Sony announced a new version of the standard PlayStation 4 as well as the upgraded PlayStation 4 Pro today, but it also revealed that everyone who already owns the original system is getting a significant upgrade.
All PlayStation 4 systems will get support for high-dynamic-range visuals as part of a firmware upgrade due out for the system next week. HDR is the next big technology coming to television displays. It enables a TV set to render bright, blaring colors while simultaneously maintaining deep, natural blacks at the same time. This expands the spectrum of visible light that the PS4 can accurately render, and it should lead to more realistic images in video games.
HDR is a feature built into just about any TV that falls under the Ultra HD Premium standard. And it is also the technology that most display experts are excited about over 4K resolutions.
When it comes to televisions, most people sit around 10 feet away. At that distance, many humans struggle to see the difference between 1,080 lines of horizontal pixels and 2,160 lines, which is how many you get in 4K. It’s like trying to see individual grains of sand while standing 10 feet away from the start of a beach.
HDR, however, is visible from a distance, and it makes an immediately noticeable impact on image quality. With this update, and following Microsoft’s debut of the HDR-enabled Xbox One S console, a huge number of HDR-capable devices are now on the market, and this should fuel adoption of that technology as people go to purchase new televisions over the next few years.