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The Sony PlayStation 5 is unable to display SDR content correctly

The PS5 does not display colours correctly when SDR is disabled, as shown on the right side of this composite image. (Image source: Tim Rogers)
The PS5 does not display colours correctly when SDR is disabled, as shown on the right side of this composite image. (Image source: Tim Rogers)
The Sony PlayStation 5 outputs all content in HDR by default, even if games or videos do not support a higher dynamic range. There are some situations where one may want to disable HDR though, but it turns out that Sony's latest console struggles with displaying the correct colours when set to SDR.
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Digital Foundry's Alexander Battaglia and John Linneman have made a notable discovery regarding the PlayStation 5 and the console's ability to display standard dynamic range (SDR) content. Apparently, Sony's latest console has a severe problem when it comes to rendering SDR content. For some reason, the PS5 renders dark content more brightly than it should be, as the images below show. While Tim Rogers took photos of Demon's Souls on an OLED TV, the image in which SDR has been enabled looks like an LCD has been used, instead.

According to Linneman, the PS5 uses a reduced colour space when operating at SDR, which may partly explain why the console cannot display colours correctly compared with when outputting in HDR. The PS5 uses HDR by default, and even goes so far as to enable HDR for content that does not support high-dynamic range. Hence, most people should not face this issue.

However, Digital Foundry points out that one may want to use SDR when recording content via the HDMI port because some platforms cannot playback HDR content. Hopefully, Sony can address this via a software update, if the problem lies with the colour space that the PS5 uses when in SDR mode. The company is yet to comment on the matter yet, though.

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Demon's Souls with HDR enabled and with SDR enabled, from left to right. (Image source: Tim Rogers)
Demon's Souls with HDR enabled and with SDR enabled, from left to right. (Image source: Tim Rogers)

Source(s)

@dark1x & @Dachsjaeger via Wccftech, @108 - Image credit

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Alex Alderson
Alex Alderson - Senior Tech Writer - 4304 articles published on Notebookcheck since 2018
Prior to writing and translating for Notebookcheck, I worked for various companies including Apple and Neowin. I have a BA in International History and Politics from the University of Leeds, which I have since converted to a Law Degree. Happy to chat on Twitter or Notebookchat.
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2021 03 > The Sony PlayStation 5 is unable to display SDR content correctly
Alex Alderson, 2021-03-30 (Update: 2021-03-30)