VESA Introduces New Fully Open DisplayHDR Standard for LCD Displays
Non-profit standards association VESA has put forth a new open standard called DisplayHDR for defining HDR specifications and performance for PC laptop and desktop LCDs. The new test specification, dubbed Display HDR 1.0, defines a transparent testing methodology and definitions along with specifying three tiers of HDR system performance that will identify displays as being certified for minimum, mid-range, and high-end HDR with their respective badges of DisplayHDR 400, DisplayHDR 600, and DisplayHDR 1000. Consumers will be able to easily identify which panels have HDR and how they stack up.
The new HDR standard was devised by VESA with input from over two dozen of its member companies including major OEMs of displays, panels, graphics cards, CPUs, display drivers, and color calibration providers. DisplayHDR is reportedly a fully open and transparent standard with automated tools that end users can download and run to verify the results for themselves. The standard includes three peak luminance tests, two contrast measurement tests (native and local dimming), color testing and validation of BT.709 and DCI-P3 color gamuts, bit-depth requirement tests (see below), and HDR backlight response time measurements.
DisplayHDR 400 represents the minimum entry-level tier of HDR per the VESA specification and specifies that a LCD display must feature at least 400 nits brightness (both short, local bursts and full screen flashes), 8-bit color depth, HDR-10, and global dimming. VESA notes that many non-HDR displays that advertise as supporting 8-bit colors, it is actually a 6-bit panel that uses a dithering algorithm to achieve a simulated 8-bits. DisplayHDR specifies true 8-bit at a minimum, and for DisplayHDR 600 and DisplayHDR 1000 displays must achieve 10-bit depth using 8-bit panels combined with 2-bit dithering at a minimum.
Display and PC manufacturers have reportedly had their hands on the DisplayHDR test specification for some time now and are working on validating their displays so that they can offer products with the DisplayHDR logos. New product announcements and demonstrations are expected during CES 2018 next month with DisplayHDR compatible products showing up as early as Q1 2018. VESA notes that while DisplayHDR currently only targets LCDs, it hopes to extend the open standard to include OLED displays in the future.
I think this is a good thing as there is a lot of confusing and conflicting advertising out there when it comes to HDR. A vendor neutral specification and badge that can also be independently tested may be just what the display market needs to push HDR into the mainstream.