Google is bringing better picture quality than ever to viewers who use its Google Play Movies & TV store to rent or purchase their favorite movies and TV shows, adding High Dynamic Range (HDR) support to the service. HDR offers deeper contrast, richer colors, and better shading for video content, and is a feature supported in one way or another by a wide swath of 4K Ultra HD TVs on the market today.
Delivered in a short and sweet announcement this morning, the company will first roll out HDR support to the United States and Canada. For now, HDR support only comes to those who own Googles 4k Ultra HD streaming device, the plug-and-play Chromecast Ultra.
The Chromecast Ultra has supported the two most popular HDR formats — HDR10 and the less prevalent Dolby Vision — since it was first launched late last year. However, it’s not clear whether Google Play Movies and TV shows will support both formats at this time.
By adding HDR support to its Play Movies & TV Store, Google introduces a new array of movies and TV shows for HDR fans to rent and purchase, and satisfies a common complaint of high-end TV owners who have struggled to find their favorite movies and TV series with the better contrast and richer colors and deeper contrast that HDR has to offer.
The move to add HDR content to its film and TV store mimics other services, including Amazon Prime Instant Video and Netflix, the latter of which recently dipped its toes into Dolby Atmos surround sound as well.
In terms of content, the company has partnered with major film studios like Sony and Warner Brothers for the launch of its new HDR fare, announcing releases like the popular Harry Potter spin-off Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them will be available in HDR, with many other major titles on the way in the coming months.
Those looking for the best possible TV to view Google’s newly licensed HDR content on are encouraged to check out our helpful TV buying guide. We’ll update this post with more information as we get it.
Update: The original article stated that HDR support was coming to all Google Cast devices with HDR support, including select TVs with Cast functionality built-in. As of now, Google representatives inform us that HDR support is only available to those who own a Chromecast Ultra device.