HDR looking washed out in Windows 10

Hey y’all, as you can see from the title of the topic, I’m having an issue with HDR on Windows only. (Looks great on PS5 no issues whatsoever.)

With the HDR setting enabled in Windows, HDR mode looks way worse than SDR other than being brighter. It looks like there’s a gray sheet of paper over it killing all the contrast between the colors.

Thing is for a while it worked 100% and it looked great on desktop and in games, and I had that “washed out” issue a couple times a week before, but a quick reboot would fix it usually.

But for now, it’s hard stuck that way no matter what. After some reasearch, I’m clearly not the only one with this issue with windows HDR. But still wondering if some had a similar issue or know a fix with windows for a situation like this.


Yeah I have seen this same issue on my LG display. HDR compatibility across monitors is patchy at best. I find HDR looks terrible compared to SDR in every single input mode apart from My Mac Mini M1 which displays it correctly. Would like to know if there are some additional ways that HDR can be calibrated in Windows though. Hope you find the answer.

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Hopefully windows 11 will be better for this, but it’s annoying since the monitor relies on windows to enable HDR. SDR still looks very good on this tbh, but I would like to enjoy all the features out of this lol

i tried hdr in division 2 and its pretty good. i tried hdr in destiny 2 and had issues and couldn’t adjust the brightness in the games settings due to step 1 unable to calibrate but step 2 i could calibrate it. With windows 11 auto hdr and the eve spectrum is going to support hdr tone mapping in a future firmware update. Hdr will def. be more enjoyable by then.

Hey, @Samper

What video card are you using on Windows 10?

Reason I ask is that on Windows 11, using HDMI certified 2.1 cable from my GTX 970 (Yes, I know it’s not certified for anything above 4K@60Hz - the cable is for my future graphics card) to the Spectrum I have here, on Windows 11, I first go into the nVidia Control Panel and change the resolution to use nVidia settings, using Highest (32 bit / 8 bpc (max my card can actually handle) / RGB / Full to get rid of the washy feeling, and then use Windows 11’s Auto HDR setting and everything I look at on the Spectrum just looks amazing. Both in regular use as well as in gaming.

Obviously if you’re not using an nVidia card, the nVCpl settings won’t matter to you. But if you are, maybe give this a shot. Also, make sure you have the newest nVidia driver from yesterday.

If you’re using an Radeon card, hopefully someone else can step up if extra settings / manipulation is required.


Hi! I have a RTX 3080 and tried fidelling with those settings too but without luck, same thing for me except 10bit instead of 8. And still the same washy looks when HDR is on, the new driver didn’t change much too sadly.

To me I think the solution is a clean reinstall of windows, but of course it’s not ideal. Might just wait for windows 11 to come in a month and see how it operates from there instead.

Hi @Samper,

We are planning on investigating this behavior from the firmware side. Would you please provide us the following information to help us get started?

When this behavior is observed:

  1. Which port is 3080 plugged into and what cable is used?
  2. A screenshot of Nvidia control panel → Display → Change resolution → 3. Apply the following settings.
  3. Images of Input/Output, Picture, and Performance menus of the OSD.
  4. The name of games and programs in which HDR is washed out.
  5. An image illustration of the washed-out HDR.

Hi, thanks for taking your time to answer me.

  1. HDMI port and using this HDMI 2.1 cable https://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B08JYMXKFF/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

2.2021-09-09 10_54_39-NVIDIA Control Panel


  1. Basically everything, wether it’s my desktop background, youtube videos, any games etc… Works just fine on PS5 like I said tho! And worked for a while on PC too.

  2. I would love to but everything I try to show, it ends up looking the same, my phone pics readjust color and saturation so much it’s not representative even after disabling auto-HDR or other calibration settings. Also tried a couple of screenshot techniques but it still doesn’t represent the issue well. To me, it looks like the contrast is turned down and the colors are less vibrant and deep. A bit like an old TN panel.

I’ll try to do a clean install of windows this weekend.

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Thank you for getting back to me!

The desktop background itself is expected to become less vibrant because it is not displaying HDR content while being mapped to HDR (thus less color). About YouTube videos, which browser are you using? If it’s not Edge, would you please try playing HDR YouTube videos in Edge and see if it makes a difference? Please note that if the video is not labeled HDR in the YouTube quality settings, it is in SDR and will have the same behavior as the desktop background.

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This HDR one here and I’m already using edge. MAGIC FLUIDS HDR // 4K MACRO COLORS // HDR VISUALS // FLUID ART // - YouTube

As for the windows experiences, any idea why it was behaving that way? Cause I’m more then certain the colors were more vibrant, same for games that didn’t have HDR feature implementted like Elder scrolls Online still looked good now it’s a washed out mess if I leave it on and i don’t like how some scenes are not bright enough in SDR.

Plus it’s not my wallpaper only, the theme color of my windows taskbar and notifications is red and still is washed out compared to SDR.


Here the same behavior regarding the taskbar and notification has been confirmed. We will investigate whether it is a Spectrum-specific behavior or a typical Windows HDR occurrence.

Cool! We’ve got the proper direction to work with, and I appreciate the insight you have provided!


My setup. I have DCI-p3. Contrast 45, sharpness 30. Gamma 2.4 with firmware update 102R875. GPU Rtx3070 OC Nvidia control panel for color output I have Ycbcr444 with dynamic range limited. Things look fine on my end for sdr and HDR. Division 2 looks good in hdr. Destiny 2 I ran into a calibration bug in in game brightness settings with hdr. Cant calibrate the first step but second calibration step I can calibrate which is weird. Windows 11 is right around the corner which HDR will be much improved on.


Image 2 is hdr off which looks clean. However image 1 HDR on with stream HDR also enabled video content do looked a bit washed out with everything at standard setting in windows hdr.(my phone camera is old so both images may look very similar but there is a slight washed out look with hdr on)I had to go into the hdr brighness settings in windows display and turned down the brightness to reduce the washed out glare look. @Lore_Wonder @Samper. I do believe hdr tone mapping and with windows 11 auto HDR will help fix this.


Send the video link to your PS Account and watch the video over your PS5. If its the same there (because you said it’s fine on the PS5) then we know that your „issue“ is caused by the lack of appropriate HDR hardware like 99% of all Pc Monitors with a „HDR“ badge. If its not the same then we could conclude that there are some Windows issues in the background (which there are independently from your issue)

Right now, without the comparison, i can tell you that the washed out pic (-> inaccurate picture) is caused by the fact that HDR is turned On, cause that’s exactly what will happen for 99% of the Pc Monitors with HDR.
Roughly said, they are just ramping up the brightness and bright effects end up overly brightened and dark shadows etc. get crushed. Look at the top of the picture in your video, you can see that the Monitor tries to highlight the little white dots but because it lacks appropriate hardware, the black areas around the white dots are brightened too.

But again, lets wait for the comparison and see

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i tried the hdr on xbox one x. Movie Great wall instead of black In some scenes i see a bit of greyness which its suppose to be black. The music video pic above is also a little washed out playing on the xbox one x. Its not as bad as on my pc. On reddit others are experiencing similar hdr issue In windows.
my pc hardware is rtx 3080 OC, z390-a asus, intle i9 9900k cpu. windows i have windows 10 home x64.

@Samper i talked to a friend who is a hdr nerd. he says the washed out look is due to that the content you are looking at doesnt support hdr its a standard sdr content. For example the music video i posted. its a 4k sdr video. when i turn hdr on and watch it again it looks a bit washed out.

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I’ve run a few tests playing HDR content on various devices. On the Xbox Series X, it looks great. On Mac, if you turn in HDR, it looks worse than in SDR. In Windows, it’s a very subtle change in the brightness of the whites and the color contrast. It’s probably a problem with the dimming zones and the Spectrum kinda fakes HDR, as most monitors do. I hope some improvements can be made via a firmware update.

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Eve adding HDR tone mapping in a future update and windows 11 improved HDR should do the trick for HDR improvements.

Small update: Did a full reinstall from the 21H1 (the latest windows installation available). And the issue is still present, so it could very well be something that appeared from that update.

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@Lore_Wonder Hi! I got something for you that might help pin this issue down

Hardware unboxed recently highlighted something very familiar with the Samsung G9 and this is exactly what’s happening to me. This might be worth a watch for your team.

There’s also comparison in the video that shows exactly how it looks for me.


Very sad to inform that the issue isn’t fixed on Windows 11 and that auto-hdr can’t be used unless it’s on.

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