Disney+’s The Mandalorian joins a long list of fake HDR content, analysis finds

Pedro Pascal stars as the Mandalorian.

Enlarge / Pedro Pascal stars as the Mandalorian. (credit: YouTube/Disney Plus)

High Dynamic Range (HDR) is the most notable new display technology for rich-media consumption since high definition, but judging from some implementations of it, you wouldn’t necessarily know it.

YouTube channel HDTVTest is known for doing quality analysis of the HDR implementations in popular media like films, games, and TV shows, and it found that Disney+’s The Mandalorian live-action Star Wars series is the latest in a long line of high-profile content that is just SDR wrapped up in an HDR package. The show has none of the actual benefits of HDR and a number of additional downsides, such that viewers might actually prefer to disable HDR on their TVs when viewing.

Most good TVs that support HDR are capable of displaying specular highlights at around 800-1,200 cd/m² in brightness, and that range of brightness from black (or close-enough to it on LCD displays) is what makes HDR possible. By presenting such a wide range of brightness, content has realistic and visually arresting contrast between the brightest and darkest parts of the image—and that range and granularity in brightness has a big impact on color, too.

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