How to set up HDR gaming on your 4K HDR TV and PlayStation 4/PS4 Pro

The advent of UHD 4K resolution has been a major boon to gaming, as it has brought crisper resolutions and finer detail to graphics. However, while 4K is an appreciable upgrade, if you’re not playing with High Dynamic Range (HDR) enabled, you’re not getting the full experience from your 4K TV or games. Both of Sony’s current consoles — the PlayStation 4 and the 4K-ready PlayStation 4 Pro — support HDR, provided you have the proper display and the right setup. We’ve put together this guide on how to set up HDR gaming on your 4K/HDR TV and PS4 or PS4 Pro consoles for more colorful, vibrant games.

A quick note: While both the PS4 and PS4 Pro are capable of HDR, you’ll need to make sure you’ve updated the firmware to 4.0 or higher. If you need help setting up HDR on an Xbox One S or Xbox One X, we can help with that, too.

Set up your TV first!

Razer Thresher Ultimate PlayStation 4 version

  1. Make sure your console is connected to an HDMI 2.0a/HDCP 2.2-compliant port on your TV. You might think that because you have a 4K/HDR TV, all ports would be usable, but in most cases only one or two ports are HDMI 2.0a/HDCP 2.2-enabled. What is more surprising is that the compatible HDMI port you need is not necessarily HDMI 1. Sometimes TV manufacturers label the ports so you know by looking, but even those labels can be misleading. To be absolutely sure, check out the specs section for your TV’s model at the manufacturer’s website to determine which HDMI ports support HDMI 2.0a and use one of those for your console.
  2. Open your TV’s settings menu. Head to the Picture Settings section, then look at the presets to find your TV’s Game Mode. This mode will cut down on picture processing, and your picture quality may appear to take a slight hit in the process (don’t worry, we’ll be fixing that, too), but it will also reduce input lag, so if you’re a competitive gamer, using Game Mode will keep you competitive in multiplayer matchups. If you typically play single-player games (or if you value graphics and picture quality over performance), go ahead and pick whichever preset suits your eyeballs best — we typically prefer “movie,” “cinema,” or “standard” modes.
  3. Next, you need to enable HDR on your television. Go back to the Picture Settings menu. From here, it depends on what type of TV you have. Some televisions have HDR settings right in the main Picture Settings menu while others will list them under Input Settings, Advanced Picture Settings, or even the Main Options Menu. You’re looking for a setting like HDMI HDR, HDMI Color Subsampling, HDMI HD Ultra Deep Color, HDMI UHD Color 10-Bit Color, or something similar. You need to enable this setting (aka switch it to “on”) for the HDMI port where the console is plugged in. If you’re not sure where to locate your TV’s HDMI HDR settings, consult your user manual or check the manufacturer’s website. Some TVs will enable HDR automatically as soon as they detect an HDR signal — LG’s OLED 4K TVs are an example.
  4. Your TV is now set up to accept HDR content from your game console, but you may want to fine-tune the picture quality. We suggest adjusting brightness and contrast controls to taste, but before you start tweaking these settings, you want your TV to be displaying some kind of HDR content. This could be an HDR game for your console, or a movie or TV title in HDR via Netflix, Amazon, or Vudu. Once you’re playing HDR content of some sort (many TVs confirm this by showing an HDR logo on the screen), your TV will be in HDR mode. At this point, go into the Picture Settings to make adjustments. By making adjustments while in this mode, you are adjusting picture quality only for the TV’s HDR mode — this will not impact picture quality settings for those times you are watching SDR content, be that a non-HDR movie on Netflix, a standard Blu-ray disc, or good ol’ over-the-air broadcasts. One thing to note: Some TVs will limit the available settings within HDR mode, like brightness. If this is the case for your TV, try the various presets for HDR and see which one you like the most.

In the market for a new TV? We can help! Take a look at our picks for the best TVs right now or check out our 4K TV buying guide for more info.

Set up your PS4 or PS4 Pro

Once your TV is set up, you’re most of the way there. All that’s left to do is enable HDR on the console itself. While the PS4 and PS4 Pro will usually auto-detect that HDR is enabled on your TV and adjust the settings itself, it doesn’t always, and it’s a good idea to double-check regardless. Here’s how to do it.

  1. After you’ve properly plugged the console into your TV, turn it on and navigate to the Settings screen. In the System Information tab, make sure HDCP is checked.
  2. Next, open the Sound and Screen menu, then select Video Output Settings. On that screen, set the HDR option and Deep Color output to Automatic.

If you followed the above step correctly, you should now be able to play in HDR. Should you need further help, consult Sony’s video guide.

Finding the right content

horizon zero dawn the frozen wild review smoke

Finally, you’ll need to have the right content to play and/or watch.

There is a long list of HDR-enabled video games on the PS4, and more are being released all the time. Plus, there is a plethora of HDR video content you can access on Netflix, YouTube, and Amazon Prime.

Here’s a quick selection of some HDR-ready PS4 recommendations:

Make sure the picture looks great!

Now that you’re all set up and playing an HDR title, the picture quality should be stunning and gorgeous. But what if you aren’t impressed? Perhaps it actually looks worse? What now?

Unfortunately, this may mean that your TV is not well-suited for HDR, even if it says HDR right on the side of the box. To pull off HDR well, a TV needs to be able to achieve high-contrast ratios and expanded color. If your TV can’t pull off the contrast necessary for impressive HDR, your picture could end up looking either dark or washed out, with a lack of detail in either dim or bright areas, depending on your picture adjustments. If this ends up being the case, we suggest you disable HDR and play in a standard mode. If the picture quality looks much better as a result of reverting back to SDR, just stick with it.

Product Review

Simple and reliable, Apple's AirPods are among the best fully wireless earbuds

Apple’s AirPods wireless headphones have dominated the market essentially since they hit stores in December 2016. Though not without some faults, they cracked the connectivity code to rank among the best fully wireless earbuds you can…
Mobile

Whether by the pool or the sea, make a splash with the best waterproof phones

Whether you're looking for a phone you can use in the bath, or you just want that extra peace of mind, waterproof phones are here and they're amazing. Check out our selection of the best ones you can buy.
Computing

Don't take your provider's word for it. Here's how to test your internet speed

If you're worried that you aren't getting the most from your internet package, speed tests are a great way to find out what your real connection is capable of. Here are the best internet speed tests available today.
Deals

Amazon slashes prices on TCL’s already affordable 4K Roku Smart TVs

If you're on a budget, some of the fancier models might seem way out of reach, but that doesn't mean you can't still get a solid TV at an affordable price. Amazon is dropping TCL 4K TV prices as low as $250 right now.
Home Theater

Still listening on tinny, muffled TV speakers? Try one of our favorite soundbars

You no longer have to sacrifice sound for size when selecting home audio equipment. Check out our picks for the best soundbars, whether you're looking for budget options, pure power, smarts, or tons of features.
Home Theater

Here are some common AirPods problems, and how to fix them

Apple’s AirPods are among the best fully wireless earbuds we’ve seen, but they’re not perfect. If you’re having trouble, take a look at our guide to the most common problems and what you can do to fix them.
Home Theater

There isn’t a single good reason to buy Apple’s new AirPods

After nearly a three-year wait, Apple has finally announced a new version of its popular true wireless headphones, the AirPods. We had high hopes for vast improvements, but that's not what we got.
Home Theater

ESPN Plus scores the exclusive rights to UFC Pay-Per-View events

If MMA is your game, then ESPN Plus is now a very important player. The Disney-owned service locked up the exclusive rights to UFC Pay-Per-View events, a deal that will last through 2025 in the United States.
Home Theater

Dish TV customers can access up to 13 NCAA March Madness games in 4K

If you're a basketball fan looking to get your fix of NCAA Championship action in 4K, Dish TV will be airing up to 13 of the tournament games in the ultra high-def format, starting on Tuesday.
Home Theater

Cheer for your favorite NCAA team and Xfinity will respond with matching lights

Screaming at your favorite team just became a lot more rewarding thanks to Comcast's Xfinity voice remote and some special NCAA commands that set your smart lightbulbs to your favorite team's colors.
Deals

Amazon slashes prices on UE Boom and MegaBoom 3 Bluetooth speakers

With just the right combination of great sound, a rugged design, and an overall sleek aesthetic, the UE MegaBoom 3 is our favorite Bluetooth speaker. And Amazon is offering a rare discount on it right now.
Movies & TV

Stranger Things season 3 is coming! Here’s everything we know so far

With a sophomore season as strong as its first, Stranger Things is now moving on to season 3. Here's everything we've learned so far about the Netflix series' upcoming third season, premiering in July 2019.
Home Theater

Here’s what’s new on HBO and what’s leaving in April 2019

Whether you're a cable lifer or a staunch cord cutter, there's never been a better time to get down with premium TV. April 2019 brings Game of Thrones season 8, BlacKkKlansman, and Crazy Rich Asians to HBO.
Home Theater

Tipping point? Streaming subscribers outnumbered cable in 2018 for first time

2018 was a very good year for the entertainment business as a whole, but it was especially good for streaming companies like Netflix and Amazon, says a new report by the Motion Picture Association of America.