‘Apple’s “EDR” Brings High Dynamic Range to Non-HDR Displays’

Stu Maschwitz:

Apple caused quite a stir with the announcement of their Pro Display XDR, a High Dynamic Range display that occupies a convoluted space in the market. It seeks to be both a Very Nice Computer Display, and a reference HDR video monitor — but by most measures it’s far too expensive to be the former, and not quite up to the rarified specs of the latter. Confusingly, it also outperforms some HDR displays costing considerably more, by some metrics. It’s currently the only display-only device Apple makes, and it’s simultaneously ludicrously expensive and a too-good-to-be-true deal. Suffice it to say that while there may be very few people for whom the Pro Display XDR is the unquestionably right choice, they know who they are, and they don’t need the internet’s advice about it.

The above is just a preamble to the article, which is about how Apple is displaying HDR content on lesser displays, but that’s the best description of the Pro Display XDR I’ve ever seen. I just had to quote it. Anyway, Maschwitz’s main point:

So Apple has a method of showing HDR and SDR content together on the same screen. It works on every display Apple bills as “HDR,” even though the phones are performing the stunt using a different underlying technology than the 32” Mac display. The XDR uses “local dimming” to light up an array of LEDs brighter behind the HDR pixels, as needed. The OLED displays drive each pixel to the desired brightness individually.

Apple groups all this under one umbrella they call EDR, or Extended Dynamic Range. And even as they tout EDR as a selling point of their professional display and flagship iPhones, Apple has also quietly extended it to older Macs that were never advertised as being HDR-capable.

I had noticed this, but never really noted it.

Saturday, 5 December 2020