Microsoft tests the Xbox's Auto HDR feature on PCs

It promises to bring HDR tone mapping to more than 1,000 Windows 10 games.

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Windows 10 HDR
Windows 10 HDR Steve Dent/Engadget

Microsoft is bringing over the Auto HDR feature from its Xbox Series X and Series S consoles to PC, reports Windows Central. With Build 21337 and above of Windows 10, PC players can try out the feature to add enhanced tone mapping to more than 1,000 DirectX 11 and 12 games that weren't mastered to support HDR in the first place. According to Microsoft, Auto HDR will intelligently add color and brightness information to your games, as long as you have a compatible monitor.

Gears 5 heatmap

You can see how the feature works in the comparison above. Microsoft uses greyscale to show the parts of the image that a non-HDR display can successfully replicate. The native HDR presentation of Gears 5 has the most detail in its shadows and highlights, but even the Auto HDR presentation has significantly more information than its SDR counterpart.

As long as you're a Windows Insider, you can enable the feature by making your way to the Windows HD Color Settings page. It will be interesting to see how this affects the HDR landscape on PCs. The format is notoriously messy on Windows 10. What's more, not all HDR-capable monitors are made equally. The Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA) has six different tiers to its DisplayHDR certification. With their emphasis on high refresh rates, most gaming monitors fall into one of the lower categories if they qualify at all. That's made it difficult to enjoy the technology in the way that you can on consoles and TVs.

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