDR was introduced or HDR is incompatible, then HDR will appear too dark no matter what changes you make.

This is because most standard screens are SDR compatible, which is much simpler and very different from HDR.

Unfortunately, SDR is restricted to representing just a portion of the dynamic range that HDR is capable of.

As a result, HDR maintains information in circumstances where the monitor’s contrast ratio would otherwise be a barrier.


HDR Looks too dark on TV


Does HDR Make Things Darker?

HDR does not make things darker; instead, it adds more depth and clarity to darkness which some screens that were programmed before HDR came into the scene may not be able to display.

  • Many TVs in HDR mode default to the highest backlight and contrast settings, so you can’t increase them; worse, some TVs actively darken the image to compensate for their HDR shortcomings
  • HDR may cause objects to appear washed out due to the display and content. Sometimes, you may update the display or use HDR when watching HDR material
  • Aside from this, another typical cause of this problem is an incorrectly specified option, such as color bit depth


How Do I Make My HDR TV Screen Brighter?

To make your HDR TV screen brighter, you can adjust default settings, increase the backlight of the device/screen you are viewing or get an HDR-compatible screen.


Adjust Default Settings

This setting is probably already at its optimal level, but just in case, access your visual settings and experiment with the Local Dimming option if your TV has one.

Certain settings may darken the entire screen to maintain as deep a black level as possible, which is unnecessary in a well-lit environment.

If your television has a Gamma option, it’s probably set at 2.2 by default. Setting it to 2.0 or below may make the image look brighter.


Increase Backlight

Locate and increase the Backlight setting. It’s important to note that you want to increase the Backlight setting rather than the Brightness option, which should always be left at its default amount.

Raising the brightness will slightly brighten the image but also destroy shadow detail. It’s worth noting that the Backlight option on certain TVs may be branded as “Brightness.”

Some TVs may not allow you to raise the backlight in HDR mode, while others will.


HDR Compatible Screen

Your last bet when all else fails is to swap out your SDR-compatible screen for an HDR one. HDR helps you see more detail and color in settings with a large dynamic range, which SDR cannot do.

For example, images on a standard SDR display will have a dynamic range of roughly 6 stops. On the other hand, HDR material may almost treble that dynamic range, with an approximate total of 17.6 stops.

As a result, dark grey tones in a dark scene may be clipped to black, whereas in a bright situation, it may clip certain colors and detail in that section of the picture to white.


How To Fix Dark HDR?

To fix dark HDR, you can try to switch your TV to Cinema or Movie Mode. Go to settings, look for picture/display settings, browse through options of picture/display mode, select cinema or movie mode, and resume watching as usual.

This may vary between TVs and models, but most modern televisions are equipped with this setting.


Why are HDR movies too dark?

The reason your HDR movies appear too dark is because the device/screen being used is not compatible with HDR.

  • HDR indicates your display has a 10-bit color depth, yet many panels with 8-bit color depth employ dithering to upgrade their color depth
  • If you have an 8-bit HDR-capable monitor, it may appear strange under Windows with HDR enabled
  • In addition to being darker due to lighting settings, colors frequently do not seem true-to-life due to software and hardware capabilities and default settings
  • It should improve this issue by adjusting the gamma/black level settings and switching between image modes


Why is HDR dark on Sony TV?

The reason yourHDRappear dark on Sony TV is because of the difference in brightness between HDR videos and conventional content on the same Picture Mode.

To fix this issue, you should change the Picture Mode using the following steps:

  • Press the Home button on the TV remote
  • Choose Settings
  • Select the Action Menu option
  • Choose Image
  • Select Advanced options in the Picture Apps (Video) category
  • Choose Video choices
  • Choose HDR mode
  • Choose Auto


Why is HDR dark on Samsung TV?

The main reason why HDR may appear dark on Samsung TV is because of a feature called Ambient Light Detection.

On the bottom of Samsung TVs is a sophisticated Motion & Light sensor that can detect both light and motion. This results in automatic adjustment that can often tamper with HDR displays.

If you do not wish to use this function, you may disable it by following the instructions below:

  • Go to Settings
  • Select General
  • Search for Ambient Light Detection
  • Open it and turn it off


Why is HDR dark on Vizio TV?

The main reason why HDR may appear darker on Vizio TV is because HDR content has an increased contrast ratio.

You can adjust this by changing the backlight settings using the following steps:

  1. On the remote control, press the down arrow until the backlight is highlighted.
  2. Adjust the Backlight levels with the remote’s right and left arrows.
  3. The greater the number, the brighter the total screen.
  4. A smaller number, on the other hand, dims the screen.
  5. Increase the number to make HDR less dark.


Why is HDR dark on LG TV?

The main reason your HDR may be dark on LG TV is because it may have Energy Saving Mode turned on, automatically dimming the screen to save energy.

You can turn off Energy Saving Mode to enjoy the full depth of HDR content with the following steps:

  1. Press the SMART button on your remote.
  2. Select Settings.
  3. On the TV menu, select Picture.
  4. Go to the Energy Saving option and select Energy Saving Mode.
  5. Turn Energy Saving Mode off.

Ernie Lo

Ernie Lo is a qualified web designer and web developer. He works as an IT support technician and website manager at Benleigh Vending, and he also fixes vending machines.

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