HDR and WCG color settings in Windows 10

Applies to: Windows 10

With Windows HD Color in Windows 10, you get the most of out your high dynamic range (HDR) TV or PC display. When you connect your HDR10-capable TV or display to a Windows 10 PC that supports HDR and wide color gamut (WCG), you’ll get a brighter, more vibrant, and more detailed picture compared to a standard dynamic range (SDR) display.

The Microsoft Store contains a growing number of HDR apps and games. To find HDR games, visit the Microsoft Store online. To watch HDR movies and videos from online providers, you might need to change a few settings to get set up. To play HDR games and use HDR apps, your PC and display must meet certain hardware requirements. For detailed info, see Display requirements for HDR in Windows 10.

If your PC and display support HDR, turn it on to get started.

  1. Select the Start  button, then select Settings  > System  > Display .
  2. If you have multiple displays connected to your PC, choose the HDR-capable display under Select and rearrange displays.
  3. Select Windows HD Color settings.
  4. Under Display capabilities, check to make sure it says Yes next to Play HDR games and apps.
  5. Turn on Play HDR games and apps.

    The Play HDR Games and Apps setting

Power options for HDR-capable displays

If you have a laptop with an HDR-capable built-in display, there are additional power-related settings for HDR because these displays use more power than non-HDR displays. If you’re running your laptop on battery, playing HDR content can reduce battery life. Therefore, HDR is turned off by default when running on battery. However, you can change the default power setting if you want.

If HDR is turned on when your laptop is plugged in and then you unplug your laptop, HDR will be turned off to help save battery power. If you plug in your laptop again, HDR will be turned on again automatically.

To play HDR content on a built-in HDR display when running on battery

  1. Select the Start  button, then select Settings  > System  > Display .
  2. If you have an external display connected to your laptop, choose the laptop display (Display 1) under Select and rearrange displays.
  3. Select Windows HD Color settings.
  4. Under Battery options, clear the Don’t allow HDR games and apps on battery check box.
    If HDR was already turned on when your laptop is plugged in, HDR will now stay on if you unplug it and run on battery power.
     

Fixing common problems

Many HDR displays today are designed primarily for watching movies and videos in HDR mode. As a result, you might need to do some things to get the best results when using your HDR display in Windows 10. If you’re buying a new HDR display, we recommend looking for VESA Certified DisplayHDR. These displays are designed and tested for a wide range of things you might do with HDR on a PC—including playing HDR games and using HDR apps.

If you’re having problems displaying HDR content from your PC, here are things you can try to fix them.

Problem Try this
Display or TV isn’t showing HDR
  • Make sure your display or TV has HDR turned on. The way you get to the on-screen menu on your HDR TV or display varies by make and model. Check out the documentation for your display or TV by visiting the manufacturer’s website.
  • Go to Settings  > System  > Display  > Windows HD Color settings, and make sure Play HDR games and apps is turned on.
  • Make sure your Windows 10 PC has the required hardware to display HDR, and find out if your display supports HDR10. Here’s how to do that:
    1. Press the Windows logo key  + R, type dxdiag, and then select OK.
    2. Select Yes at the prompt.
    3. In the DirectX Diagnostic Tool, on the System tab, look in the System Information area.
    4. To save the information to a file, select Save All Information, and then name and save the text file.
    5. Open the text file, and look at the value for Advanced Color. This provides info about your display's HDR configuration and the status of it. Look for these values:
      • AdvancedColorSupported. This indicates that your installed display driver and display support HDR10.
      • AvancedColorEnabled. This indicates that HDR is currently turned on for your display.
    6. Look at the value for Monitor Capabilities. This provides more detailed info about the display's capabilities.
      • If the value is HDR Supported, that indicates that your display supports HDR10. You might see additional values in parentheses.
        • BT2020RGB or BT2020YCC. One of these color spaces must appear for the display to be considered as an HDR10-capable display.
        • Eotf2084Supported. This value must appear for the display to be considered as an HDR-capable display.
      • If the value is HDR Not Supported, that indicates that the display is missing one or more requirements for HDR10.
Standard dynamic range (SDR) content and apps appear too bright or too dark on an HDR-capable display

You might need to adjust the relative brightness of SDR and HDR content for your HDR-capable display. This is because a display interprets an HDR and SDR signal differently, and the results will vary by make and model.

  1. Select the Start  button, then select Settings  > System  > Display .
  2. If you have multiple displays connected to your PC, select the HDR-capable display under Select and rearrange displays, and then move the Settings app window to the HDR display that you’re adjusting
  3. On the Display settings screen, select Windows HD Color settings.
  4. Under SDR content appearance, drag the slider to get the right balance for brightness between HDR and SDR content.

Notes

  • When you change the SDR content appearance setting for an HDR display, the effect it has on SDR content depends on whether it’s an external or built-in HDR-capable display:
    • On an external HDR display, this setting will change the brightness of SDR content relative to HDR content.
    • On a built-in HDR display, the brightness of SDR content is controlled by a separate brightness setting, or it might be controlled automatically. (For more info, see Change screen brightness in Windows 10.) Since the brightness of SDR content is already set, the SDR content appearance setting will change the brightness of HDR content relative to the brightness of SDR content.
  • For built-in HDR displays, such as on HDR-capable laptops, brightness settings affect the dynamic range that apps can use. When the SDR content appearance setting is set higher, the effective dynamic range for HDR content is lower. Therefore, we recommend a lower setting to get the best quality for HDR content.
Color isn’t displaying correctly (for example, color fringes around vertical strokes when black text appears on a white background)
  • Make sure you have the latest WDDM 2.4 drivers installed. To get the latest drivers, go to Windows Update in Settings, or check your PC manufacturer's website.
  • If you’re using an HDMI connection and your display supports HDR over a DisplayPort connection, use DisplayPort instead to connect your PC and display.
  • If HDMI is your only option, use that, and then do one of the following:

    Reduce the frame rate

    1. Select Settings  > System  > Display  > Advanced display settings, and then select Display adapter properties.
    2. In the display’s Properties box, select the Monitor tab, select 30 Hertz for the Screen refresh rate, and then select OK.

    - OR -

    Reduce the resolution

    1. Select Settings  > System  > Display  > Advanced display settings, and then select Display adapter properties.
    2. On the Adapter tab, select List All Modes.
    3. In List All Modes, select the setting that includes 1920 by 1080, 60 Hertz, then select OK.
Display capabilities says Yes next to Play HDR games and apps, but the Play HDR games and apps switch can’t be turned on or off

On HDR-capable laptops, the default power settings will turn off HDR when running on battery power. To have HDR turn on, do one of the following:

  • Plug in your laptop (recommended).
  • Select the Start  button, then select Settings  > System  > Display  > Windows HD Color settings. Under Battery options, clear the Don’t allow HDR games and apps on battery check box.
    Note that allowing HDR when running on battery power will reduce battery life.