What’s the difference between HDR10, HDR-1000, and DisplayHDR 1000?

Often, we are asked how to compare HDR10 with VESA’s DisplayHDR specification and standard. Which is better, and why? The answer is easy: DisplayHDR is better, as it is built upon HDR10 but offers so much more. HDR10 is a protocol that defines how HDR is communicated from one device to another (e.g., from a GPU to a display). Beyond fundamentally requiring support for the HDR10 protocol, DisplayHDR imposes many display performance criteria to certify the quality of the display through several front-of-screen performance validation tests.

Perhaps the biggest source of confusion in the market is the misuse, or misunderstanding, that HDR-XXX is shorthand for DisplayHDR XXX. This is not correct. Many vendors claim a performance level, such as HDR-1000, or HDR-600, but this is not certified by VESA and conveys no information about how this performance level is tested. Only when the VESA DisplayHDR logo with its respective performance level is used will you know for certain that the display is actually VESA DisplayHDR certified.

For example, using just one of the many tests we require for the DisplayHDR 1000 logo, the display is required to be able to display a patch, using exactly 10% of the screen at more than 1000 cd/m2 (nits) for at least 30 minutes, and for this luminance level to remain stable (min to max) within a limited range. We also test that a full-screen flash can achieve a 1000 nits output. A display claiming to support HDR-1000 provides no such promise; it may only be able to achieve 1000 nits for a much shorter time, the luminance level may not be stable, or it may entirely fail to achieve 1000 nits in a full screen test.

The phrase "HDR 600" does not mean the same thing as VESA-Certified DisplayHDR 600

Problems with the lack of definition of what HDR-XXX actually means show the clear advantage of the genuine DisplayHDR logo, which VESA has spent four years developing in collaboration with all the major players in the PC display ecosystem. On the DisplayHDR website (www.displayhdr.org), VESA clearly defines every test specification that is required for devices to be certified. This ensures that when you buy a device with DisplayHDR certification, you know what you’re buying.

Luminance + Color Gamut + Bit Depth + Rise Time

In addition, the scope of the DisplayHDR logo is significantly broader than merely a peak luminance patch test. We also apply rigorous full-screen flash tests, full-screen long duration tests, and color tests using the exact color primary data from the Extended Display Identification Data (EDID) to determine exactly how Microsoft Windows will portray images on the display. With the current version of the DisplayHDR spec, CTS v1.1, we also test that the HDR dimming works dynamically to ensure that it’s not just a super bright 1000 nits SDR display, but rather that it genuinely behaves as an HDR display using active dimming when the video signal luminance levels fluctuate in normal usage. A summary list of all of the tests that must be passed is available on the DisplayHDR website. All of these performance criteria are stated as minimum requirements for the logo, in that every performance criterion needs to be met by certified displays.

The Display Industry’s First Fully-Open Standard Specifying HDR Quality

Furthermore, what makes DisplayHDR truly unique is that not only do we provide open access to the full 80-page certification test specification document that details every test case, but we also provide open access to an automated test tool that can be used to dynamically create all the appropriate test patterns and test images for each and every display based on input from the display’s own EDID block. To make the process even more comprehensive, we provide an Excel-based data recording template for you to enter the results you record during the testing process, and this Excel template will indicate pass or fail status. Finally, if you want to take it even further, we also provide open access to the test tool’s source code.

Hopefully this makes the situation clear that not all HDR is created equally. Always look for the DisplayHDR logo, because if the logo is missing, there’s probably a good reason why. Unfortunately, due to the popularity of the VESA DisplayHDR logo, there have been instances of fraudulent use of the VESA DisplayHDR logo on devices that do not qualify. There have even been examples of fraudulently created new DisplayHDR performance levels that don’t exist. If ever in doubt, check the official “Certified Devices Page” on the DisplayHDR website to verify that a display claiming to be certified has genuinely been validated by VESA.