VESA Amps Up PC and Laptop HDR Display Performance With Updated DisplayHDR Specification


The Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA) announced that it has published a major update to its widely adopted High-Performance Monitor and Display Compliance Test Specification (DisplayHDR), which launched the display industry’s first fully open standard specifying high dynamic range (HDR) quality. The updated spec, DisplayHDR version 1.2, includes tighter performance requirements, including for luminance, color gamut and bit depth, as well as several new test requirements for color accuracy, contrast ratio, black levels and subtitle flicker, to address recent advances in display technology.

Companies can begin certifying products under the new DisplayHDR 1.2 spec today. In addition, VESA says it will continue to allow products to be certified under the previous DisplayHDR 1.1 spec through the end of May 2025 for monitors, and May 2026 for laptops, to allow for products already in development that have been designed to meet the previous spec. To date, more than 3000 display models have been certified to the DisplayHDR standard.

First introduced in 2017, the VESA says the DisplayHDR CTS has undergone several revisions to include higher-performance tiers, new display technologies and substantially tighter specifications. Among the updates with DisplayHDR version 1.2 are significantly tighter color gamut requirements for improved color accuracy. These include adding a DCI-P3 color gamut requirement for the DisplayHDR 400 tier, while also increasing the DCI-P3 requirement for the 500, 600 and 1000 tiers to bring them to parity with the 1400 tier. DisplayHDR 1.2 also synchronizes the color bit-depth requirement of the 400 tier with all performance levels to require a minimum of 8 bit + 2 bit dithering using frame rate control (FRC).

In addition, VESA says the DisplayHDR v1.2 improves the white luminance level testing by changing it from a 10% center patch on a black background to an 8% center square test with a non-black background. This change provides testing when the entire screen is lit under more realistic conditions; for example, with an HDR video playing in one window while typical SDR-style screen content is displayed on the remainder of the screen. VESA also tightened the requirements for the luminance and white-point accuracy tests, as well as expanded the luminance testing to include a broader testing range, from 1 cd/m2 to nearly 100% of the logo tier level.

In addition to improving and expanding several tests, VESA added several entirely new performance tests to DisplayHDR v1.2. These include:

  • New comprehensive color accuracy test that measures the average Delta-TP* of 96 different colors at each of three different luminance levels, testing the HDR color accuracy for a range of representative color tones. With this new test, the updated spec only permits a Delta-TP error of 8 on the 400, 500 and 600 tier levels, and an even tighter Delta-TP error of six on the 1000 tier level and above.
  • New static contrast ratio tests that drive higher contrast ratio display hardware specification requirements at all levels, requiring 2D local dimming at DisplayHDR tiers 1000 and higher.
  • New HDR vs SDR black-level test to help ensure premium black-level performance in HDR mode while reducing power consumption and improving battery life (e.g., in laptop displays)
  • New black crush test to measure the accuracy of multiple black luminance levels to ensure displays have tremendous shadow detail for photo or video creation or consumption.
  • New subtitle luminance flicker test to help ensure ideal local dimming behavior when luminance levels adjust rapidly, such as when subtitles instantly appear and disappear on an otherwise dark movie scene.