Sony today announced it would soon release an update for several of its 2015 4K UHD TVs that would enable the televisions to process HDR metadata and display HDR images on-screen. There is a catch, however: HDR support will be limited, at least initially, to a small selection of content through Amazon’s Prime Instant Video service.
The firmware update, which was originally slated only for the top-tier X940C and X930C television series will now be rolled out for the the X850C, X900C and X910C models as well. HDR, which stands for High Dynamic Range, allows a television to display a wider range of luminosity levels, including deeper blacks and brighter whites. The technology benefits color as well by increasing the intensity with which color is displayed. It’s important to note here the HDR is different than Sony’s XDR (X-tended Dynamic Range) technology, which can be found in the X930C and X940C (as the Pro version), which specifically increase brightness range.
Of course, all that bright and shiny new tech isn’t worth much without some content to show if off, so Sony has partnered up with Amazon Instant Video — the first streaming service to launch HDR support — to grant owners of qualifying Sony TVs access to a small selection of HDR content. As part of the deal, anyone making a new purchase of one of the aforementioned compatible Sony 4K UHD TVs this fall will get access to up to $100 of HDR content from Amazon, including The Amazing Spider Man 2, Men in Black 3, After Earth, and Fury.
Outside of that new purchase promotion, all Sony 4K UHD TV owners with an Amazon Prime account will be able to access the entire first season of Amazon’s original series Transparent and Mozart in the Jungle in HDR. Amazon will also reportedly release the pilot episode of its upcoming ’80s comedy Red Oaks in HDR.
In its announcement, Sony did not indicate whether future firmware updates might make their televisions capable of processing HDR from other sources, such as a forthcoming 4K UHD Blu-ray player. To do so, at least one of the TV’s HDMI inputs would need to be HDMI 2.0a compliant, and currently none of them are. Digital Trends reached out to Sony for comment and had not heard back at the time this article was published, but we’ll be sure to update accordingly.