The advent of UHD 4K resolution was a blessing for gaming as the graphics achieved crisp resolutions and finer details. While 4K is a notable upgrade, if you do not play with High Dynamic Range (HDR) enabled, you will not get the full experience of your 4K TV or games. Sony's two latest consoles – the PlayStation 4 and the 4K-enabled PlayStation 4 Pro – support HDR, provided you have the right display and setup. We've put together this guide to set up HDR games on your 4K / HDR TV and PS4 or PS4 Pro consoles for colorful, vivid games.
A quick note: While both PS4 and PS4 Pro are capable of HDR you need to make sure that you have upgraded the firmware to version 4.0 or higher. If you need help setting up HDR on an Xbox One S or Xbox One X, we can help.
Set up your TV first!
- Make sure this is the case Your console is connected to a HDMI 2.0a / HDCP 2.2-compliant port on your TV. Since you have a 4K / HDR TV, you might think that all the connections are usable. In most cases, however, only one or two ports are HDMI 2.0a / HDCP 2.2-capable. Even more surprising is that the compatible HDMI port is not necessarily HDMI 1. Sometimes TV manufacturers label the connectors as if they know it, but even these labels can be misleading. To be absolutely sure, check the information on your TV on the manufacturer's website to find out which HDMI ports support HDMI 2.0a, and use one for your console.
- Open the settings menu of your TV. Go to the "Picture Settings" section and look at the preferences to find the "Game Mode" of your TV. In this mode, image processing is restricted, and your image quality seems to make a slight hit (we will fix the problem.)), But it also reduces the input lag. So if you are a competitive player, you can use the game mode in multiplayer matches. If you normally play single-player games (or if you value graphics and image quality and value performance), choose the setting that best suits your eyeballs. Normally we prefer the modes "movie", "cinema" or "standard".  Next you need to enable HDR on your TV. Return to the Picture Settings menu. From here it depends what kind of TV you have. Some TVs have HDR settings directly in the main picture setup menu while others list them under "Input settings", "Advanced picture settings" or even in the main menu of options. You are looking for a setting such as "HDMI HDR", "HDMI Color Subsampling", "HDMI HD Ultra Deep Color", "HDMI UHD Color", "10-bit Color" or the like. You must enable this setting (aka, switch to "On") for the HDMI port to which the console is connected. If you are not sure where to find your TV's HDMI HDR settings, refer to the manufacturer's manual or website.
- Your TV is now set to accept HDR content from your game console, but you can fine-tune the picture quality. We recommend adjusting the brightness and contrast settings as you like. However, before you start using these settings, you want to see HDR content on your TV. This can be an HDR game for your console or a movie or TV title in HDR via Netflix, Amazon or Vudu. When you play HDR content (this is confirmed by many TVs by placing an HDR logo on the screen), your TV is in HDR mode. At this point, adjust the picture settings to make adjustments. When making adjustments in this mode, adjust the picture quality only for for the HDR mode of the TV. This does not affect the image quality settings for the times when you view SDR content. A non-HDR movie Netflix, a standard Blu-ray disc, or good old programs over the air.
In the market for a new TV? We can help! Take a look at our selection for the best TVs or check out our 4K TV Buying guide.
Set Up Your PS4 or PS4 Pro
If your TV set is up, you're most of it off there. Now all you have to do is enable HDR on the console itself. While PS4 and PS4 Pro will normally automatically detect HDR on your TV and adjust the settings themselves, this is not always the case, and it's a good idea to check it anyway. So go ahead.
- If you have the console properly connected to your TV, turn it on and navigate to the settings screen. Make sure that HDCP is enabled on the System Information tab.
- Next, open the Sound and Screen menu and choose Video Output Settings. On this screen, set the HDR option and the Deep Color output to Automatic.
If you did the above step correctly, you should now be able to play in HDR. If you need further assistance, consult the Sony Video Guide.
Finding the right content
Finally, you must have the right content to play and / or watch.
There is a long list of HDR-enabled video games on the PS4, and more are being released. There are also a variety of HDR video content that you can access through Netflix, YouTube and Amazon Prime.
Here's a quick sample of some HDR-enabled PS4 recommendations:
Make sure the picture looks good!
Now that you've set up everything and played an HDR track, the picture quality should be breathtaking and beautiful. But what if you are not impressed? Maybe it actually looks worse? What now?
Unfortunately, this may mean that your TV is not suitable for HDR, even if HDR is directly on the side of the box. To express HDR well, a television must be able to achieve high contrast and enhanced color. If your TV can not match the contrast required for impressive HDR, the picture may look dark or washed out. In dark or bright areas, details are missing depending on the image adjustment. If this is the case, we recommend disabling HDR and playing in a standard mode. If the picture quality looks much better when you return to HDR, just stick with it.