HDR Meaning: Here’s What it Means and How to Use it?

You’ve likely seen the acronym HDR, but do you know what it means? This guide will provide everything you need to know about the meaning of HDR.

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Sure, 4K was great, but have you checked out HDR? 

An acronym that stands for “high dynamic range,” HDR is all the rage these days; however, if you’re someone who is not particularly tech-savvy, you may not have the slightest clue as to what HDR is. 

Not to worry, though, because we’re here to help! 

In this post, we’ll get you up to speed on the world’s latest obsession and clear up any confusion you may have about HDR. So, if you’ve ever wondered what this popular acronym means — keep reading. Here’s our complete guide on HDR

What Is the Definition of HDR?

While you browsed the electronics section looking for a new television set or the latest models of cameras, you probably ran into the term “HDR.”

This term is used everywhere in today’s ever-evolving, technologically advanced society, but it’s rarely explained. HDR, in a nutshell, stands for high dynamic range; however, there is a bit more to it. 

As per the Cambridge Dictionary, you will see HDR defined as the ability for electronic screens to show clear, crisp images. 

These images show a wide variety of natural colors and a good amount of contrast between the light and dark parts of any image displayed. In video, for example, it’s about increasing the contrast between the darkest blacks and brightest whites a TV can produce. 

HDR Photography vs. HDR Video

Since HDR can be used in a few contexts, let’s clear up some confusion. 

The HDR photography options that have been added in recent years to smartphones shouldn’t be confused with the high dynamic range seen on your HDR TV.

They are indeed quite similar; both result in images that have a greater contrast between dark and light. However, how they get to that destination is a bit different.

Let’s look at the most recent high-end cameras or the most recent smartphone apps, for example. These cameras and apps use HDR by combining several photos taken during a single burst of photos.

The above-mentioned photos are taken at slightly different exposures during this process (photographers call these stops), and the amount of light is doubled from one photo to the next. 

In turn, the first stop produces an overly dark image while the last results in the opposite, an exceptionally bright one – resulting in far better luminosity for the finally “hybrid” photo.

The same can not be said for HDR in video. Of course, you are still getting a superior color ratio and an expanded color gamut when it comes to video – video and HDR just takes a different route to get to their destination. 

In relation to HDR and video, it all has to do with how the image is displayed on the screen as well as the source content used to do so. So although they may share some common points and have the same name; it is clear to see that photography and HDR video are quite different.

Highlights of High Dynamic Range

HDR very much so can elevate your television viewing experience to a whole new level – but is HDR worthy of the hype?

Largely, yes! Still, there are a few points or caveats when purchasing your new HDR equipment. Below we have listed a few of the highlights to help you navigate this newfound tech:

  • Commonly overlooked HDR requires both your input and output to have HDR compatibility. HDR content is now widely available on streaming services like Netflix, Sony Playstation, Disney plus, Samsung, Apple TV, Amazon prime video. You can even find some on youtube and iTunes.
  • HDR images have more contrasts and achieve brighter highlights.
  • Most HDR television sets also come with another nifty feature, a wide color gamut. WCG results in richer, deeper colors – think “redder” reds, deeper greens, and more “bluer” blues.
  • Most HDR content to date is also available in 4k resolution.

Alternate Uses of the Acronym HDR

According to The Free Dictionary, the term HDR has quite a range of meanings beyond “High Dynamic Resolution.” The acronym itself has a plethora of varying meanings and definitions. 

With that being said, these are less commonly known and should be only used sparingly and always in proper context. The best to use here is the full form so that your audience does not get confused.

  • High dose rate
  • Herr der Ringe
  • Health data repository 
  • Hospital discharge registry
  • High dose radiation
  • Heavy-duty rotary
  • Hickory daily record
  • High desert roundup
  • Help desk request
  • Heavy-duty repairman
  • Hot dry rock
  • Hard drive restore
  • Home dockyard regulations
  • High definition rendering
  • Half-duplex relay
  • Hemispherical dielectric resonator
  • Human dimensions research
  • Historical data record
  • Hyperdimensional resonator


HDR stands for High Dynamic resolution, and hopefully, after diving into this article, you can confidently explain to your friends and family what that means in some detail — HDR of content on HDR-compatible devices can get darker, brighter, and show more shades of gray in between.


  1. What Does HDR Mean? Definition  | The Cambridge English Dictionary 
  2. HDR – What does HDR stand for? The Free Dictionary
  3. The Definition of HDR | The Free Dictionary