Dolby Vision vs HDR 10: The Difference Explained

VD September 09 2021

Many gamers are excited about the 4K viewing experience, but 4K has already become old news in the TV market due to the swift advancement in technology. These days HDR is the new catchphrase!

We know that it is fairly easy to understand 4K as it means all the displays will have a certain pixel density or resolution. Whereas the concept of HDR is a bit vague, and the availability of multiple HDR standards like Dolby Vision, HDR 10, and HDR10+ makes it even more confusing.  

This guide will help you understand what HDR is, how the different HDR encoding standards differ, and the winner between Dolby Vision vs HDR 10 competition. Let’s start with understanding what HDR is.

What is HDR?

HDR is the acronym of High Dynamic Range which is the opposite of Standard Dynamic Range (SDR). What does HDR do? It simply improves the visual experience of viewers by increasing the dynamic range. The difference between the darkest and brightest tones in a video/image is known as dynamic range. Dynamic range is much more than contrast but to get the general idea about it, consider it like contrast because they are somewhat similar.

The dynamic range expansion will enhance the lights and shadows in an image by making lights brighter and shadows darker while preserving all their details.

You also need to know that there are some limitations to HDR. The content needed for HDR is different from normal, so to enjoy HDR, the producers should first design movies and games to support HDR. There have also been attempts to create live broadcasts in HDR, regardless of the results.

Dolby Vision vs HDR 10

The first difference between Dolby Vision and HDR 10 is ownership. HDR is royalty-free, and everyone can use it without paying even a single penny, whereas Dolby is the owner of Dolby Vision.  

Do you think HDR 10 is fine because it’s free? Why use Dolby Vision? Think again! Dolby Vision offers a 12-bit color depth which means it can display 68.7 billion colors. While HDR 10 has a 10-bit depth and is only limited to 1.07 billion colors.

Unfortunately, no TV or content supports 12-bit for now, so Dolby has capped the depth down to 10-bit, which slightly improves the display compared to HDR 10.

Dynamic HDR

Dolby Vision has Dynamic metadata, meaning that its metadata (a layer of instructions for TV to display the content in a specific way) is implemented differently for each frame. On the other hand, HDR 10 has static metadata.

Due to the static metadata, HDR 10 will give information about the brightest and darkest points of the video. After that, the television will decide itself what will be the contrast. The whole movie can be brighter or darker than it was meant to be. However, in Dolby Vision, the dynamic metadata will adjust brightness and color frame by frame to give you an immersive view.

A new open-source format named HDR 10+ has been introduced recently to give HDR 10 dynamic metadata. A lot of TVs and streaming services have started to accept this technology.

Availability of Dolby Vision vs HDR 10

Another major factor that restricts Dolby Vision is content availability. HDR 10 is royalty-free, so unsurprisingly, most content is created using HDR. Not just the content, even most televisions support HDR10 compared with DV. In the gaming world, ps4 and ps5 consoles only support HDR 10, while Xbox one and series S/X support both DV and HDR 10.

 A huge amount of HDR content for Dolby Vision and HDR 10 can be found on streaming services like Vudu, Netflix, and Amazon Video.

One more thing, you do not have to worry if you already have a TV that supports Dolby Vision or if you want to buy one because Dolby Vision televisions are also compatible with HDR 10.

You might have seen HDR plastered on many affordable TVs, but there is a catch. These cheap TVs only have 300 to 500 nits which are NOT HDR. For you to enjoy a real HDR 1000-nit brightness rating is required, so do not get scammed and check the nit-rating.


In the Dolby Vision vs HDR 10 war, if you compare quality, Dolby Vision wins, but if cost-efficiency and well-known format are considered, then HDR 10 will be the winner.