HDR Gaming on Windows 11: A Guide to Unhappiness?

Windows, Hardware, Hardware

TodowinDRO

6 minutos

I recently described to you my newest entry in the field of gaming PCs. Since I work on the computer for at least 8 hours a day, I have actually become a pure dildo. But Nvidia gave me a push and provided me with a gaming computer for editorial work, of course, with no strings attached to reporting. I am less interested in gaming on the monitor. Rather, I wanted to check for you how it is, for example, with HDR gaming in combination with an average upgraded TV. Maybe one or the other will find some help in this guide.

I must say a word of warning: depending on your TV, there may be differences in the procedure you need to follow to make HDR gaming work as smoothly as possible. Unfortunately, there is still uncontrolled growth under Windows. I myself have for this guide this Dubaro gaming PC (provided by Nvidia) and my LG OLED E9 purchased by myself. However, many of the points I describe here are of general application.

Step 1 – Switch the TV to PC mode

There are differences between PCs and other players. For example, PCs typically run in full chroma screen (4:4:4). However, most TVs don’t offer this automatically. When today’s game consoles were released, I already described how to set PC mode on LG TVs, which then offers an optimized display. So I’m going to summarize the process here.

You can edit the entries with the red pen at the top right of the screen.

You can navigate to a sub-area on LG OLEDs by using the home button and then selecting “Home Panel.” There you will see the entry with more information. Now click on “Edit” in the top right corner (pencil icon with red background). Select the HDMI input your computer is connected to and click the icon there. Now you can also select other icons. Then select laptop which means PC mode. The first milestone has already been reached. On other televisions, such as Samsungthere should be similar modes designed for PC as well.

Step 2HDR On windows 11 Activate

Microsoft itself explains in this support posthow to enable HDR in Windows 11 and fix common issues. The prerequisite for activation is of course that your graphics card and TV can handle HDR display. However, there are hardly any TVs without HDR support, even if the quality can, of course, vary greatly. As for graphics cards, you should be sure to start with GeForce GTX 950 and AMD Radeon R9 380. With older models it should be noted that only HDR via HDMI is recommended. That’s because the graphics cards still claimed DisplayPort 1.2. However, HDR support was only fully incorporated starting with DisplayPort 1.4.

Enabling HDR in Windows 11 should be super easy: Go to Settings > System > Display. If there are multiple displays connected to the PC, select the above HDR compatible display. Now just activate the use of HDR.

Caution: This sounds easy, but it isn’t always. For example, I had an issue where when HDR display was turned on, the resolution was initially reduced to a whopping 1024 x 768 pixels, including the wrong picture format. If that error also occurs with , a possible solution may lead to your graphics card’s control panel.

You can also change the resolution settings there. So if it doesn’t work in Windows system configuration, it might work there if the problem is typical. In my case it did nothing. But often the simplest solution is the best: unplug the HDMI cable, plug it back in, and voila, I finally got a 4K display with HDR at 120Hz. Unfortunately, these HDMI handshake issues happen far too often, so Keep it in mind. for you in mind.

Step 3 – The Right Image Settings

Unfortunately, there are still many obstacles to a correct HDR display in Windows 11. For comparison: both in game station 5 too xbox Series X can set games to display true to the original. Therefore, the console automatically turns HDR off for SDR games, while HDR kicks in fully automatically for HDR-compatible titles. Unfortunately, that doesn’t work properly on Windows 11. If you have enabled HDR in system settings, SDR games will also be converted to HDR, at least this happened with my test system, for example with “Guardians of the Galaxy”, even if I disabled HDR in the game menu.

In case you think I caused this by turning on Auto-HDR in Windows settings: No, this was deliberately turned off. As a result, an SDR game quickly migrates to an HDR container on Windows, leading to completely incorrect color, brightness, and contrast representation. Therefore, you need to manually disable HDR in the Windows display menu before launching SDR games. If you specifically want to convert SDR games to HDR, turn on Auto-HDR which was just mentioned.

Even with HDR for games supported, you still need to pay attention to the display: There is currently no HDR calibration app for Windows 11, like Xbox Series X|S. However, Microsoft is planning such an app later this year. For now, in any title that offers you customization, you should try “tuning your screen at a glance” – see the screenshot above from Guardians of the Galaxy. However, for this to really take effect, some TV setup is required.

Step 4: Trust HGiG

It usually seems that not only does your PC want to make certain picture adjustments, the TV or monitor also tries to adapt the received picture in the background to its capabilities. This process is called tone mapping. In a nutshell, the display checks what it is supposed to display, compares the requirements to its own capabilities, and then scales. Problem: Dual tone mapping often occurs.

This means that your player, in this case the gaming PC, performs tone mapping first, and the TV picks it up a second time. This dual tone mapping spoofs the image in the end. Therefore, bright areas can be washed out and details are lost in dark segments. Logically, it can also hurt gameplay if, for example, you can no longer recognize enemies.

You can prevent dual tone mapping by turning on HGiG in your TV’s settings. Depending on the manufacturer, this can be found in different sub-areas. On LG, for example, under “Expert Settings” under “Dynamic Tone Mapping.” When HGiG is on, your screen no longer performs tone mapping, instead leaving this to the player. As a result, any HDR settings you have made in the respective game will also take effect correctly. Otherwise, they can be “overwritten” by your screen via dual-tone mapping, so to speak, and rendered ineffective.

Conclution

You should be able to achieve reasonably usable HDR playback with this setting. Of course, the quality also depends on your monitor or TV and the game in question. However, there is still a lot of room for improvement with Windows 11. It is appreciated that Microsoft wants to target its own series of Xbox consoles. I will certainly give you a report as soon as the promised application for HDR calibration has been implemented.

If you have any questions about my test settings, HDR display, or other fine-tuning, let us know in the comments!

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