Your HDR TV may be the real cause of your eye strain. Here’s how to fix it

Your HDR Tv set could be the result in of your eye soreness if you’re

Your HDR Tv set could be the result in of your eye soreness if you’re watching it in the dim. 


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Virtually all modern day televisions are suitable with superior dynamic selection video clip. Although that won’t mean they all carry out the very same, many HDR TVs are brighter than their older, non-HDR counterparts, and improvements like mini-LED make them even brighter. Some of the brightest TVs we have reviewed are also some of the ideal TVs, which include the Samsung QN90A, the TCL 6-Sequence and the eye-watering Hisense U8G. Their brilliant, vibrant photos are a ponder to behold. Brighter won’t necessarily signify greater, but it can make the TVs less complicated to enjoy in a shiny room, and it makes the highlights of HDR really pop. 

Higher-excellent videos and Television set reveals are finest loved in a dark space, on the other hand, to lower reflections and support improve distinction. And with the lights down very low, the extreme brightness of quite a few of these TVs can bring about eye exhaustion, and in some conditions even irritate your eyes.

There are a couple of items you can do about this, but it can be not quite as basic to resolve as you may well envision.

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What is HDR and why is brightness an “problem”?

Significant dynamic vary, or HDR, is the newest Tv set tech. It is really readily available on PlayStation and Xbox game consoles and streaming companies including Netflix, Disney As well as, Amazon Primary Movie and Hulu. Approximately TVs and streaming gadgets that have 4K resolution also tackle HDR. Mid- and better-finish TVs present drastically more brightness when viewing HDR information. For example, the sunlight or a streetlight will be noticeably brighter than the encompassing scene. This is terrific, as it helps make an image that definitely pops in a real looking way.

Even so, if you happen to be observing Tv in a dark place, which we really endorse for any high-excellent online video experience, these scorching highlights may well seem too dazzling, causing your eyes to grow to be sore or scratchy. If you have ever stared at your mobile phone in a dim place, you have possibly expert this.

I set “issue” in quotations for this area due to the fact the actual very same factor can come about with non-HDR material. Any Television that is far too dazzling in a dark space can bring about eyestrain. Contemporary TVs are so substantially brighter than older TVs that even at lessen backlight options they can continue to be eye-searingly dazzling.

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The highlights of HDR information on HDR TVs are significantly brighter than “usual” conventional dynamic assortment TVs (Graphic for illustrative reasons only. Actual HDR on an HDR Tv will be bodily brighter).


Dolby/Geoff Morrison

Why your Tv may be hurting your eyes

Another person shining a flashlight in your eyes at night time is annoying, appropriate? But standing in a area with the lights on is just not. Your eye adjusts to the common volume of light hitting your retina. A dim room with a dazzling Tv set is still, on typical, darkish. So your iris is large open. But the parts of your retina getting hit by the light from the Television set are overcome. They get fatigued, causing the fatigued, scratchy experience. 

In general, the way to avert this is lowering the normal volume of light-weight hitting your retina. You can do this by turning down the overall light output of the Tv set, or, counterintuitively, raising the light in the room.

How to watch Television set with out the agonizing eye strain 

1. Get a more substantial Tv set, or sit nearer.

Want an excuse to get a bigger Tv set? Here is a good one particular. 

A tiny, bright item in a dim home confuses your eye. The “normal” total of light is lower, your irises open up, and the vivid “pinpoint” of gentle strains element of your retinas. A bigger Tv set, or sitting down closer to your existing Television, will fill a larger share of your field of check out. With a lot more of your eye stuffed with light-weight, your irises will contract, so considerably less mild all round is hitting your retinas. Normally this will signify considerably less eye tiredness. 

Personally I am a supporter of projectors, which generate even more substantial illustrations or photos and aren’t as bright as TVs. Way less difficult on the eyes.

2. Turn down the TV’s mild output.

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Changing the backlight can aid, even though not usually.


Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Although the evident remedy, this just isn’t necessarily the most excellent. Many TVs instantly established their backlights to optimum to exhibit HDR content material. Turning the backlight down (or turning down OLED Mild on an OLED Tv), can affect how the Television shows HDR content. It really is probable the impression may possibly appear odd. How odd is tough to say — it will depend on the Television. 

This is just not the similar as the Contrast or Brightness controls. These controls typically have almost nothing to do with how dazzling a Television set is. 

Browse extra: Want greater Tv? Improve these 9 Tv image settings currently (you’ll thank us later on)

Most HDR-able TVs will have numerous HDR presets. These could possibly be evident in the image settings menu, and they may possibly not be. These could be labeled, for instance, Dolby Vision Vibrant and Dolby Eyesight Reference, or HDR Dazzling and HDR Normal. In these situations, Brilliant would be intended for brighter rooms, when Reference/Typical is far better for darkish rooms.

Your Tv set may well not have these modes, or the lessen placing may however be far too brilliant. If so, there are other fixes.

3. Insert a strategically put lamp.

Turning a gentle on is a further alternative, but of training course, this can build reflections (or worse, be a distraction in your eyeline). Once more, you may perhaps not treatment about either of these two negatives, but I’m hoping to assist you uncover the most best answer for your setup.

Ideal lamp placement is somewhere not in your eyeline to the Tv set, and not someplace it will cause a reflection. This may well have to be somewhere out of the regular, like behind a couch.

Dimmable recessed ceiling lights could perform way too, but of training course, it is dependent if they result in reflections on the Television set. A Television mount you can go or pivot could possibly assist with reflections, way too.

The issue is, adding more mild to the place raises the “common” amount of light-weight in the place, building your irises near a little bit, permitting a lot less gentle in, and most likely creating fewer eye tiredness.

4. Incorporate a bias gentle.

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A bias light-weight, like this laptop proven previously mentioned, is a neutral-white gentle that brightens up the room a very little. 


Taylor Martin/CNET

A person move further than a lamp is a bias gentle. These neutral-white lights include a little bit of light to the space, they you should not negatively influence the picture on the Television, and they cut down eye pressure.

The coloration is critical since whichever color the lights are, that coloration is “subtracted” by your mind from the colour you see on screen. So if you have a blue light driving the Television, the Tv will glance red. The suitable color for bias lights is a neutral white as near to the D6500 color temperature typical as doable.

Base line

This is just not a new concern. TVs have very long been significantly brighter than essential for the average area. HDR does perhaps make the problem even worse, considering that they are, on the complete, considerably brighter than more mature, “SDR” TVs. If you practical experience eyestrain with HDR or other product, ideally our fixes can aid.

Be aware (9/2021): This report was very first posted in 2017 but has been updated with new links and info.


As perfectly as covering Tv and other display tech, Geoff does picture excursions of cool museums and spots all around the entire world, including nuclear submarines, massive plane carriers, medieval castles, airplane graveyards and additional. 

You can abide by his exploits on Instagram and his travel video clip collection on YouTube. He also wrote a bestselling sci-fi novel about town-sized submarines, together with a sequel