The 4K technology refers to TV resolution. Essentially, it’s a measure of how much detail is displayed on the screen. It is incredibly popular nowadays, having successfully succeeded the 1,920 x 1,080 resolution. What makes it better? It’s quite simple – it offers 3,840 columns and 2,160 rows of pixels (3,840 x 2,160).
The HDR technology, however, relates to the 4K technology only in a sense where mostly higher-end 4K TVs support it. Even though it doesn’t refer to the number of pixels available, it greatly boosts the viewing experience, nonetheless.
What Is HDR
Short for High Dynamic Range, HDR essentially boosts the range of color and contrast on smart TV devices and computer screens. This means that the dark pixels within the dark parts of an image can get much darker than on non-HDR devices, thus improving the overall contrast. Likewise, the bright image parts can reach much higher brightness levels, therefore improving color accuracy.
HDR is definitely not strictly related to the 4K television technology. In theory, it can be applied to most devices with a screen. However, given the fact that it is still a cutting-edge technology, it is generally installed on high-end devices, which happen to have 4K resolution. This is why the term 4K HDR is a thing – where there’s HDR, there is also 4K.
Roku TVs and devices, naturally, support both the 4K and the HDR technologies.
In order to stream HDR content, you’re going to need to meet a number of requirements. If you do own a Roku device and a smart TV, you should make sure that it can actually play content in HDR.
If you own a Roku TV, the only thing that you need to make sure is whether the model supports HDR. You can find this info online. Just type in your exact Roku TV model and look for “4K HDR” in its specs. This is pretty much it. You should be able to enjoy 4K HDR content by default.
If you own a Roku player, you’ll have to make sure that it can stream 4K HDR. Google the model and look for the “4K HDR” keyword, again. Naturally, your smart TV will have to be 4K HDR compatible. Googling the specs should give you this info. However, this is where things get a bit more complicated.
In order for it to work with your 4K HDR-compatible Roku, it needs to have at least one HDMI 2.0 port that also supports HDCP 2.2. Note that this doesn’t refer only to your Roku and TV devices. If there is a single device in your 4K HDR chain that doesn’t support HDMI 2.0 and HDCP 2.2 (such as a surround system, for instance), the HDR content that you’re streaming won’t appear in HDR.
If your equipment meets the requirements, make sure that you’ve updated both devices to their latest versions.
Now, because of the increased quality, the HDR video files that you’ll be streaming are going to be bigger and, therefore, much more demanding, streaming-wise. You may need an internet connection as fast as 25 Mbps. This is not taking into account someone else using the actual connection while you’re streaming.
Finally, you should get a Premium High-Speed HDMI Cable.
Connect the Devices
Once you are certain that every single device that you are using is compatible and once you’ve got everything listed above, it’s time to connect the devices. Note that most Roku devices use HDMI ports to directly connect to your smart TV. Some, however, may require an HDMI cable in order to establish a connection.
If your Roku device and your TV are the only parts of the equation, simply connect them as instructed. If there are more devices involved, use an AVR/soundbar, etc.
Configuring Your TV
Before successfully streaming HDR video content and after connecting everything physically, you’re probably going to have to set up your smart TV for HDR. Some HDR-ready TVs will activate the HDR mode automatically, while others will require configuration. To make sure that you’ve done everything properly and by the book, refer to your TVs instruction manual or contact the manufacturer. You can probably find the appropriate manual online.
Nevertheless, here is the rough outline of HDR configuration for some of the most popular smart TV brands.
On Samsung HDR-friendly TVs, navigate to Menu, then Picture. From this screen, go to Picture Options, followed by HDMI UHD Color. Turn this option on and restart the device.
For LG HDR TVs, go to the Home screen and navigate to HDMI. Then, go to Settings, Advanced, and find the Picture option. Now, select and turn on the HDMI ULTRA DEEP COLOR option and restart the device.
With Sony HDR TVs, go to Home and select Settings. From the Settings screen, navigate to External inputs, then HDMI signal format, and then HDMI [select the Roku player input]. Now, select Enhanced mode and your TV should reboot automatically.
HDR on Roku
Hopefully, this article has helped you enable HDR streaming on your Roku and TV. When scrolling through Roku video content, look for the HDR logo on movies and shows. Also, make sure that you’ve carefully followed the instructions and that all the involved devices are HDR-compatible.
Do you use HDR on your Roku device? Have you experienced any issues enabling this? Go ahead and hit the comments section below with any tips, advice, questions, and inquiries that you may have.