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What is HDR and how will it change the way you watch content on your phone?

20 Dec 2019

HDR stands for High Dynamic Range, and has a much wider colour range than existing video. It gives you the highest quality TV pictures seen outside of cinemas and TV studios. This means that colours are closer to how you see them in real life. HDR also keeps the finest details in the darkest and brightest areas of a picture, giving you even better quality. 

BT Sport is leading the way with live sporting events available in HDR. And, if you're a 5G customer, you can enjoy a free 3-month subscription to the new BT Sport Ultimate channel. BT Sport Ultimate shows a huge range of sports, all in 4K, and around 72 live events per season will be broadcast in HDR. These include live Premier League and UEFA Champions League matches, as well as other events. Get three months' free BT Sport >

You might also recognise HDR from the camera app on your phone – the HDR setting gives images that ultra-realistic and hyper-vivid appearance. The effect was great at getting followers to stop in their tracks and take a look at your images while scrolling through Instagram or Facebook. Now HDR is doing the same for video.

HDR combats overexposure, which can create big blocks of white space on the image when, for example, there’s bright sunlight in the video. This is a great benefit when you’re watching live outdoor sports or dark scenes in films and TV shows.

Another benefit of HDR is the overall brightness it brings to your content. Some smartphones, such as the iPhone XS Max, also support Dolby Vision, others, like the Huawei P30 Pro come with HDR 10, while Samsung uses HDR 10+. These display technologies increase brightness further and display an even greater palette of colour.

The most popular streaming platforms already feature lots of HDR content, including Netflix, Amazon Prime and YouTube – though not every show on these platforms is available in HDR for your mobile or tablet. 

You’ll need a minimum connection speed of 2.5mb on mobiles and tablets to watch BT Sport Ultimate, but we recommend at least 6mb for the best possible viewing experience. On other connected devices such as consoles and smart TVs you’ll need at least 6mb and, if you want to stream 4K HDR content on BT Sport Ultimate, you’ll need a connection speed of at least 30mbps. To stream in 4K without HDR requires a connection speed of 25mbps.

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