The difference between HDR10 and Dolby Vision as relates to Xbox One X

The Xbox One X has arrived, ringing in a new era of high-resolution gaming on consoles. To take advantage of everything the One X has to offer — namely HDR and 4K — you need a special type of TV that offers proper support. There's currently a bit of a battle going on between HDR10 and Dolby Vision, which are two different HDR standards. Let's take a look at the difference between them, to determine which works best for Xbox One X.

What's the difference between 4K and HDR?

High dynamic range (HDR) is essentially a measure of the difference between the brightest and darkest visuals a game, movie, or TV show can deliver. With proper HDR, you're going to see darker darks, with a lot more detail, as well as brighter brights. Overall, this contributes to a much prettier, vivid picture that's close to real life.

On the other hand, 4K UHD signifies the display's resolution is 3,840 x 2,160 and, while it affects color to some extent, it has more to do with the sharpness and clarity of an image. HDR and 4K are often used together to deliver a jaw-dropping image, as is the case with the Xbox One X and compatible TVs.

Why aren't all 4K/HDR TVs fully compatible with Xbox One X?

While 4K UHD essentially means the same thing across TVs, there are currently two main standards when it comes to HDR: Dolby Vision and HDR10. These two standards don't exactly play well together, and it's causing a headache for some who have invested in one or the other without understanding the ramifications.

HDR10 is an open standard used by plenty of manufacturers and is usually the default used in high-end TVs that have "HDR" stamped on them. Dolby Vision was created by Dolby as a way to take HDR10 to the next level and can be considered a better technology, thanks to having a higher ceiling for growth.

Both HDR10 and Dolby Vision require TVs to have at least 10-bit color depth. Both require a TV to be at least 4K. And both require a TV to hit about 90 percent of the DCI-P3 color space, a measurement used by the US-American film industry. However, Dolby Vision will be able to get way brighter (up to 10,000 nits of brightness) and supports 12-bit color, while HDR10 will only be able to hit 4,000 nits and 10-bit color.

The fact that Dolby Vision looks to the future and takes the tech ahead sounds great, but then you realize that you need a specific Dolby Vision player and content to take advantage it.

What doesn't work with Dolby Vision HDR? The Xbox One X.

How can you tell if a TV supports HDR10 and Dolby Vision?

Xbox / 4K TV (Image credit: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

When buying a TV for use with the Xbox One X, you want to be sure to determine if it works with HDR10. If it states HDR10, you should be good to go. If the TV you're interested in only says Dolby Vision, it's still going to support HDR10 thanks to the underlying technology. You just won't get to take advantage of what Dolby Vision has to offer

Many popular brands of TV use HDR10, such as Samsung (including KS and KU models), LG (including SJ, UJ, UH, C7, and B7 models), Vizio (including P and M models), Sony (including A1, ZD9, XE9, and XE8 models), and Panasonic (including EZ, DX, and EX models). Nevertheless, you should always check (and double check) before making a purchase. To make things easier, we put together a list of the best TVs for Xbox One X, as well as a guide on how to enable HDR on popular TVs.

What about budget TVs that claim to have HDR?

Xbox One X (Image credit: Windows Central)

If you're in the market for a budget 4K TV that says it supports HDR, be wary of "fake" HDR that won't work properly with your Xbox One X. Phony HDR adds some dynamic contrast but doesn't truly support HDR content, because it can't read the signal coming from the game or movie.

Discerning between real HDR and fake HDR isn't always easy, as a lot of the time the description will simply say "HDR." Your best bet is to check out our suggestions or inquire in our forum, where plenty of knowledgeable people will be glad to help.

Did you take the 4K or HDR plunge?

Have you been basking in the glory that is a 4K and HDR? Can you ever go back to regular video games now that you have the Xbox One X? Let us know in the comments section, and be sure to check out these other resources when it comes to the most powerful console on the market.

Cale Hunt
Senior Editor, Laptop Reviews

Cale Hunt is formerly a Senior Editor at Windows Central. He focuses mainly on laptop reviews, news, and accessory coverage. He's been reviewing laptops and accessories full-time since 2016, with hundreds of reviews published for Windows Central. He is an avid PC gamer and multi-platform user, and spends most of his time either tinkering with or writing about tech.

24 Comments
  • If you're looking to buy a 4K OLED TV (and you definitely should) you'll obviously want to go with LG.
    And LG's OLED TVs support both HDR10 and DolbyVision. So remember that when you look at the price tag. (Though I'd sooner recommend you to not buy a One X than not buy a 4K OLED TV)
  • I have the 55" C7, it is beautiful with the xbox one s and x but I have to enable hdr (also a setting to enable in the c7 menu) and then reboot the xbox to get it to recognize full compatibility. After that I also enabled Dolby Atmos for my SJ9 soundbar through the xbox one x, and then passed the sound from the bluray player app in xbox to the soundbar (or tv) to allow it to pass dolby Atmos as well.
  • What kind of recommendation is that? U obviously have no idea what u are talking about or either no clue about Xbox one X benefits from a 1080p TV and up. I'd recommend people to not use your recommendation.
  • There's been a lot of burn-in issues and banding with OLED sets that LG refuses to warranty. They aren't really ready for prime time yet. Read about it on AVForums.
  • If you don't know how to take care of your tv then yes there can be burn in with ANY OLED display. The fix is pretty simple especially with LG.  Make sure pixel shift is turned on which helps prevent burn in and also like once a week go to YouTube and run a pixel fixer video.  It flashes the screen at 30hz using a different color every frame.  Let it run for just a few min while you are out of the room doing something and that's that. Forgetting that for a second you also have to remember it was really the 1st Gen of big OLED panels that had the issue.  The models from 2016 on are fine unless it's defective and if that was the case you would find out when under warranty. Lastly if you have a 4k OLED TV from a big brand chances are it's using a panel made by LG.  So no matter what brand you buy 99% of them are currently made by LG.  The only difference between brands is software and other hardware they use like CPU, DSP ETC ETC. OLED produces the absolute best image especially ESPECIALLY for HDR and LG makes the best.  Just because there is a chance of burn in doesn't mean you should take a significant downgrade in quality and go with an LCD.  You can't have proper HDR with an LCD panels because it's impossible for them to produce true black & white.  It will never happen because it can't happen.
  • People moaning on AV forums about burn in shouldnt be taken as a wide spread issue, these are the types looking for flaws, most OLED displays are fine and even Samsung have been using OLED in smartphones for some time now without issue. It's funny that Samsung has the best mobile OLED and LG mobile OLED is rubbish but LG TV OLED is the best and Samsung never invested in making TV OLED so it missed the boat.
  • Obviously after play in 4k i never going back to 1080.
    About HDR...good feature but nit critical for me, resolution is everything obviously. Say goodbye to blurry unsharper and no AA views.
  • I actually just upgraded to a 4k/HDR tv and honestly while 4k is nice @ 65", it is HDR that blew me away.  I think 4k may be more critical at larger screen sizes, but HDR improves the image quality significantly regardless of screen size.  This is especially noticible with a Xbox One S, your games are still all at 1080p, but the HDR enhancements still make them look like a fantastic improvement over my older tv.
  • Not sure there are any TVs with only Dolby Vision. The Vizio P series shipped without HDR-10 two years ago but updated the firmware later that year to support it. The fake HDR problem is way worse than that. Most sub-$1000 HDR sets are either 8 Bit panels with dithering or simply accept the HDR signal and map it to the old color standard, losing all of the actual benefits of HDR. Always look for WCG “Wide Color Gamut” on the box, and a set with Dolby Support has to have full HDR-10 level of capability due to the certification process. Most Black Friday TVs this year are the fake HDR sets, buyers beware!
  • You're right, changed the wording to make it clearer.
  • I disagree with you; I have an 8bit HDR panel and the games still look a lot better with HDR on. Even though it's not a 10 bit panel. Obviously not as good as it would on a 10bit, but it's DEFINITELY better than SDR.
  • This is a joke right? You want to shop for a Dolby vision capable tv. By default if the set is capable of Dolby vision than hdr is as well. The tv will likely not specify both Dolby and hdr 10. Take the vizio M and P series. Both are Dolby vision, both claim Dolby vision and both will run and support hdr10 content when played. Please do some research before releasing articles like this. 
  • You're correct. Changed to wording to make this clearer.
  • "Did you take the 4K or HDR plunge?" Practically speaking, you won't have HDR without 4K--because all HDR10 capable televisions already had 4K as a feature. HDR isn't necessarily dependent on true UHD 2160p resolution (nor is the reverse--almost all UHD monitors lack HDR, and they're still selling), but it's a lot less impressive without it from what I understand (and also you just won't find that set).  UHD is basically established as the next resolution standard for televisions (bypassing 1440p), the same way we moved to full HD of 1080p slowly but surely, while HDR is still not really standardized yet (though HDR10 seems to have a huge lead over Dolby Vision). "Did you take the 4K plunge? And if so, do you have HDR?"  Not yet--when I bought my Vizio M 2 years ago, HDR was less standardized than it was now (and no video games supported it either), so good dynamic lighting on an LED screen was much more important. I'd love to have to have it, but UHD is larger benefit overall.
     
  • If the TV you're interested in only says Dolby Vision, you'll want to look for another option.”  The article is wrong...my understanding is that Dolby Vision is a superior and more complex HDR implementation. If it says Dolby Vision, it does NOT mean not compatible with HDR10. Most OEM who support Dolby Vision should support HDR10 (it’s Free). Look at the full TV description before taking a final decision. LG http://www.lg.com/us/experience-tvs/hdr/dolby-vision
    Visio https://www.vizio.com/m-series iTune, NetFlix, VuDu, Amazon support Dolby Vision and HDR10. Microsoft could descide to implement Dolby Vision on Xbox One s and Xbox One X with a simple software update.
  • If the TV you're interested in only says Dolby Vision, it's still going to support HDR10 thanks to the underlying technology. You just won't get to take advantage of what Dolby Vision has to offer.
    Am I reading this wrong, or did I over look the clarification of this statement? Why will a TV that only says "Dolby Vision" not get to take advantage of what Dolby Vision has to offer? What else do the TV specs need to include to actually take advantage of Dolby Vision?
  • I have and Vizio P65-E1 It supports both HDR10 & Dolby Vision. I cannot tell you how Amazing HDR10 Look and even better Dolby Vizion. Vudu is the way to go with Movies Since they support a higher Video Bitrate and Lossless Audio, including Dolby Atmos. I wanted to buy an OLED TV but the risk of image retention and Burn in is too much based on on the content I watch so I opted to get this tv, (Full Array LED) and the Blacks are so inky black. I cannot wait for XBox to Support Dolby Vision games.
  • Manufacturers aren't making it easy to see what you're getting. Both Sharp and Samsung specify HDR on their TVs but as far as I can see, nowhere does it say it's HDR10 or Dolby Vision. I'm sure Dolby Vision would be specified but seems HDR10 is not.
  • Xbox one X cant support dolby vision because it doesn't have the hardware. Hdr 10 is just software but dolby requires some hardware. I have a Vizio p65 C-1 and it supports DV and Hdr 10. I hope I never have to go back to HD because this tv +XBOX is AWESOME!!
  • Dolby Vision dropped it's hardware requirement there is a software version too.
  • Microsoft should have been pushing Dolby Vision from the get go on the One X, the HDR-10 standard has a flaw in it because it cannot handle dynamic HDR metadata, this results in dim looking games when HDR is active, a flaw some people thought was a bug in HDR TV's, it's not it's just the way the TV HDR tone mapping is optimized. Dolby Vision doesn't have those problems and is much better reguarded, it's a shame MS didn't relaize this.
  • As someone with close proximity to the industry I can say that engineers view this considerably differently.  The overwhelming consensus is that Dolby Vision is more of a spec game than a real benefit to screens at consumer or even professional sizes.  It also does a very poor job differentiating between technologies, it specifies a minimum nits of 4000, which is something that only the brightest LCD's today can hit and which OLED's can probably never hit and home scale projectors will struggle to touch.  In reality, contrast is as much a factor as pure brightness, despite having a rating of around 750-800 nits, OLED's produce a wider color gamut than even the top end LCD's, and projectors have even more potential in that space. I don't necessarily think Dolby Vision is a bad thing, mind you, but its trying to solve a problem nobody has, not even in the high end/professional space. Dolby Atmos, on the other hand, is awesome.
  • So now that I have the Xbox One X and The LG with Dolby Vision the one x don't recognize it so I just have the LG TV display it in its settings but is there to get One X to recognize it in its setup?
  • I dont know where you got the idea that they dont play nice together but DV is just a HDR10 base layer with added optimization data (I wont get technical) and they both use the PQ eotf instead of traditional gamma eotf. Plus all DV discs have HDR10 base and all DV disc players will send HDR10 to non DV displays and all non DV displays will accept the HDR10 base so they are pretty compatible. The question is what would be the best way to implement the dynamic metadata in a game? Static metadata (HDR10) specifies max and min luminance for the entire movie/program/etc and DV adds dynamically changing metadata that specifies the max/min luminance on a scene by scene or frame by frame basis. How would that be used? For sifferent areas in game (cave vs indoor vs outside etc) or time of day or light source or a combo???