Samsung says its new TVs will adapt to ambient lighting

Mike Wheatley

Samsung Electronics says its 2021 TV lineup will be able to display better HDR10+ content thanks to a new feature that’s able to calibrate the picture in response to ambient light.


The HDR10+ Adaptive feature was announced this week and deals with the problem of watching TV in brightly lit rooms. Most living rooms are unable to keep out all of the sunlight during the daytime, and indeed many people desire some level of visibility so they can multitask while watching their favourite movies or shows.

Samsung said its new TVs will be able to calibrate the picture settings when playing HDR10+ content, automatically generating the best possible image on screen according to how much ambient light there is. HDR10+ is Samsung’s favoured High Dynamic Range format, an alternative to the Dolby Vision format that most other TV brands have adopted.

"The HDR10+ Adaptive feature supports dynamic scene-by-scene optimization [...] and can now adjust to any room lighting condition, further enhancing the HDR experience,” Samsung said in a press release. “This feature utilizes the TV’s light sensor and ensures that the screen brings to life the creative intent without any loss of details or contrast."

HDR10+ has a smaller catalogue of supported content than Dolby Vision, but it is available for all 4K HDR titles on Amazon Prime Video.

Samsung said HDR10+ Adaptive will come to its future QLED TVs. It’s safe to assume that it’s talking about its entire 2021 QLED TV range, though we’ll have to wait until next month for confirmation. It didn’t say anything about the feature being made available on its older models. What it did say is that HDR10+ Adaptive will also work with Filmmaker Mode, which is a picture setting that eliminates motion smoothing and other image processing for film buffs who want to watch movies as their creator intended.

Some TVs that support Dolby Vision already enjoy similar functionality thanks to the launch of Dolby Vision IQ on some LG Electronics and Panasonic TVs last year. Dolby Vision IQ works in the same way as HDR10+ Adaptive, using sensors to measure the ambient light in a room so the brightness and contrast can be optimised for those conditions.

The only downside to this news is that it means Samsung isn’t giving up on the HDR10+ format any time soon. Some might have hoped that the company would switch to the more popular Dolby Vision format, but today’s announcement suggests that won’t be happening this year.

It remains to be seen if this technology will be expanded beyond dynamic HDR formats and auto-calibrate the picture settings for any kind content that’s being shown on screen.