UHD vs HDR: What’s the Difference?

There is a lot of confusion surrounding UHD and HDR. Some people use the terms interchangeably, while others believe they are completely different. So, what’s the difference? UHD stands for Ultra High Definition, while HDR stands for High Dynamic Range. UHD provides a resolution of 3840×2160 pixels, while HDR offers a greater range of colors and brightness levels. In other words, UHD is concerned with the number of pixels, while HDR is focused on the quality of the pixels. If you’re looking to get the most out of your viewing experience, you should opt for HDR TV and content.

What is High Dynamic Range (HDR)?

Even though HDR includes HD, it is not the same as UHD. High Dynamic Range is what HDR stands for. It is a technology related to an image’s dynamic range, which is made up of its brightest and darkest parts.

HDR improves an image’s contrast, brightness, sharpness, and color to make it look more real and true to life. A bright spot in an image will stand out on an HDR display, but it won’t take over the rest of the image.

To do this, the photo or video must be shot in HDR format, which means that each frame of the photo or video has extra data about its brightness and contrast. Based on this information, the display will adjust the brightness and contrast of each frame of the video on the fly instead of setting fixed values for them.

For the display to be able to decode and show an HDR video, it needs to have more hardware. Here are a few popular HDR formats:

  • Dolby Vision (Dolby Vision)
  • HLG
  • HDR10
  • HDR10+

Dolby Vision is becoming the most popular HDR format, with support from LG, Sony, Panasonic, TCL, Vizio, etc., as well as Ultra HD Blu-ray Discs, Netflix, Disney+, HBO Max, and other content and streaming services. Popular AAA games are also being made with HDR support by game developers.

What does UHD mean?

Let’s start with UHD as the first thing to compare. It stands for the resolution of a screen and is short for “Ultra High Definition.” Resolution is just the number of pixels across and down in a display, and a pixel is the smallest display element that can be controlled.

You may have heard of Full HD. It has a resolution of 1920 1080 pixels, which means that it has 1920 pixels across and 1080 pixels down. So, a Full HD screen has 2,073,600 pixels, which is 2 million. We sometimes call a Full HD screen a 1080P screen, which stands for the number of vertical pixels.

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UHD has a resolution of 3840 2160 pixels, which means it has 3840 pixels across and 2160 pixels down. This means that the number of pixels will increase by a factor of 4. The UHD is also known as 2160P, just like 1080P.

UHD has 4 times as many pixels as a 1080P screen, which is why 3840 2160 = 8,294,400 or 8 million pixels. It is often called a 4K display because of this (technically, a 4K UHD display).

Because of this high resolution, the screen will show images that are more clear, crisp, and sharp. This resolution doesn’t depend on how big the screen is. For example, 55″ and 65″ are two of the most common TV sizes. UHD resolution can be used on both of these sizes of screen.

What changes in the display’s pixel density, which is often shown as PPI or pixels per inch? It is the number of pixels on the screen divided by the size of the screen. So, a 65-inch 4K UHD TV will have fewer pixels than a 55-inch 4K UHD TV.

Difference between UHD and HDR

It’s not a good idea to compare UHD and HDR because they are two different ways to think about displays. HDR is how the pixels on a screen are optimized for color, brightness, and contrast. 4K UHD is the number of pixels on a screen.

From Full HD, UHD is a big step up in terms of image and video quality. HDR takes this already-beautiful video and changes things like brightness and contrast on the fly for each frame.

Depending on the type of display, a 4K UHD TV can have HDR or not have it at all. For example, because OLED TVs emit light on their own, it is easy to change the brightness of each pixel. So, an image’s contrast can also be changed on the fly to make it easier to tell white or bright spots apart from darker ones. Because of this, almost every 4K UHD OLED TV has HDR.

Since LCD displays have a backlight, it is a little harder to change the brightness of different parts of the screen. But some of the most advanced LCD TVs have a feature called “full-array local dimming.” This divides the backlight into multiple zones so that we can control each zone separately instead of the whole backlight at once.

If an LCD TV has full-array local dimming, it is easy to add the HDR feature. So, LG and Sony’s high-end LCD TVs that have full-array local dimming can do HDR.

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There is an HDR feature on 4K UHD LCD TVs with partial dimming, but the overall experience isn’t as good as it is on LCD displays with full-array local dimming or OLED TVs.

Which is better, HDR or UHD?

The best display technology right now is a combination of 4K UHD and HDR. If you can afford it, we suggest an OLED Display because it has great colors, contrast, and a wide range of viewing angles. When you add HDR to this, you can get the best video quality on the market.

Aside from TVs, computer monitors and laptop displays are also coming with 4K UHD resolution and HDR capabilities. HDR is now a feature of the newest 4K projectors from well-known brands.

When compared to regular UHD displays, a 4K UHD Display (or projector) with HDR will definitely cost more. Since HDR changes the brightness of the video frame by frame, the power used by a TV (display) that can show HDR content will be higher when we play HDR content.


Does HDR come in more than one kind?

Yes, HDR comes in more than one form. HDR10 is the most common right now. It is an open standard that is used by many content creators. Dolby Vision is a proprietary option from Dolby that allows for even more detailed optimization. Other HDR standards are HDR10+, which is getting more and more popular, and Technicolor’s Advanced HDR. All of them tell your TV what brightness and color settings it needs and when to change them by sending content metadata to it.

Do you need UHD to use HDR, or HDR to use UHD?

You do not. They are different parts of a display that don’t have to do with each other. For UHD, the TV screen needs more pixels, while HDR needs better brightness and color capabilities.

Can an HDR TV also have UHD?

Yes, and a lot of people do it these days. Both are big improvements over TVs of the past, so it makes sense to get them together for a better experience all around. If you look at the best 4K UHD TVs on the market today, for example, they all have some kind of HDR.

Can I upgrade an older TV to have UHD or HDR?

You cannot. These are built-in features that can’t be added to a TV after it has already been made. Also, keep in mind that your other hardware needs to be able to play HDR and UHD videos if you want to use it to play videos. UHD/HDR displays and streaming media are needed to watch UHD/HDR content, but these devices can also work with non-UHD/non-HDR sources of content. Movies, games, and other kinds of content usually have labels that tell you what they are.

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How else do these two words go together?

No. Even the “HD” in their names is a distraction: one stands for High Definition and the other for High-Dynamic. The only thing they have in common is that they are both ways to improve the picture on your TV.


People often mix up UHD and HDR, even though they are two completely different parts of a display. UHD refers to the number of pixels on the screen, while HDR is the ability of a screen to change the brightness, color, and contrast of an image on the fly. In this guide, we looked at what UHD and HDR are and how they work. We also compared UHD and HDR.

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Levi Alston is a student at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. He is currently studying computer science, and he plans to minor in business. Levi enjoys spending his free time on PC and internet forums, where he can talk about anything and everything with friends. He is a witty guy with a friendly demeanor, and he loves making people laugh.