The Windows HDR Calibration app will soon be coming to PCs

Ana Marta Carvalho

When viewing HDR content on Windows, whether gaming, creating content or watching a movie, we all want to have a great experience. But, in some cases (particularly on displays without HDR certification), the displayed content is sometimes brighter than the maximum supported brightness of your display or darker than the minimum supported brightness. This causes a “clipping” effect where you won’t see any detail in the highlights or the shadows of a scene.

We know how frustrating this can be, and we heard your feedback and requests to bring the Xbox HDR Game Calibration app to Windows. In a not-so-distant future, you will be able to improve color accuracy and consistency of your HDR display via the upcoming Windows HDR Calibration app.

The app will be available on the Microsoft Store and will run on HDR-capable displays. Just like on Xbox, the Windows HDR Calibration app will feature three test patterns (recommended by the HDR Gaming Interest Group (HGIG) for a better HDR gaming experience):

  • One to determine the darkest visible detail you can see
  • One to determine the brightest visible detail
  • And finally, one to determine how bright your display can be

Certified displays (by any of the certification programs mentioned here) typically work better out of the box without necessarily needing calibration, but you should still consider using the Windows HDR Calibration app on your HDR display.

If you are on the Windows Insiders Dev channel, you may have noticed a new section “HDR display calibration” under System > Display > HDR settings. This is an early access point for the app, but as it is not live yet, it will simply lead you here 😊.

You’ll hear more from us here and on our Twitter account as soon as it becomes live – stay tuned!

5 comments

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  • Kristjan Skutta

    Hi, I wanted to let you know that some of your HDR docs currently state that win32 apps cannot obtain the user white level here: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/win32/direct3darticles/high-dynamic-range#step-1-obtain-the-current-sdr-reference-white-level
    although it is actually possible using DISPLAYCONFIG_DEVICE_INFO_GET_SDR_WHITE_LEVEL: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/win32/api/wingdi/ns-wingdi-displayconfig_sdr_white_level

    This tricked me at first and perhaps other developers would miss it too and not scale their HDR output correctly. I know this is not the ideal place to bring this up, but not sure where else would have been better, thanks!

    • Filippo Tarpini

      Microsoft documentation is on Github so you can literally just click edit on any page and make a pull request. As long as it’s an improvement and it makes sense they should accept it.

  • v00d00m4n

    When this app going to be available? i am tired to wait so many years!

    Also why is Xbox console supports Dolby Vision (which is better HDR format), and why Windows 10-11 does not???

    Please talk with dolby and implement Dolby Vision on system level in WIndows 10 and 11 same way it works on Xbox consoles with indication in Dolby app, PC version of which missing Dolby Vision tab!

    Is it so hard to pay some pennies for Dolby Vision license in every Windows copy? You guys buying Activision for billions and can afford Dolby Vision licensing for Windows!

    Also, there as some games that looks way wose with HDR enabled on system level, or AUTO HDR applied to them, and there are some games that looks better in HDR, so WE REALLY NEED NEW OPTION IN APPLICATION COMPATIBILITY TAB – We need this”

    1) Force SDR – always run this app in SDR mode and disable HDR before launching code of application (in this case even HDR ready games should get a message that HDR not supported and all calls to enable it should be ignored, and we really need it, because many devs does not understand how make HDR right and there are many cases where SDR looks better)
    2) Force HDR – always run this app in HDR mode and enable HDR before launching code of application
    3) Force HDR, force enable Auto HDR – always run this app in HDR mode and force enable AUTO HDR for it
    4) Force HDR, force disable Auto HDR – always run this app in HDR mode and force disable AUTO HDR for it
    Also, in case Dolby VIsion will be added to Windows same settings but with Vision should exist too

    All of above settings means that when application closes – system is switched back to previously used global settings!

    This way we would not need to turn on and off HDR manually for different games and apps, and could just force best HDR mode for each application. There are many games with messed up HDR settings (even some from Microsoft, such as Halo collection which is all dim an ugly in HDR mode enable on system level!), so we need per application compatibility settings to set most correct mode and forget about it!

    Additionally, i propose to add same compatibility settings to application exe manifests, with ability to override it via compatibility tab! So any dev (or end user with advance skill) that had game working right in one mode and not right in another could just put .manifest file nearby exe where same compatibility setting would exist and tell system which mode to force. In this case devs could patch problematic mode without recompilling game, just by releasing manifest that will tell system the best way to run game. and in case users does not like it we always can remove manifest or override it with another or via compat settings. This will be usefull for automation tools to create batches of manifests for many games to fix them.

    And one more thing that is really needed – automatic conversion of HDR screenshots to SDR format using tonemapping! Whenever screenshot is taken in HDR more it should be stored both in HDR compatible image format, and in SDR!

    And Windows Photos app should be upgraded to view HDR screenshots out of box with proper automatic tonemapping when viewed in SDR mode!

  • Samir Sleiman

    Hi,

    When can we expect the Windows HDR Calibration app? We’re now almost two months further.

    Kind regards, Samir

    • Mücahit Simsek

      Als HDR Inhalte Liebhaber würde ich mich auch freuen, wenn wir wissen wann endlich HDR Kalibration Tool erscheint.