How to disable HDR on Xbox One and Xbox Series X: Turn off HDR on Xbox One X and Series X|S

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One of the key developmental leaps in console gaming is in the improved visual performance of new consoles over older ones. Superior graphics, higher resolutions, make games look more beautiful and more realistic. One of the ways the Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One X do this, is through something called HDR. But HDR might not be right for everyone in every circumstance. So we'll take a look at what it is in a bit more detail, and then tell you how you can disable HDR on the Xbox, if you feel that's appropriate.

What is HDR?

HDR stands for High Dynamic Range. HDR uses a wider range of colours and richer contrast, to create more realistic images on your screen. In simple terms, it can produce blacker blacks and whiter whites, and everything in between. It does require significantly more data to produce the detail in these images. To fully appreciate the benefits of this technology, you need a 4K television that supports HDR. The Xbox One X, and the Xbox Series X|S are capable of processing the data involved in HDR images, and putting that on your screen.

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They use a technology developed by Microsoft called Auto-HDR. It uses artificial intelligence and machine learning, to learn what an image should look like, and then improve the image. Primarily it is intended to improve an SDR image to make it look better. It an make old games look vastly better as a result. That being said, Auto-HDR may not be to everyone's taste. Players of retro games may feel it produces a more artificial look than they want, for example. So we'll look at how you can switch it off on the Xbox consoles, if you don't want it. Or if you're curious to see what difference it makes to your games.

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How to disable HDR on Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S

To turn off HDR on your Xbox console for an individual game:

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  • Go to My games and apps
  • Select the title you want to change
  • Select Menu > Manage game and add-ons > Auto HDR
  • This will then present you with the option of switching it on or off.

To disable HDR for everything:

  • Press your Xbox button on your controller
  • Select Power and System > Settings > General > TV and Display Options > Video Modes
  • You can then uncheck the box for Auto HDR
  • There is also the option to uncheck the box to Allow HDR 10. HDR 10 is the standard of HDR which the Xbox uses. So this will switch off HDR even for games that have been designed with it in mind, that wouldn't rely on Auto HDR.

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