Win11 HDR: Display open HDR desktop gray?It’s not your problem
Starting with Windows 10, Microsoft has built an HDR mode into the operating system. If a user’s monitor supports HDR, turning on the HDR switch in the system will put the entire Windows 11 screen in HDR mode.But almost everyone, no matter how high is the display brightness of HDR open HDR mode after the whole picture will appear in gray, brightness also seems to be lower at the same time, the low brightness difference of color gamut of the display will be more apparent, but even the LG OLED display, also can appear similar problems, only will be slightly better.Netizens have long argued about this problem, and have come up with various methods for debugging, but did not get a very good result.So how did the problem arise?Is there any way to make the monitor display normal colors in Windows HDR mode?Today we’re going to talk about that, and we’re going to talk about how to use HDR correctly on Windows.Because there’s so much involved in this problem, and there’s almost no solution for monitors today, a lot of people are hoping that Whatever the reason, Microsoft had better come up with a good solution.On Microsoft’s official page, there is indeed a reference to HDR.In fact, there are two aspects. One is that the brightness of the screen decreases after HDR is turned on, and the other is that the color display is not accurate after HDR is turned on. Together, these two problems are what we often call the screen gray.Microsoft also has its own argument about brightness changes. Microsoft says that if the display brightness is too high or too low on the HDR-enabled display for all SDR content and applications, you can check the HDR options under “HDR/SDR brightness Balance”.Drag the slider to get the correct brightness balance between the HDR and SDR contents.This method does work, you can adjust the brightness of the desktop, but it will obviously make the whole picture appear too exposed or underexposed, and in fact the overall gray color of the desktop is not solved, just can let some visual improvement.Generally speaking, the default slider is at 50%, which is the brightness balance between SDR and HDR, but this is not enough. If the user feels that the desktop is too dull when HDR is turned on, we recommend setting it to around 80%, regardless of whether the monitor is HDR400 or HDR1000. This will make the desktop look brighter.It won’t completely solve the problem of grey screen, but it will certainly be better than no adjustment.Of course, we have to say that no matter how you set it up, Windows desktop graphics under HDR are definitely not as good as SDR.In the color section, Microsoft separately explains what to do if you encounter an HDR-enabled external display that doesn’t display the color correctly.Of course, this is nonsense. Microsoft says that hDR-enabled monitors support wider screens than sRGB, so when “Use HDR” is turned on, the HDR monitor should correctly reproduce the sRGB colors used in desktop applications.If some HDR-enabled monitors do not reproduce these colors correctly.Consider buying a VESA DisplayHDR certified display…But this is obviously not true, because on VESA-certified HDR displays, we also encounter color inaccurencies, dimness that cannot be resolved even by adjusting brightness, whether on HDR400 or HDR1000 displays, whether on LCD, Mini LED, OLED,We tried all kinds of monitors, and all of them failed to display accurate colors in Windows HDR mode. In particular, the color brightness was significantly reduced, which had little to do with the actual display brightness.That is to say, Microsoft is aware of this problem and has provided some solutions to alleviate it, but this does not solve the current HDR display when the Windows HDR mode is turned on, the overall screen color gray phenomenon.So how do you solve this problem?Why is the HDR screen of Microsoft system gray?First of all, we use screen shots to explain the differences between Win 11’s SDR and HDR screens.I believe that many users’ monitors are like this. Under SDR, the picture is normal, the color is accurate, and the brightness looks higher.After turning on the HDR of the system, the color of the whole screen suddenly darkened, and the screen felt like covered with a layer of dust.It should be noted that the brightness of HDR is higher than SDR, which can be confirmed from the color correction hardware, so why does the picture look so bad?Microsoft actually did not have a clear statement on their official website, the current online discussion is also a lot of.But it’s more accurate to say that Microsoft didn’t take into account the current state of the display when it came to color gamut conversion.Microsoft actually uses sRGB in the interface, but when HDR is turned on, the display color gamut is switched to BT2020, so Microsoft will also use Lut conversion to change the original sRGB color gamut to BT2020 to match the display requirements, otherwise the entire screen will appear extremely bad colors.However, Microsoft defaults to 100% BT2020 color space after switching gamut, meaning that the higher the display’s gamut coverage in BT2020, the more accurate the color will be in Windows HDR mode.So the question is, what is the color gamut of the current display in BT2020?The answer is overwhelmingly no more than 70%.This is why most monitors, no matter how much you adjust them, don’t work well in Windows HDR mode.We can see 100% sRGB gamut coverage in Windows SDR mode, and even 100% Adobe RGB gamut coverage.More than 95% NTSC gamut coverage and close to 100% DCI-P3 gamut coverage.However, in BT2020, also known as Rec 2020 gamut coverage, there are almost no products with more than 80% gamut coverage.A display, for example, with 75% BT2020 gamut coverage would be excellent, as LG’s OLED TVS score high, but BT2020’s gamut coverage is usually around 71%.If the display device can achieve 100% BT2020 color gamut coverage, then in Windows HDR mode, color will naturally be accurate, but it is a pity that the current civilian display device does not have such a product;TV or monitor, more than 70% of the BT2020 gamut coverage is excellent, so in Windows HDR mode, the color offset will be more obvious, the original high dynamic color content loss, naturally look gray.Of course, part of the reason is that in Windows HDR mode, the Gamma has changed, and it is not the standard Gamma2.2 in SDR mode. This also has some visual impact, but in general, the reason why people see their monitors color worse in Windows HDR mode,Or because their display equipment is not good enough!Of course, Microsoft is to blame for this part, this color gamut mode is too rough and simple, and does not take into account the actual situation of users.So what’s the solution?The answer is no solution…Because no monitor or TV can cover 100% of the BT2020 color gamut, anything over 80% is rare.Therefore, there is no way to solve the problem of grey desktop in HDR mode.It is said that Samsung’S QD-OLED panel can cover more than 85% of THE BT2020 gamut. If the display with this panel is used, it is estimated that it can achieve better results in Windows HDR mode than now. Of course, the price is not cheap.Now that we can’t solve this problem, we can just run Windows on SDR for a long time under normal circumstances.There are several cases here, after all, many applications come with their own HDR, and it would be a waste to keep the display in SDR mode all the time.If the monitor is connected to a non-PC external device, such as PS5, Xbox Series X or other products, if the monitor can automatically recognize the HDR content, then the user does not have to worry about it, these devices can automatically switch between SDR and HDR, and will not be as abnormal as Microsoft system.The correct display should cover 100% of the BT2020 gamut, everyone’s HDR mapping is very normal, we will mainly talk about Windows under the correct HDR application mode.In fact, there are two kinds of HDR mode for Windows software applications. One is that you don’t need to switch Windows to HDR mode, as long as the monitor supports HDR mode, it can be automatically set to HDR mode. Some games and applications are like this, such as Resident Evil series, DVDFab Player, etc.The desktop continues to use SDR mode. After entering the game or video, users can open the HDR option in the game. At this time, the display will automatically switch to HDR mode, and the video will automatically revert to SDR mode after quitting the game or video.However, there are some game applications that require Windows to be in HDR mode to have their own HDR option, such as Forza Motorsport, Gears of War 5, Halo, etc., as well as other games from other manufacturers.Other web video applications, such as Youtube and Netflix, also require Windows to be set up under HDR to provide HDR content.So when you want to play these games or watch videos at this time, you have to set Windows under HDR. Anyway, the HDR content of games and videos is not as dark as the desktop, and the effect is very good in full screen mode, mainly because of the manufacturer’s SDR-HDR mapping.Therefore, the method is actually very simple. Usually, users only need to set Windows in SDR mode, that is, do not turn on HDR mode. Then, when watching videos or playing games, if the application must be in Windows HDR mode, then turn on the HDR of the system at this time.In the end, the purpose of writing this article is that both ourselves and other users have encountered this problem, and no matter how we set and adjust, we cannot completely solve the situation that the screen color is not as good as SDR.This problem does not blame users, Microsoft, of course, there are some responsibility, but Microsoft to do so, too, seems to be the most simple and feasible solution, because in the future if the display device gamut continued ascension, can reach higher BT2020 color gamut, this problem will be solved gradually, for now or set the system under the SDR, or make eyes more patience.Other display manufacturers will know better and adjust their displays to better fit Windows’ HDR mode, so we often see products from some brands that may be better than others, but only up to a point, or at least not completely.In addition, if you must set Windows under HDR, higher gamut will not say, higher brightness display will usually have a better effect, so a high brightness display seems to be necessary at present.