VESA has released updated specifications for its DisplayHDR 1.2 certification standard. According to the company, it was developed to raise the bar for display quality and puts forward additional requirements for contrast, color gamut and color accuracy that apply to all levels of the standard, including the basic DisplayHDR 400.

It is noted that this is the largest update to the standard since its launch in 2017. It does not add new levels, but instead focuses on strengthening the requirements in all current levels: the update “raises the bar” by requiring a higher level of performance and testing for displays to be certified.

In general, the requirements for panel resolution, color gamut, and white accuracy will increase, plus new tests will be added: for example, static contrast, color accuracy in HDR, and preservation of details in almost black areas of the image (the so-called black crush).

The biggest changes will be made to the basic DisplayHDR 400 level: it will require a minimum 8-bit FRC panel and extended color gamut of at least 90% DCI-P3 (99% sRGB) – version 1.1 required only 95% sRGB, and DCI-P3 was not taken into account at all.

Also, the requirement for a minimum static contrast has been added, which was not present before: for DisplayHDR 400, it cannot be lower than 1300:1. In general, the basic level has been brought up to the requirements of HDR10 and in some respects it now corresponds to the previous version of the higher levels.

As for the DisplayHDR 500-1000 levels, they also have stricter requirements for color coverage – up to 95% DCI-P3 (previously it was the standard for the top level 1400). The maximum brightness remains unchanged, but the contrast must be at least 7000:1 for DisplayHDR 500, 8000:1 for DisplayHDR 600, and as much as 30,000:1 for DisplayHDR 1000.

Among the purely technical changes, many tests (for example, for static contrast) will use a “starry sky” instead of the traditional black field, which will make them more difficult for displays with localized dimming.

The white point accuracy will now be measured over the entire brightness range – from 1 cd/m² to 100% (previously – from 5 cd/m² to 50%), and the requirements for its actual accuracy are also increased by one and a half times.

In addition, DisplayHDR 1.2 adds HDR color accuracy tests based on X-Rite’s tests developed for their ColorChecker SV package.

Here, VESA uses its own variant of the ΔE-ITP method, which the company calls Delta-TP (unlike the original, it does not take into account the luminance component). It’s worth noting that the requirements here are quite lenient, and any display with basic calibration will meet them without any problems, but it’s still better than nothing.

Another new test is comparing black levels in HDR and SDR. Some displays raise the black level in SDR content displayed in HDR mode, which degrades the image quality, and this test will control the correct operation of the monitor in such a situation.

Another very important test is the low-brightness detail test (the so-called black crush test). It checks whether details in very dark areas of the image disappear, turning into a completely black background.

And the last test is for subtitle flicker. It looks a bit unexpected, but in fact, some displays with local dimming have problems with the constant brightness of white text on a dynamic background. The test assumes a maximum difference in brightness of 13% for DisplayHDR 400/500/600 and 10% for DisplayHDR 1000/1400 and all OLED True Black variants.

VESA notes that it will allow manufacturers to certify monitors to the old DisplayHDR 1.1 standard by the end of May 2025 and laptops by May 2026 so that they can release products currently under development with the characteristics originally announced.