Where and how to watch HDR content on the Note 7
As movie streaming junkies will remember only too well, when 4K video first became a thing, in the beginning it was a mess. It was a mess because even though we finally had the hardware (i.e. the TVs) hit the sweet spot in terms of pricing, content that was actually high resolution enough to do your new buy justice was scarce. And even when, later on, it wasn't that scarce, you needed official streaming support from the likes of Netflix, Amazon, and Vudu. They eventually got there, but then it became a question of "How the heck do I easily discover 4K titles?".
Today, much the same is true of HDR content. And so here I'll try and give you a few tips on how to get around finding the stuff on these popular streaming platforms. And in case you're wondering why we're even discussing HDR on a smartphone site, that's because of the Note 7—its the first device on the planet to hit the minimum requirements for an HDR10-compliant display.
Which streaming services support HDR?
Netflix and Amazon Video (Prime membership, US-only) both have HDR-compliant titles, almost exclusively mastered in 4K. At this time, Vudu appears to be exclusively invested in Dolby Vision titles, which is similar to HDR, but incompatible. So if you've pre-ordered the Note 7 and are itching to test out this great new tech, you're probably wondering about the next step once the phone is in your hands.
As this is an official partnership, it should be assumed that Amazon Video recognizes the Note 7 as an HDR-compliant device and stream the appropriate content hassle-free.
That said, there's still no way to search for titles specifically mastered for HDR, though compatible TVs in the US see a special carousels labeled "Included with Prime Ultra-HD TV" or "Ultra-HD Movies". At this time, I can't confirm if these appear on the mobile version, but I'll make sure to update with more info on this one.
Otherwise, here's a list of titles that Amazon has confirmed are available for you to enjoy in HDR:
TV (full seasons):
- Bosch Seasons 1 and 2
- Mad Dogs Season 1
- Man in the High Castle Season 1
- Mozart in the Jungle Seasons 1 and 2
- Red Oaks Season 1
- Transparent Seasons 1 and 2
TV (pilot episodes):
- Good Girls Revolt
- One Mississippi
- The Interestings
- The Last Tycoon
- Z: The Beginning of Everything
- Coral Reef Adventure
- The Living Sea
- Van Gogh: A Brush with Genius
Available to buy (movies):
- After Earth
- Amazing Spider-Man 2
- Elvis and Nixon
- Men in Black III
- Pineapple Express
- Smurfs 2
To enjoy HDR content on Netflix, a standard subscription plan won't do. Instead, you need to have the 4-screen subscription set up, otherwise you won't be able to stream that kind of content, even if it is available. If you've been watching 4K UHD content until now, that means you've got it already, so nothing to worry about.
So how do you find content that is HDR ready? At this time, there doesn't seem to be a special category that will automatically compile a list of all HDR titles, which is obviously not ideal. A blanket search for "HDR" works, however, and there's already a list of titles circulating the web. Another way to tell if a title is HDR-compatible is to watch for the little badge that says HDR.
- A Series of Unfortunate Events
- Chef’s Table
- Knights of Sidonia
- Marco Polo
- Marvel’s Daredevil
- Marvel’s Iron Fist
- Marvel’s Jessica Jones
- Marvel’s Luke Cage
- Marvel’s The Defenders
- The Do-Over
- The Ridiculous Six
Obviously, expect this list to be expanded upon even as you're reading this.
Important note: The Galaxy Note 7 is not listed as an officially supported title on Netflix's Q&A site for HDR, meaning you might not be able to stream HDR content to it yet. I've reached out to Samsung for clarification and a potential ETA.
As the world's leading video platform, it's no surprise that YouTube has jumped onto the HDR bandwagon. Indeed, not only can you now watch 4K UHD video on the site, but it now also supports HDR-mastered content. Obviously, no shows or movies are available on YouTube in HDR at this point, and this is likely to remain the case save for a few and far between indie projects. That said, you can still enjoy HDR clips, if only for the kick of it—just search for "HDR" and enjoy.
Third-party, download-only websites
For years, rather obscure, third-party websites have served as hubs for the latest big thing in video content. These usually upload extremely high bit rate, source videos, typically courtesy of TV manufacturers. A few movie trailers (in HDR in this case) can also usually be found.
A few examples include:
You can usually find other, more obscure demo videos in HDR on various A/V forums.
In the future
Like 4K UHD content, HDR is here to stay. We're still in the early stages of its deployment, but the trend is for content to become more and more readily available, and across the distributor spectrum (i.e. streaming serves such as Netflix).
On another note, now that you should know what HDR video is, and where to get it, it's about time we get cracking on an actual, real-world comparison to establish whether this new Note 7 feature actually delivers on its promise. Stay tuned as I try and figure this one out in terms of how to best present the differences in my upcoming piece on the topic.