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LG breaks HDR Game Mode on their TVs in latest firmware update

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HDR is a pretty awesome feature when it comes to a TV. It adds high contrast to the picture and tweaks various settings to allow for a more realistic experience when looking at images. HDR is slowly becoming a big thing in gaming as more games support it and the visual experience is looking better and better. I myself own a 55-inch LG 4K HDR Premium TV and always enjoy it when a game comes along that supports HDR on the PS4 Pro, as it looks truly superb. 

Well, that is about to change as today my 4K TV (Model 55UH617) finally got its HDR Game update. This update was one of the most anticipated ones I have been waiting for as it would finally eliminate input lag while using HDR on the TV. Up to now, if a game turns HDR on, the latency increases. It is not much, but it was still not ideal in a normal gaming environment. 

While the new HDR Game mode was welcome, it, in turn, killed HDR for gaming completely on the TV as LG has tweaked the mode to offer an extremely dark visual setting. This new HDR Game Mode is so dark that I cannot even see the display when the mode is turned on during the day. I did some research and it seems that I am not the only person with this problem. Since update 05.30.01 for G6 models (05.30.02 for C6 models), this has been a common issue users have been complaining about. Forbes also touched on this issue a while back. 

Exploring more into this issue it dawned on me that LG basically states that this darker picture for the HDR Game Mode is “intended” to enhance the gaming picture. On the LG site, they gave a statement and a workaround if you want it to be lighter. 

“Regarding HDR Game mode and darkness – a recent firmware update is based on changes to the gradation and saturation settings for HDR Game Mode, to ensure a better picture quality in HDR game mode. To implement this, the gradation was enhanced and the saturation was reduced. In the previous version of HDR Game Mode, the picture settings were similar to the Standard Mode settings, offering brighter images. Compared to previous picture settings the picture may look darker, but in fact, the new PQ setting brings improvements in terms of HDR gaming experience. For users who prefer a brighter image, they can adjust the Dynamic Contrast setting of Game Mode.”

So in essence, LG are happy with their new darker HDR modes which are not very pretty trust me, and to make it worse, they plan on releasing this new darker image mode across all HDR TV models and even all HDR modes, which means that if you are not a gamer then you will soon have this issue too. 

There is a workaround, however, if you are not happy with this and it means turning up Dynamic Contrast to “high” and if you want, which I did, turn up the brightness from 54 to around 60. Still, this new update is not ideal at all. I love the new standby 4K wallpapers, and the HDR Game mode brings no input lag, but the HDR itself is way too dark and is not easy on the eyes. If you are really not happy about it, then feel free to sign the petition to get them to change it back. Deon Smit who first emailed me about this issue a while back is responsible for trying to create some exposure on this. He also created the petition.

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