4K UHD Vs HDR – What’s the Difference Between the Two?

It is not always easy to understand the terminology used to describe TVs. For general public, TV remains TV no matter how many adjectives you put before it. Before it was HD TV, now it is 4K TVs.

It is by no means common to find people who know what distinguishes the two sets. It is about time they know the difference between UHD and HDR so that they know the value of these state-of-the-art TVs.

The purpose of this post is to let them know one from the other, and thereby enable them to make informed decision if they want to buy a LED TV.

Ultra High Definition (UHD)

This term is defined by 3840×2160 pixel counts. The resolution these pixel counts create is called 4K. Where a 1080p TV contains 1 pixel, the 4K TV contains 4. The more the pixels, the better the resolution. Better resolution means crisp and vibrant picture quality.

UHD also has to do with higher rate of frame. None knows this so well as the gamers how the frame rate impacts the smooth rendering of fast action in order to offer immersive experience. To learn the difference that the frame rate can make, just have a look at a full HD LED TV and then at a 4K LED TV. Full HD TV processes 60 frames per second whereas the 4K TV (UHD) processes 120 frames per second. The difference between 60 Hz and 120 Hz will not be missed.

The concept of UHD (of which 4K is but one aspect) has been in existence since 2001 when IBM launched 4K monitor. At the time it cost too much and practically served no purpose since pictures and graphics were not created in 4K. It is now that we have 4K content available to us. And, the technological advancement has made it extremely cost effective. In fact, we are now fast moving towards developing 8K content.

High Dynamic Range (HDR)

Woman Watching TV On Couch

This has to do with color contrast and picture luminosity. It renders white perfectly white and dark perfectly dark, and in a way that would not affect the details in both the bright and dark areas.

This technology brings images to life by keeping them from adverse effects of bleeding and blooming. So, even if you have brighter white levels and deeper black levels, the overall picture quality suffers because of these problems.

When HDR is on, these issues with the picture quality are addressed and as a result you have vibrant picture.

Harnessing 4K with HDR

Having defined 4K and HDR, it must be clear now to the reader that 4K is not equal to HDR but the latter is something that may mark the former. Most of the 4K products feature HDR and that’s how you have the combined benefits of both 4K and HDR.

But please note that not all 4K televisions come with HDR. Therefore, not all 4K TVs offer the level of excellence that the 4K LED TVs with HDR do. So it is greatly recommended that you carefully read the tech specs of a product you are interested in it before buying it. If it features HDR, your purpose behind going for a 4K TV will be well-served.

Energy Efficiency

Smart LED TV

Nowadays most electronic gadgets come with energy efficiency rating forming part of their technical specifications. It is established as a norm. This is because people are increasingly aware of the necessity of preserving the environment and saving some money by reducing the cost of power consumption.

It would avail you to know that the stuff that you watch on your TV may possibly consume 50% more energy if the HDR is turned on. The problem does not lie in HDR per se; because there are TVs which feature HDR and yet cost considerably lower on the utility bill. The Energy Savings label on such products is a good indicator of their energy efficiency.

If you make a study of it, you will notice that the TVs that have high energy rating feature automatic adjustment of brightness to the ambient light in the room. It enhances the viewing experience and consumes less energy.

The other way you can lower power consumption is by turning off Quick Start mode. Though it has the advantage of automatically powering your TV and speeding the process of setting up the screen, it consumes more energy.

Thus, even though HDR consumes more energy, there are means and ways to improve energy efficiency.

HDR & Longevity

It may sound strange to ask whether an advanced technology like HDR has anything to do with the durability of the TV. Opinions vary on this point. However, one thing is sure that high brightness levels do adversely affect your TV in the long run and HDR does have to do with brightness. But, again, if your TV does not remain on for long durations, then you need not worry about its durability.

UHD vs HDR for Gaming

Graphics don’t make a game. This is a popular saying among gamers. However, the resolution does add more fun to it. Therefore, many game consoles offer HDR option. But the downside of playing games in HDR mode is that there are reports involving the issue of latency while gaming.


Most TVs now do not raise concern over their price because you can have a 4K HDR TV within the range of $200. There was time when TV manufacturing technology was not much advanced. It was costly then. The technological development has reduced it considerably.

However, the time for 8K resolution with HDR is coming fast and it is not going to be cheap. Also, it would require the movies to be shot in 8K. The same is true for games. What we now have is good for 4K HDR only.

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From what we discussed so far it is clear that though 4K and HDR are two different technologies, they can easily work together for good. It is greatly recommended that you seek this combination when you consider buying a TV.

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