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Old 10-05-2019, 04:34 AM   #1
Nori Nori is offline
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Default Does everyone use max brightness for HDR?

I absolutely love hdr and am a big believer in the format, but it seems like most TV's push the brightness or backlight to max when switching to HDR.

Does anyone else find the max to be much too bright? I only watch films in a pitch black room and in some films when scenes transition from dark to bright I have had instances where I literally had tears flowing down my eyes from the backlight being too strong (an example is in Predator at the end with the explosions, or in some scenes in Baby Driver).

On my Sony x900e I find lowering backlight from 50 (max) to around 20 really helps alleviate this greatly. It also seems to bring the black levels to something closer to what I experience in non hdr content (at max backlight they're grayer than I'm used to when I see black bars).

Is simply reducing the backlight the best solution? I'd be very interested in knowing what other members do when brightness is too bright?

I noticed there's also gamma but the changes seem to be more impactful and I wasn't seeing the same positive effect to the blacks as I was by lowering brightness, so brightness seems to be more of a win win.

*I spent a few minutes going through threads to see if this was asked before and didn't see anything, but I apologize if it was.

Last edited by Nori; 10-05-2019 at 04:38 AM.
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Old 10-05-2019, 07:21 AM   #2
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The 900E is quite a nice TV, but I don't find it too be that bright.

On Sony TVs, backlight is supposed to be at max for HDR. The 900E has a modest number of dimming zones, so black levels will take a hit during HDR. I think you'd be better of using a small bias light when watching HDR content instead of lowering the TV's backlight.

Also I take it you're in Cinema Pro and not Vivid Mode?
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Old 10-05-2019, 08:40 AM   #3
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yes (absolutely)
note (i am in complete agreement with your perceptions and conclusions)
backlight (adjustment) :: i actually did the same (several years ago with outstanding results and satisfaction)
backlight (adjustment) :: i feel that this is the most helpful
picture adjustments (generally) :: generally, getting them 'correct' (to industry standards) is always the best for a satisfactory picture quality


Quote:
Originally Posted by Nori View Post
I absolutely love hdr and am a big believer in the format, but it seems like most TV's push the brightness or backlight to max when switching to HDR.

Does anyone else find the max to be much too bright? I only watch films in a pitch black room and in some films when scenes transition from dark to bright I have had instances where I literally had tears flowing down my eyes from the backlight being too strong (an example is in Predator at the end with the explosions, or in some scenes in Baby Driver).

On my Sony x900e I find lowering backlight from 50 (max) to around 20 really helps alleviate this greatly. It also seems to bring the black levels to something closer to what I experience in non hdr content (at max backlight they're grayer than I'm used to when I see black bars).

Is simply reducing the backlight the best solution? I'd be very interested in knowing what other members do when brightness is too bright?

I noticed there's also gamma but the changes seem to be more impactful and I wasn't seeing the same positive effect to the blacks as I was by lowering brightness, so brightness seems to be more of a win win.

*I spent a few minutes going through threads to see if this was asked before and didn't see anything, but I apologize if it was.

Last edited by jibucha; 10-05-2019 at 08:45 AM.
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Old 10-05-2019, 09:09 AM   #4
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Get a bias light.
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Old 10-05-2019, 03:10 PM   #5
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Thank you for the replies. So sounds like playing with backlight was the correct thing to do. I have calibrated the set to some extent and I use Cinema pro. I use xtended on medium for hdr, and I switch the dimming feature from low to high just for hdr. I don't use any of those other features like black enhance or contrast enhancer or the motion stuff.

I've never used bias lighting. I'm used to the theatrical experience, being in the dark with no lights around, so to me bias lighting has always seemed like an add on that would detract. I wouldn't mind looking into it, but the ones I've seen were all so garish (especially the color changing ones) and bright that there's no question it would pull me away. Are there are extremely discreet ones that are worth looking into?
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Old 10-05-2019, 03:14 PM   #6
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https://www.biaslighting.com/product...le-140cm-strip
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Old 10-05-2019, 03:19 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nori View Post
Thank you for the replies. So sounds like playing with backlight was the correct thing to do. I have calibrated the set to some extent and I use Cinema pro. I use xtended on medium for hdr, and I switch the dimming feature from low to high just for hdr. I don't use any of those other features like black enhance or contrast enhancer or the motion stuff.

I've never used bias lighting. I'm used to the theatrical experience, being in the dark with no lights around, so to me bias lighting has always seemed like an add on that would detract. I wouldn't mind looking into it, but the ones I've seen were all so garish (especially the color changing ones) and bright that there's no question it would pull me away. Are there are extremely discreet ones that are worth looking into?
You should not be "playing" with the backlight for HDR content. Set it at whatever value you want for SDR, but you should really leave it at max for HDR. Also, Xtended Dynamic Range should be set to high for HDR content (and off for SDR). I believe Local dimming on Sony TVs is usually best set to middle for both SDR and HDR.
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Old 10-05-2019, 03:24 PM   #8
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I adjust brightness, contrast, color, backlight, etc. according to how my eyes like it to look. Sharpness on zero of course but I keep my color temperature and HDR on normal. I will say however I keep my 4K player's video setting on dynamic that way I can keep the HDR setting on normal on my TV but everything still looks colorful and not too dark or without it being over saturated. SO basically I use a mixture of settings between the player and TV.
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Old 10-05-2019, 03:53 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nori View Post
Thank you for the replies. So sounds like playing with backlight was the correct thing to do. I have calibrated the set to some extent and I use Cinema pro. I use xtended on medium for hdr, and I switch the dimming feature from low to high just for hdr. I don't use any of those other features like black enhance or contrast enhancer or the motion stuff.

I've never used bias lighting. I'm used to the theatrical experience, being in the dark with no lights around, so to me bias lighting has always seemed like an add on that would detract. I wouldn't mind looking into it, but the ones I've seen were all so garish (especially the color changing ones) and bright that there's no question it would pull me away. Are there are extremely discreet ones that are worth looking into?
When you say youíve calibrated do you mean you used software and a meter or you just eyeballed it? If itís the latter thatís not calibration.

IMO if you need to tweak that much and add a bias light you most likely donít have the display that is right for your viewing environment.
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Old 10-05-2019, 06:47 PM   #10
Nori Nori is offline
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Thank you mikesncc1701 for sharing your settings.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eschenpod View Post
Thank you, I'll look this one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DJR662 View Post
You should not be "playing" with the backlight for HDR content. Set it at whatever value you want for SDR, but you should really leave it at max for HDR. Also, Xtended Dynamic Range should be set to high for HDR content (and off for SDR). I believe Local dimming on Sony TVs is usually best set to middle for both SDR and HDR.
Playing was the wrong word, I meant modifying. Is Xtended at high vs medium only a benefit? No downsides? I find local dimming on low provides next to no downside but from medium and up it will have a visible effect on black credits screens, with the screen lighting up when names appear, this doesn't seem to happen on low.

Last edited by Nori; 10-05-2019 at 07:20 PM.
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Old 10-05-2019, 06:48 PM   #11
Nori Nori is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ROSS.T.G. View Post
When you say you’ve calibrated do you mean you used software and a meter or you just eyeballed it? If it’s the latter that’s not calibration.

IMO if you need to tweak that much and add a bias light you most likely don’t have the display that is right for your viewing environment.
A mix of both. I don't have a colorimeter but I did use test patterns and calibrated the colors by comparing to a previously properly calibrated set running the same content. It's not 100%, but feels pretty close to my eyes.

I'm not sure I need bias light at all, but since it was mentioned to me I'm interested enough to learn about it.

The sdr content on this tv (Sony x900e) is incredibly good, I didn't know lcd's could produce such an image (sdr arguably looks as good if not better than on my plasma Panasonic VT50, which is also still in use).

HDR content looks gorgeous and I'm a big believer in its future, but it's also new to me so I'm not as confident in understanding it. For example this set appears to have around 900 nits give or take, if I reduce backlight due to it being too bright am I using less nits (if I'm using 20 in backlight down from 50 have I reduced the nit value by over half)? If 1000 is considered the ideal standard then on a set that is below that one would have to watch it with max brightness? What if max backlight is overly bright to ones eyes as it is in my case (also taking into account I view the tv in a pitch black room). Does this mean there is no benefit to getting tv's with higher than 1000 nits in the future? There doesn't seem to be a clear standard and it's a little bit confusing.

Last edited by Nori; 10-05-2019 at 06:55 PM.
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Old 10-05-2019, 08:46 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nori View Post
A mix of both. I don't have a colorimeter but I did use test patterns and calibrated the colors by comparing to a previously properly calibrated set running the same content. It's not 100%, but feels pretty close to my eyes.

I'm not sure I need bias light at all, but since it was mentioned to me I'm interested enough to learn about it.

The sdr content on this tv (Sony x900e) is incredibly good, I didn't know lcd's could produce such an image (sdr arguably looks as good if not better than on my plasma Panasonic VT50, which is also still in use).

HDR content looks gorgeous and I'm a big believer in its future, but it's also new to me so I'm not as confident in understanding it. For example this set appears to have around 900 nits give or take, if I reduce backlight due to it being too bright am I using less nits (if I'm using 20 in backlight down from 50 have I reduced the nit value by over half)? If 1000 is considered the ideal standard then on a set that is below that one would have to watch it with max brightness? What if max backlight is overly bright to ones eyes as it is in my case (also taking into account I view the tv in a pitch black room). Does this mean there is no benefit to getting tv's with higher than 1000 nits in the future? There doesn't seem to be a clear standard and it's a little bit confusing.
Backlighting is tricky with HDR. It messes up the tone mapping. There is definitely an advantage to higher nit displays but it doesnít necessarily mean youíll like it. My last 4K LED looked amazing with SDR, the best black levels Iíve seen on an LED besting my old plasma but in HDR the blacks looked washed out because the backlight was maxed out. It just didnít look right to me. Iím also sensitive to clipping and it clearly hard clipped whites. I ultimately returned it and went with something else which Iím much more happier with. Kind of goes back to what I said, if youíre fussing with settings then it might be time to look at other options. In the end, donít get hung up on specs. My OLED only reaches 750 nits but itís the best HDR performer Iíve seen. But some donít like OLEDís. Yours eyes are much more important, trust them over specs.
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Old 10-06-2019, 01:40 AM   #13
Nori Nori is offline
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I’m actually delighted with the hdr on my tv, once the backlight is brought down by some ~60%. At max it was too harsh on my eyes (and yes contrast takes a hit as well). Blacks are still not identical to sdr content at lower backlight levels but it’s substantially closer.

So from my understanding reducing the backlight reduces the nits?

So if the nits value isn’t everything, and one should rely on one’s preferences to establish what is ideal, then everyone might experience the same film viewing differently? Hdr sure sounds complicated compared to previous tv innovations which were more clear cut. That being said in my mind there’s still no question hdr is truly something amazing.

Last edited by Nori; 10-06-2019 at 01:46 AM.
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Old 10-06-2019, 02:09 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nori View Post
Iím actually delighted with the hdr on my tv, once the backlight is brought down by some ~60%. At max it was too harsh on my eyes (and yes contrast takes a hit as well). Blacks are still not identical to sdr content at lower backlight levels but itís substantially closer.

So from my understanding reducing the backlight reduces the nits?

So if the nits value isnít everything, and one should rely on oneís preferences to establish what is ideal, then everyone might experience the same film viewing differently? Hdr sure sounds complicated compared to previous tv innovations which were more clear cut. That being said in my mind thereís still no question hdr is truly something amazing.
Youíve highlighted the best part of the format but also why reviews are meaningless because every manufacturer handles HDR differently. So everyoneís experience will vary.
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Old 10-06-2019, 08:53 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nori View Post
Thank you mikesncc1701 for sharing your settings.



Thank you, I'll look this one.



Playing was the wrong word, I meant modifying. Is Xtended at high vs medium only a benefit? No downsides? I find local dimming on low provides next to no downside but from medium and up it will have a visible effect on black credits screens, with the screen lighting up when names appear, this doesn't seem to happen on low.
Well, in your case it might actually provide more benefits with XDR set to medium I guess, since you find it already too bright. I believe in order for HDR to be displayed "properly", it needs to be set to high though. That would probably also bring about more potential blooming I would assume, but that has got more to do with the limitations of your TV's local dimming system. You can always just try it and see how it looks to you.

I think the general consensus regarding the local dimming setting on Sony TVs has always been the medium setting. In my experience over the years with various Sony TVs, setting it to low has a negative impact on the overall black level. Medium definitely seems to be the way to go if you want the best possible black levels on a Sony set I think. The issue you mentioned with names lightning up on a black screen has always been a typical issue with LCD FALD. How much however, depends on the local dimming algorithm being used and the number of dimming zones. Ofcourse end credits, like black loading screens with a small icon, are kind of torture tests for LCDs. You should play a dark scene and pause it, and then toggling between local dimming set to low and medium. It should make a difference for the black level (and even black bars if it's a scope movie).

Again, I think best thing for you to do would be getting a small bias light.

Btw what setting do you use for contrast?
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Old 10-13-2019, 05:23 PM   #16
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Sorry for the late reply. I have the contrast setting at 90.

There's definitely an improvement between low and medium/high for the blacks levels, so for hdr I tend to use high, I'll try medium out, I wasn't aware that was considered the ideal middle ground. I noticed the dark scenes transition on and off a lot because of the local dimming and these transitions are much softer on low, which is why for sdr I find low optimal (blacks are incredible on sdr content on the x900e). I always thought the blacks being less good on hdr had to do with the brightness being pushed, and although I love the intense colors and contrast between light and dark areas in hdr, the overall brightness was killing it for me, so lowering it to around 20 removes the painful highlights that would cause teary eyes while also giving me much better blacks (still not as good as sdr but close), for now this seems to work best for viewing in a pitch black room without any bias lighting (I'm curious to try this one of these days, but as someone used to the movie theater experience I expect it won't work well with me).
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Old 10-14-2019, 04:52 AM   #17
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I am in agreement with DJR in that backlight and contrast should be maxed out for HDR playback, as this directly affects how the display is tone mapping the incoming signals. SDR is a totally different animal altogether, especially with regard to backlight setting -- as someone here mentioned (may have been DJR, too), SDR can be set to pretty much anywhere you want it, but it should ideally be adjusted according to room lighting (as an example, my Samsung's backlight is set to "11" out of "50" for SDR because I watch in a pitch-black room; with the blooming I'm still getting at this level with DVDs and Blu-rays, I can even drop this lower to be honest).

What you DON'T want to do is regularly view all your SDR material at HDR-like setting levels...in other words, don't crank up the backlight and contrast for viewing SDR content, as this is just going to make HDR look somewhat disappointing when you view it, believe it or not. Of course, if you're in a ridiculously bright room with sun pouring in, go ahead and crank contrast and backlight up even for SDR viewing, but in a dim film-viewing environment, you don't want to do this.

Now, here's something I wanted to ask folks like DJR concerning the whole local dimming thing: I realize, of course, Sony and Samsung are different manufacturers, but my edge-lit Samsung NU8000 exhibits HORRENDOUS blooming, light bleed and flashlighting when viewing HDR-encoded Blu-rays in the dark, turning my letterbox bars grey and lighting them up like Lunar friggin' Park. While I understand WHY this is happening (due to the dumb design of my display), I was wondering if perhaps playing with the LOCAL DIMMING of my panel would help with these elevated blacks...

By default, my Samsung switches local dimming to HIGH for HDR and all reports/reviews tend to say to leave it there -- but if the Sony displays seem to be okay with local dimming at MEDIUM, could I perhaps try dropping my local dimming setting to STANDARD (which is Samsung's "medium" setting)? Would this help with the blooming blacks during HDR playback if I don't want to turn to things such as lowering the backlight?

I'm just wondering if my Samsung would "behave" relative to a Sony with regard to a "medium" local dimming setting with HDR...or is this not the correct way to go about this? Would dropping the local dimming level somehow severely negatively affect the HDR impact?
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Old 10-14-2019, 07:35 AM   #18
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OP should try to see an OLED in a light controlled room to see how bright you really require HDR. Our eyes all differ in terms of sensitivity. Just a fact -- I came from watching on a Sony X940E seeing 100+ movies in only a somewhat light controlled space. Sometimes the light in the room was on (but dimmed) which wasn't my preference but the brightness still shone in those conditions. I don't have a photographic recall but I was wowed by some content even when light was in the room. Stuff with stars and low-light shadow detail was hit and miss.

In my own setup... The transition to white on the LG B8 actually hurts my eyes most times despite what the specs would tell you I never notice a "dimming" of scope ratio w/ fades to and flashing to white. It's almost exclusively pitch dark as possible here and I plan to make it even more so over time and manage reflective surfaces for critical viewing (I suspect this is part of any drawback to the impact). I can keep the OLED light maxed and as it should for HDR the blacks retain inky.

When there are lightning effects in movies it's jarring. In either a good way, or becoming overbearing at times. There is a reason 650 nits is the minimum spec for peak highlight premium HDR certification on OLED. That is plenty of impact as it is, especially if you have eyes like mine you won't miss the 'searing brightness' of 1000+ measured nits that the FALD sets can boast... and so given the black performance, and knowing I covet those inky black bars of OLED? Clear choice for me.
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Old 10-14-2019, 09:34 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IntelliVolume View Post
I am in agreement with DJR in that backlight and contrast should be maxed out for HDR playback, as this directly affects how the display is tone mapping the incoming signals. SDR is a totally different animal altogether, especially with regard to backlight setting -- as someone here mentioned (may have been DJR, too), SDR can be set to pretty much anywhere you want it, but it should ideally be adjusted according to room lighting (as an example, my Samsung's backlight is set to "11" out of "50" for SDR because I watch in a pitch-black room; with the blooming I'm still getting at this level with DVDs and Blu-rays, I can even drop this lower to be honest).

What you DON'T want to do is regularly view all your SDR material at HDR-like setting levels...in other words, don't crank up the backlight and contrast for viewing SDR content, as this is just going to make HDR look somewhat disappointing when you view it, believe it or not. Of course, if you're in a ridiculously bright room with sun pouring in, go ahead and crank contrast and backlight up even for SDR viewing, but in a dim film-viewing environment, you don't want to do this.

Now, here's something I wanted to ask folks like DJR concerning the whole local dimming thing: I realize, of course, Sony and Samsung are different manufacturers, but my edge-lit Samsung NU8000 exhibits HORRENDOUS blooming, light bleed and flashlighting when viewing HDR-encoded Blu-rays in the dark, turning my letterbox bars grey and lighting them up like Lunar friggin' Park. While I understand WHY this is happening (due to the dumb design of my display), I was wondering if perhaps playing with the LOCAL DIMMING of my panel would help with these elevated blacks...

By default, my Samsung switches local dimming to HIGH for HDR and all reports/reviews tend to say to leave it there -- but if the Sony displays seem to be okay with local dimming at MEDIUM, could I perhaps try dropping my local dimming setting to STANDARD (which is Samsung's "medium" setting)? Would this help with the blooming blacks during HDR playback if I don't want to turn to things such as lowering the backlight?

I'm just wondering if my Samsung would "behave" relative to a Sony with regard to a "medium" local dimming setting with HDR...or is this not the correct way to go about this? Would dropping the local dimming level somehow severely negatively affect the HDR impact?
I believe contrast for HDR on Sony LCD TVs should not be set to max either. At least not on the Z9D. Geoff kindly provided the correct contrast setting which tracks the PQ curve accordingly. Maxing out contrast can blow out highlights too.

You could always try changing the local dimming setting on your TV and see what happens. But like you said yourself, Sony and Samsung are different manufacturers so I don't think you can compare them as far as settings go.
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Old 10-14-2019, 07:09 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DJR662 View Post
I believe contrast for HDR on Sony LCD TVs should not be set to max either. At least not on the Z9D. Geoff kindly provided the correct contrast setting which tracks the PQ curve accordingly. Maxing out contrast can blow out highlights too.
This may be; seems like every manufacturer sets contrast to max with HDR by default...unless I'm mistaken?

At any rate, I leave it on max with HDR just because Samsung sets it there; I can eventually fool around with that. My biggest issue seems to be with the black bar/letterbox blooming with HDR sources, which, unfortunately, is coming from my display's stupid edge-lit design.

Quote:
You could always try changing the local dimming setting on your TV and see what happens. But like you said yourself, Sony and Samsung are different manufacturers so I don't think you can compare them as far as settings go.
But what makes "medium" correct on Sony TVs with regard to local dimming (for HDR)? Does this "control" the aggressiveness of the dimming algorithm to some extent? I read in a thread for a Vizio model over on AVS about how that display, too, needs a "medium" LD setting so things don't get bloomed beyond belief...I'm wondering if that philosophy would apply to my Samsung...

Here's what I'm concerned with: I have also read that local dimming behaves differently for SDR and HDR, as with SDR, it's simply controlling the aforementioned "aggressiveness" of the dimming system (thus why it's recommended to leave it on "low" for SDR, at least with Sammys) while with HDR, it's controlling the peak light output...which is why you'd want it on "high."

If there's any truth to this, then high is a MUST for HDR...is going to a medium local dimming setting going to affect HDR highlights ALL that much?
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