Did you know that YouTube supports HDR videos as well? Yep. Compared to regular videos, HDR videos offer higher contrast and details that especially visible in darker scenes of the content you are watching. While YouTube supports HDR videos, you simply cannot playback HDR Videos on any device you wish to.
That’s because just like HDR videos need to be recorded with specialized camera equipment; you need a device that can playback HDR content as well.
While a standard video is shot in 24-bit color, HDR videos are shot at 30-bit color. It means they are more vivid and have better contrast and details which you will not find in SDR content.
Right now, there are two issues with watching HDR content on YouTube. Firstly, HDR content itself is challenging to find. There are a few channels which upload videos exclusively in HDR, but the overall video catalog is severely limited. That’s is because shooting HDR video requires one to upgrade their existing camera gear, which is an expensive process. Most video cameras capable of shooting videos in HDR run into hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Secondly, you need a smartphone or display that can playback HDR videos and has been certified by Google/YouTube for doing so.
Can Your Device Playback HDR Videos on YouTube?
So, how do you know if your device is capable of playing back HDR videos on YouTube? For that, you need to know if your smartphone is a YouTube Signature Device or not. If it is, you will be able to enjoy 4K HDR videos on your smartphone.
As of now, the following smartphones have been certified as YouTube Signature Devices:
- Huawei P30/Pro
- Samsung Galaxy S10 series
- Honor View 20
- LG G40 ThinQ
- Huawei Mate 20/X
- Google Pixel 3/XL
- Sony Xperia XZ3
- Samsung Galaxy Note 9
- Sony Xperia XZ2/Premium
- HTC U12+
- OnePlus 6
- LG G7 ThinQ
- LG V35 ThinQ
- Xiaomi Mi 8
- Huawei P20/Pro
- Nokia 8 Sirocco
- Samsung Galaxy S9 series
- Google Pixel 2/XL
- Huawei Mate 20 Pro
- Samsung Galaxy Note 8
- LG V30
- Samsung Galaxy S8 series
While not mentioned on the website, the iPhone X and iPhone XS series are also capable of playing back HDR videos on YouTube. Despite featuring HDR displays, the 2018 iPad Pro lineup does not support HDR video playback on YouTube.
If you have any other device other than the ones mentioned above, you won’t be able to playback HDR videos on it. The video will simply be dithered to standard 24-bit color.
4K Videos Are NOT HDR Videos
There is a common misconception that 4K videos are HDR videos. However, this is not true. HDR videos are mostly uploaded on video in 4K resolution, but not all 4K videos on YouTube are HDR in nature.
HDR Videos on YouTube
Chances are, your favorite YouTube channels are not really uploading HDR videos. As mentioned above, most YouTube channels would need to invest heavily into upgrading their camera setup to be able to shoot HDR videos.
Below is a small list of some HDR videos and some YouTube channels that primarily upload HDR videos :