Google Chrome for Android will soon join YouTube, Netflix, and Google Play Movies on the list of apps that can support HDR (High-Dynamic-Range imaging) playback. The new information comes from two recent updates that were recently spotted on Chromium Gerrit.
The first of these commit demonstrates that the Chrome app will be able to take the VP9 HDR metadata from the video container and pass it to MediaCodec. As for the second, it says it will be able to set color space and HDR metadata in android.media.MediaFormat. In other words, it will be played back if the device supports it.
This means that while the app itself is capable of HDR playback, it will only do so on HDR-capable devices. Also, users will have to look out for videos with the HDR tag which are also in short supply at the moment. At least with Chrome for Android, users will be able to scour the entire internet for these videos.
For those looking for HDR-capable devices, Samsung's flagship devices – the Galaxy Note 8, Galaxy S8, and Galaxy S8 Plus – currently have the feature as does Sony Xperia XZ1, and Sony Xperia XZ Premium. The LG G6 and LG V30 are also on the list of HDR-capable devices, a list which is expected to grow as more manufacturers incorporate the feature in their future devices.
HDR amplifies the color and contrasts significantly compared to standard dynamic range. This offers a more realistic picture similar to those experienced through the human eye. But while the range of devices capable of using the feature, the amount of content remains low.
4K also took a while to become mainstream but now it is slowly becoming the new standard for some industries, particularly in video games. Hopefully, more HDR content becomes available to consumers as the capability to play it is virtually useless if the content doesn't exist itself.