HDR Video Playback Support is coming to Chrome for Android

HDR Video Playback Support is coming to Chrome for Android

The proliferation of High Dynamic Range (HDR) video is the next step in improving video quality for all. HDR significantly improves the luminosity range and widens the color space, resulting in greater contrast and color accuracy. Android officially supports HDR playback support starting in Android 7.0 Nougat, though it’s up to individual devices to support a high color depth format and up to individual applications to support extracting HDR metadata from videos. It also requires a compatible display capable of producing the wider color space, of course.

Many current flagship devices are capable of playing back HDR content, though there is currently a lack of HDR video content available for viewing. Google Play Movies & TV, Netflix, and most recently YouTube support HDR playback on a handful of devices though their libraries are limited. It looks like Google Chrome for Android will soon join the list of applications that are capable of HDR video playback, however.

According to two recent commits on the Chromium gerrit, Google Chrome for Android will be able to extract HDR metadata from the video container and pass it to the MediaCodec class. The HDR video, encoded in the VP9 Profile 2 (10 bit) video codec, can then be played back on a supported device.

This improvement to Google Chrome will result in a higher quality video viewing experience in the future. Unfortunately since there’s such a limited number of HDR content available, most users won’t be able to appreciate the improvements that HDR brings for at least a few years. Furthermore, streaming HDR content naturally requires more bandwidth than non-HDR content due to the higher amount of data that is encoded, so data speeds may still be a limiting factor in many areas of the world.

If you have a device capable of playing back HDR content as well as the Internet speed to match, check out this video on YouTube to get a taste of what HDR can bring to your video viewing experience.

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