Years after its competition, Hulu begins streaming in HDR

Years after its competition, Hulu begins streaming in HDR

A man and a woman converse in a dimly lit room.Enlarge / Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale, now available in HDR on some devices.

HDR has been a standard feature of new TVs for years now, and you’d be hard-pressed to find many 4K TVs that don’t support HDR. But even as Netflix, Amazon, Disney+, HBO Max, and others have rolled out HDR support for some content, Hulu hasn’t. That finally changed, with a support page on Hulu’s website announcing HDR support for select shows and devices.

These are the devices on which Hulu says it now offers HDR streaming:

Roku (HDR compatible models)
Fire TV, Fire TV Stick, Fire TV Cube devices (HDR compatible models with Fire OS 7 or later)
Apple TV 4K (Gen 5 or later)
Vizio (HDR compatible models)
Chromecast Ultra (HDR-compatible models)

Hulu says that the supported formats include HDR-10, HDR-10+, and Dolby Vision. Content that supports HDR will carry a special badge so viewers know what they’re getting.

The available content is limited, though. For the moment, the badge only appears on select original series and films by Hulu. They include The Handmaid’s Tale, High Fidelity, Catch-22, Happiest Season, and WeWork, among just a handful of others.

Hulu has supported 4K for a while, though it made the leap after its competitors, too. And 4K came in fits and starts: some devices received 4K support, then lost it, then gained it again.

4K increases the number of pixels compared to HD, resulting in a sharper image. But many people don’t have TVs large enough or close enough to their seating to really see that difference. On the other hand, HDR can be seen at any reasonable viewing distance. It increases the vibrancy of the image, the contrast between light and dark spots, and the depth of the colors in ways that we think are more impactful than 4K.

Hulu was among the last services to support HDR, and the overwhelming majority of its library is still streaming in standard dynamic range.

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