Google Play Movies & TV in HDR will make your next stream pop with color

If the next movie you stream on Google Play Movies & TV looks brighter and more colorful than you remember, don’t adjust your TV – your selected content is now in HDR.

Google recently unveiled that its streaming service will support films and shows in HDR (High Dynamic Range) starting here in the US and Canada, but perhaps eventually coming to other territories like the UK and Australia as well. 

To watch these select films and shows in the brighter, more colorful format, you’ll need to be watching them via a Google-connected devices that support HDR. This includes TVs with Google Cast built in, including some sets from Vizio, Sony, Toshiba, Philips, and others, as well as Google’s own Chromecast Ultra

To populate its library of HDR titles, Google will be partnering up with two of the largest film studios on the planet: Sony and Warner Bros. Warner Bros. in particular has said it will bring two of its most popular films from the last few years – Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and Mad Max: Fury Road – to the service in HDR at launch. Google says there will only be around a dozen movies available at first, but it expects that number to grow. 

The future for content is bright

Google Play Movies & TV follows in Netflix and Amazon Prime Video’s footsteps, as both services added HDR support starting in 2015. On the hardware side, a number of devices already support the format, including a number of 4K Blu-ray players, streaming video boxes from Roku and both major gaming consoles, the PlayStation 4 family of systems and the Xbox One S and upcoming Xbox One X

The problem thus far for the nascent format has been the slow trickle of content that has yet to yield a significant torrent for thirsty HDR TV owners. Netflix and Amazon have tried to sate that thirst by releasing most of their original content in both 4K Ultra-HD and High Dynamic Range, but it’s taking the more mainstream studios a bit longer to catch on. 

That being said, the more devices and streaming services that support the format will send a clear message to content creators that the world is not only ready for HDR content, but it’s chomping at the bit for it.

Nick Pino

Nick Pino is Managing Editor, TV and AV for TechRadar's sister site, Tom's Guide. Previously, he was the Senior Editor of Home Entertainment at TechRadar, covering TVs, headphones, speakers, video games, VR and streaming devices. He's also written for GamesRadar+, Official Xbox Magazine, PC Gamer and other outlets over the last decade, and he has a degree in computer science he's not using if anyone wants it.