How to Change HDR and SDR Brightness Balance Level in Windows 10


With Windows HD Color in Windows 10, you get the most of out your high dynamic range (HDR) TV or PC display. When you connect your HDR10-capable TV or display to a Windows 10 PC that supports HDR and wide color gamut (WCG), youíll get a brighter, more vibrant, and more detailed picture compared to a standard dynamic range (SDR) display.

If you have a laptop with an HDR-capable built-in display, there are additional power-related settings for HDR because these displays use more power than non-HDR displays.

Many HDR displays today are designed primarily for watching movies and videos in HDR mode. As a result, you might need to do some things to get the best results when using your HDR display in Windows 10.

You might need to adjust the relative brightness of SDR and HDR content for your HDR-capable display. This is because a display interprets an HDR and SDR signal differently, and the results will vary by make and model.

When you change the SDR content appearance setting for an HDR display, the effect it has on SDR content depends on whether itís an external or built-in HDR-capable display:
  • On an external HDR display, this setting will change the brightness of SDR content relative to HDR content.
  • On a built-in HDR display, the brightness of SDR content is controlled by a separate brightness setting, or it might be controlled automatically. (For more info, see Change screen brightness in Windows 10.) Since the brightness of SDR content is already set, the SDR content appearance setting will change the brightness of HDR content relative to the brightness of SDR content.

For built-in HDR displays, such as on HDR-capable laptops, both the brightness setting and SDR content appearance setting will affect the appearance of HDR content.
  • Brightness setting. When viewing HDR content in a bright area, you might need to increase the brightness setting to see the display. However, this will reduce both the effective dynamic range for HDR content in apps and the overall contrast because the darker pixels will appear brighter. To improve the appearance of HDR content, view HDR content in a darker area and use a fairly low brightness setting. If the brightness is set to a very low level, that will increase the overall contrast between the brightest and darkest parts of the content. However, there will be less details in the darker parts of the content. For example, if you have a scene in a movie that shows a dimly lit room at night, you might see less details in that scene.
  • SDR content appearance setting. For most times, using the default SDR content appearance setting or one close to it should work well. You could set the SDR content appearance setting higher to help improve the overall contrast between the brightest and darkest parts of the content. However, this would reduce the details in the darker parts of the content, such as a scene in a dark room at night.

See also: HDR and WCG color settings in Windows 10 | Windows support

This tutorial will show you how to adjust the brightness balance level between high dynamic range (HDR) and standard dynamic range (SDR) content for a built-in HDR display in Windows 10.



Here's How:

1 Open Settings, and click/tap on the System icon.

2 If you have multiple displays connected to your PC, move the Settings window to the HDR display that you are adjusting.

3 Click/tap on Display on the left side, and click/tap on the Windows HD Color settings link on the right side under Windows HD Color. (see screenshot below)

How to Change HDR and SDR Brightness Balance Level in Windows 10-hdr-sdr_brightness_balance-1.png

4 If you have multiple displays connected to your PC, select the HDR-capable display you want to adjust in the Select a display to view or change the settings for it drop down menu under Choose display. (see screenshot below)

How to Change HDR and SDR Brightness Balance Level in Windows 10-select_hdr_display.png

5 Adjust the slider to the brightness balance level (0 to 100) you want between the two images. (see screenshot below)

The left image is for high dynamic range (HDR) content, and the right image is for standard dynamic range (SDR) content.

0 is the default level.

How to Change HDR and SDR Brightness Balance Level in Windows 10-hdr-sdr_brightness_balance-2.png

6 When finished, you can close Settings if you like.


That's it,
Shawn