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How to check if your system supports HDR on Windows 10

Windows 10 has HDR i.e., it supports high dynamic range for videos. This feature was added a while back to the OS and you can find it under the Display tab in the System group of settings in the Settings app. The option is there but you may or may not be able to use it. HDR doesn’t just work through software. It isn’t as simple as displaying video content. HDR has certain hardware requirements that your system must meet in order for you to use it. Here’s how you can check if your system supports HDR or not.

Since HDR depends on hardware, what you’re mostly going to be doing is looking up hardware specifications for your system and checking to see if they meet the minimum requirements. If you have a 4K monitor setup, it is highly likely that your system supports HDR.

Internal Display brightness – nits

Your display is obviously crucial in playing HDR content. In order for Windows 10 to show you HDR content, your internal display must have a minimum brightness of 300 nits. Nits is the unit of measurement that measures brightness. You might find this information on the box of an external monitor but for internal laptop displays you will have to Google it.

In addition to the screen supporting at least 300 nits, you must also be able to control the display’s backlight. This is something you can find advertised on the device’s box in most cases. If not, you will have to Google the information. Look up more than one resource to be sure because the information will come from third-party sources e.g., websites that review hardware so a second and third opinion is always a good idea.

You can measure nits yourself too but it requires dedicated hardware to do so.

External Displays

Your external display must explicitly state that it supports HDR10, and it must have either a DisplayPort 1.4 or an HDMI port 2.0 or later. Your graphics card must likewise support both these ports. It should also support at least 300 nits in terms of brightness.

PlayReady hardware digital rights management

For an internal display, your graphics card must support PlayReady. It’s technology that prevents copy right infringement for the content you play. This technology must be supported by your on-board graphics card and not just your GPU i.e. the dedicated graphics card.

Again, you will need to look up what the model of your on-board graphics card is (from device manager) and check its specifications. In this case, you will be able to find the information on the manufacturer website.

For external displays, your GPU or your integrated graphics card must support PlayReady 3.0, or later.

Drivers and Codecs

This only applies to playing HDR content on an external display. You should install WDDM 2.4 drivers as well as codecs for 10-bit video decoding.

If your hardware fits the bill, you can enable HDR from the Settings app. A good place to find content that can benefit from HDR is Netflix.

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