Your HDR TV could also be the true reason for your eye pressure. This is methods to repair it

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

Your HDR TV could possibly be the reason for your eye ache in the event you’re watching it at midnight. 

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Almost all fashionable televisions are appropriate with excessive dynamic vary video. Whereas that doesn’t suggest all of them carry out the identical, many HDR TVs are brighter than their older, non-HDR counterparts, and improvements like mini-LED make them even brighter. A number of the brightest TVs we have reviewed are additionally a number of the greatest TVs, together with the Samsung QN90A, the TCL 6-Collection and the eye-watering Hisense U8G. Their shiny, colourful photos are a marvel to behold. Brighter does not essentially imply higher, however it will probably make the TVs simpler to observe in a shiny room, and it makes the highlights of HDR actually pop. 

Excessive-quality films and TV exhibits are greatest loved in a darkish room, nonetheless, to cut back reflections and assist improve distinction. And with the lights down low, the acute brightness of many of those TVs may cause eye fatigue, and in some instances even irritate your eyes.

There are some things you are able to do about this, however it’s not fairly as easy to repair as you may think.


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What’s HDR and why is brightness an “situation”?

Excessive dynamic vary, or HDR, is the most recent TV tech. It is accessible on PlayStation and Xbox recreation consoles and streaming companies together with Netflix, Disney Plus, Amazon Prime Video and Hulu. Almost TVs and streaming gadgets which have 4K decision additionally deal with HDR. Mid- and higher-end TVs provide considerably extra brightness when watching HDR content material. For instance, the solar or a streetlight will likely be noticeably brighter than the encompassing scene. That is nice, because it makes a picture that basically pops in a practical manner.

Nevertheless, in the event you’re watching TV in a darkish room, which we extremely advocate for any high-quality video expertise, these scorching highlights could seem too shiny, inflicting your eyes to turn out to be sore or scratchy. If you happen to’ve ever stared at your telephone in a darkish room, you have most likely skilled this.

I put “situation” in quotes for this part as a result of the very same factor can occur with non-HDR materials. Any TV that is too shiny in a darkish room may cause eyestrain. Fashionable TVs are a lot brighter than older TVs that even at decrease backlight settings they’ll nonetheless be eye-searingly shiny.


The highlights of HDR content material on HDR TVs are a lot brighter than “regular” normal dynamic vary TVs (Picture for illustrative functions solely. Precise HDR on an HDR TV will likely be bodily brighter).

Dolby/Geoff Morrison

Why your TV may be hurting your eyes

Somebody shining a flashlight in your eyes at night time is annoying, proper? However standing in a room with the lights on is not. Your eye adjusts to the typical quantity of sunshine hitting your retina. A darkish room with a shiny TV remains to be, on common, darkish. So your iris is extensive open. However the elements of your retina getting hit by the sunshine from the TV are overwhelmed. They get fatigued, inflicting the drained, scratchy feeling. 

Generally, the way in which to stop that is decreasing the typical quantity of sunshine hitting your retina. You are able to do this by turning down the general gentle output of the TV, or, counterintuitively, rising the sunshine within the room.

How you can watch TV with out the painful eye pressure 

1. Get a much bigger TV, or sit nearer.

Need an excuse to get a much bigger TV? This is a very good one. 

A small, shiny object in a darkish room confuses your eye. The “common” quantity of sunshine is low, your irises open up, and the intense “pinpoint” of sunshine strains a part of your retinas. A bigger TV, or sitting nearer to your present TV, will fill a larger proportion of your discipline of view. With extra of your eye full of gentle, your irises will contract, so much less gentle total is hitting your retinas. Usually this can imply much less eye fatigue. 

Personally I am a fan of projectors, which create even larger photos and are not as shiny as TVs. Method simpler on the eyes.

2. Flip down the TV’s gentle output.


Adjusting the backlight will help, although not all the time.

Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Although the apparent answer, this is not essentially probably the most very best. Many TVs routinely set their backlights to most to indicate HDR content material. Turning the backlight down (or turning down OLED Mild on an OLED TV), can influence how the TV shows HDR content material. It is potential the picture would possibly look odd. How odd is tough to say — it would depend upon the TV. 

This is not the identical because the Distinction or Brightness controls. These controls sometimes don’t have anything to do with how shiny a TV is. 

Learn extra: Need higher TV? Change these 9 TV image settings at this time (you may thank us later)

Most HDR-capable TVs can have a number of HDR presets. These may be apparent within the image settings menu, and they may not be. These could possibly be labeled, for instance, Dolby Imaginative and prescient Shiny and Dolby Imaginative and prescient Reference, or HDR Shiny and HDR Regular. In these instances, Shiny could be designed for brighter rooms, whereas Reference/Regular is best for darkish rooms.

Your TV may not have these modes, or the decrease setting would possibly nonetheless be too shiny. In that case, there are different fixes.

3. Add a strategically positioned lamp.

Turning a light-weight on is an alternative choice, however in fact, this may create reflections (or worse, be a distraction in your eyeline). Once more, you could not care about both of those two drawbacks, however I am hoping that will help you discover probably the most good answer on your setup.

Superb lamp placement is someplace not in your eyeline to the TV, and never someplace it causes a mirrored image. This may need to be someplace out of the atypical, like behind a settee.

Dimmable recessed ceiling lights would possibly work too, however in fact, it relies upon in the event that they trigger reflections on the TV. A TV mount you may transfer or pivot would possibly assist with reflections, too.

The purpose is, including extra gentle to the room raises the “common” quantity of sunshine within the room, making your irises shut a bit, letting much less gentle in, and doubtlessly inflicting much less eye fatigue.

4. Add a bias gentle.


A bias gentle, like this laptop computer proven above, is a neutral-white gentle that brightens up the room somewhat. 

Taylor Martin/CNET

One step additional than a lamp is a bias gentle. These neutral-white lights add a bit of sunshine to the room, they do not negatively influence the picture on the TV, and so they scale back eye pressure.

The colour is necessary as a result of no matter shade the lights are, that shade is “subtracted” by your mind from the colour you see on display screen. So when you’ve got a blue gentle behind the TV, the TV will look purple. The proper shade for bias lights is a impartial white; as near the D6500 shade temperature normal as potential.

Backside line

This is not a brand new situation. TVs have lengthy been far brighter than needed for the typical room. HDR does doubtlessly make the issue worse, since they’re, on the entire, a lot brighter than older, “SDR” TVs. If you happen to expertise eyestrain with HDR or different materials, hopefully our fixes will help.

Word (9/2021): This text was first revealed in 2017 however has been up to date with new hyperlinks and data.

In addition to protecting TV and different show tech, Geoff does photograph excursions of cool museums and areas around the globe, together with nuclear submarineslarge plane carriersmedieval castlesairplane graveyards and extra. 

You may observe his exploits on Instagram and his journey video sequence on YouTube. He additionally wrote a bestselling sci-fi novel about city-sized submarines, together with a sequel

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