How Do I Know Which HDR Formats My Receiver Supports?

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Q TV reviews in Sound & Vision routinely discuss support for the HDR10 and Dolby Vision high dynamic range formats. I don't always see comments about HDR support in AV receiver reviews, however. Does an AVR need to support a specific HDR format, or does HDMI take care of that? —James Hardaway

A High dynamic range format support in an AVR is a function of both the HDMI version and the receiver itself. In 2015, HDMI version 2.0 was updated to HDMI 2.0a specifically to add support for the HDR10 format, which uses static metadata. For that reason, an AVR with an HDMI version earlier than HDMI 2.0a will not be able to pass through HDR10 high dynamic range video.

Unlike HDR10, the Dolby Vision HDR format is more HDMI-agnostic. Dolby Vision is also different in that it uses dynamic metadata that varies on a frame-by-frame basis. And since the Dolby Vision HDR metadata gets embedded with the video signal, it’s backward-compatible with HDMI versions extending back to HDMI 1.4b.

Dolby Vision may be less HDMI version-constrained than HDR10, but that doesn’t mean any old receiver will support it. According to the company, a device that a Dolby Vision signal passes through “needs to be aware of the kind of signal properties that differentiate Dolby Vision from a standard SDR signal.” To that end, Dolby provides a software development kit (SDK) to manufacturers who want to implement that capability on their new products, as well as on existing ones via a firmware update.

To sum up, for HDR10 pass-through, an AVR needs to be outfitted with HDMI 2.0a connections. For Dolby Vision pass-through, HDMI version isn’t an issue, but the AVR does need to be engineered to support the format. On new models, this will be indicated by a Dolby Vision compatible logo. On older models, you will need to check with the manufacturer to see if a firmware update has been issued to enable compatibility.

Bosshog7_2000's picture

I can't even begin to describe how fed up I am with the HDMI 'Standard' that has done nothing but cost me money over the years. How can something be called a standard when it is obsolete and outdated every other year.

We are now on the 8th version of the HDMI 'standard' with version 2.1 just recently announced which will be the 9th iteration of HDMI....insane. All along the evolution of this 'standard' are a graveyard of TV's,receivers, and media devices which are essentially the epitome of planned obsolescence.

I'm all for tech advances and buying new gear but some of these HDMI updates were literally a year apart...take HDMI 1.2 - 1.3. Sucks when in 2005 I bought a brand new flagship Yamaha receiver that a year later could not process True-HD since it was missing HDMI 1.3.

Now we have HDR further screwing with consumers as 4K capable TV's and receivers from just a few years ago won't support some or any of the HDR format.


Deus02's picture

What was surprisingly not mentioned in the article is what I believe is the most important element of all this is if the user wants to ultilize the AVR as the focal point for both audio and video coming from UHD players and other UHD sources, is the ability to handle HDCP 2.2 encrypted material since without that, the video formats under discussion won't work.

I found that out this past year when I purchased an LG UHD 2.2 encrypted monitor, yet, because my older Yamaha CX-A5000 Pre-Pro will only handle HDCP 2.0(not 2.2), UHD signals coming from UHD 2.2 encrypted sources will downconvert the signal to only 1080p. As a result, I have to split up the audio and video out of my Panasonic UB900, i.e audio to Pre-Pro and video direct into monitor.

WildGuy's picture

nice to know.

mikem's picture

I've been an audiophile all my life and I've never seen nor heard a travesty such as hdmi. If I had a penny for every time my cat has unplugged these connections I'd be a millionaire. I would put HDMI and FEMA (I live in Florida) in the same basket and throw them both into the great abyss.