Why Your HDR Looks Washed Out & How to Fix It

Discover why your HDR looks washed out and learn practical solutions to fix it. Elevate your display quality with our expert tips on converting HDR to SDR and fixing compatibility issues using the best professional tool.

The primary purpose of Windows High Dynamic Range (HDR) is to enhance visual quality by providing more detailed color textures and a richer look. However, many users find that enabling HDR produces washed-out colors, producing the opposite effect. Despite having an HDR-compatible monitor and display port, HDR content on Windows 10 might still look faded. Today, we will delve into the common issues of computer screen discoloration, exploring the causes of why your HDR seems washed out and offering practical solutions. 


Why Does Windows 10 HDR Look Washed Out?


High Dynamic Range (HDR) enhances the contrast between brightness and darkness in images and videos. Compared to Standard Dynamic Range (SDR), HDR supports a broader color spectrum (P3), while SDR handles only sRGB. SDR typically spans a brightness range of 1 to 100 nits, while HDR encompasses a wider spectrum, ranging from under one nit to over 1000 nits. Even with this, it's important to note that HDR content isn't universally brighter than SDR content. Windows HDR can appear washed out after enabling it on your PC, making your screen look unclear. Several factors might cause this issue:


  • Incorrect HDR settings configuration: HDR settings, including color bit depth and color saturation, can affect the visual quality of the content on your screen.


  • Transitioning from SDR to HDR: Switching from SDR to HDR can impact performance because SDR is often overly saturated.


  • HDR display requirements: Enabling HDR on a monitor incompatible with the display mode can degrade performance and cause washed-out colors.


The causes of this problem can vary between PCs. However, you can fix the washed-out HDR colors by adjusting some settings on your PC, as described below.


 Windows 10 HDR Look Washed Out


Ways To Fix Washed Out HDR Colors in Windows


If you're experiencing a blurry or distorted monitor after upgrading to HDR, explore the various troubleshoots listed below to find the one that best suits your needs.


Method 1: Upgrade Your Display for HDR Compatibility


Display for HDR Compatibility


Achieving vibrant HDR colors on Windows 10 requires meeting specific monitor, HDMI, and display port requirements. Here's what you need to consider:


  1. Your built-in display should boast a resolution of 1080p or higher and a recommended maximum brightness of 300 nits or more.


  1. External displays or TVs must support HDR10 and be equipped with DisplayPort 1.4 or HDMI 2.0 or higher. For optimal performance, opt for displays certified with DisplayHDR.


  1. Ensure your Windows 10 device has an integrated graphics card supporting PlayReady hardware digital rights management for protected HDR content. Additionally, it should have the necessary codecs installed for 10-bit video decoding. For HDR video players, check out this topic.

Method 2: Fix Color Filters


If you're experiencing washed-out monitor colors, try turning off the color filters. Here's how to do it on Windows 10 and Windows 11:


For Windows 10:


1. Open the Settings window by typing "Settings" in the search bar.


2. Navigate to "Ease of Access" and select "Color filters."


3. Disable the color filter under "Use color filters."


For Windows 11:


1. Open the Settings window by typing "Settings" in the search bar.


2. Go to "Accessibility" and select "Color filters."


Accessibility" and select "Color filters."


3. Disable the Color filters and check if they resolve the screen discoloration.


Method 3: Ensure HDR is Activated


If your PC and display support HDR, make sure it's enabled on your Windows 10 system by following these steps:


1. Open the Start menu, then go to Settings > System > Display.


2. Click on Windows HD Color settings.


3. Check under Display capabilities to ensure it reads "Yes" next to Use HDR.


Ensure HDR is Activated


4. Toggle the Use HDR option to turn it on.


If HDR still isn't functioning after enabling it, follow this additional step: 


5. Under Battery options, uncheck the "Don't allow HDR games and apps on battery" box. This ensures HDR remains active even when your computer is unplugged and running on battery power.


Method 4: Updating Graphics Drivers


An outdated display adapter driver can cause washed-out colors on your monitor. Updating the graphics driver can resolve bugs and provide the latest features to enhance performance. Here's how to update your driver:


1. Use the Windows + R shortcut to open the Run dialog box, then type `devmgmt.msc` and press OK to access Device Manager.


Updating Graphics Drivers


2. Expand the Display Adapters section, right-click on your display driver, and choose Update driver.


3. Select Search automatically for drivers.


4. Reboot your PC and verify if the HDR content still appears washed out.


Method 5: Fine-Tune HDR Brightness on Windows 10


If you're experiencing HDR washed-out problems, it might be due to improper brightness settings. Follow these steps to adjust it:


1. Access "Windows HD Color settings" within the Display settings.


2. Navigate to "HDR/SDR brightness balance" and adjust the slider to achieve the desired brightness balance between HDR and SDR content.


"HDR/SDR brightness balance


Method 6: Turn Off HDR


If your desktop monitor doesn't support HDR, it's best to turn off the default HDR mode in Windows 11. Enabling HDR on a monitor that is ill-equipped to handle it can result in washed-out colors. Here's how you can disable HDR:


Method 7: Enhance Your Display with a Custom Color Profile


Resolving HDR, faded issues can be achieved by installing a color profile tailored to your monitor. Follow these steps to install it:


1. Click the Start menu. Doing this will help you access Settings to select the necessary option.


2. Type "color profile" in the search box and press Enter.


3. Click on Color Management.


4. Select your monitor from the drop-down box next to the "Device" label.


5. Click "Add," then browse to select the downloaded file.


6. Highlight the new color profile by clicking and selecting "Set as Default Profile" before closing the Color Management panel.


Enhance Your Display with a Custom Color Profile


Method 8: Acquire Supplementary Updates


Occasionally, resolving issues with a blurry or distorted monitor can be as simple as updating your Windows system. Here's a step-by-step guide:


1. Open the search bar and type "Settings," then click to open.


2. Navigate to "Windows Update" and select "Advanced options."


3. Choose "Optional updates" and proceed to install any updates that are prompted.


After completing the updates, restart your computer and assess whether the screen discoloration issue has been resolved.


Method 9: Fine-Tune Desktop Color Settings


If you cannot locate your monitor's color profile, you can manually adjust brightness and gamma settings. Depending on your GPU, follow these steps to access desktop color settings:


For Nvidia:


1. Right-click on your desktop and open the NVIDIA Control Panel.


2. In the left sidebar, navigate to the Display section and select Change Resolution.


Fine-Tune Desktop Color Settings


3. Set the Output color depth to 10 BPC (bits per color).


4. Adjust the Output Dynamic Range to Full and click Apply.


For AMD Radeon:


1. Select AMD Radeon Settings by right-clicking on your desktop.


2. Set the color depth to 10 BPC in the Display tab.


3. Go to Preferences, select Radeon Additional Settings, and change the Pixel Format to RGB 


4: 4:4 Pixel Format PC Standard (Full RGB).


4. Exit the AMD Radeon Settings window.




Using a color depth of 10 BPC will yield a richer and more detailed color representation than 8 BPC.


Method 10: Turn Off the Night Light


While the night light feature can alleviate eye strain during low-light usage, it may compromise color accuracy. To turn off the night light, follow these steps:


1. Use the Windows key + I shortcut to open the Settings window.


2. Navigate to "System" and select "Display."


3. Toggle off the Night light option.


Method 11: Additional Settings to Verify for Correct Configuration


In addition to the methods above, ensure the following settings are configured correctly to prevent HDR content from appearing washed out:


  1. Set the output color format to RGB, as it's the standard used by most monitors internally.


  1. Adjust the RGB dynamic range to full to ensure your monitor receives the complete range of colors (0-255). If colors aren't displayed correctly, revert to the limited dynamic range.


  1. Always set the output color depth to the highest available setting.


Additional Settings to Verify for Correct Configuration


  1. Calibration for enhanced accuracy. This ensures your monitor performs optimally.


Method 12: Alter the color calibration


Adjusting color calibration settings on your PC can significantly enhance your viewing experience. Many users overlook this feature, but it can be beneficial if your monitor appears washed out. Here's how you can customize your color calibration:


1. Open the search bar and type "calibrate display color," then hit Enter.


2. Follow the prompts to proceed.


3. Carefully read and follow the on-screen instructions, utilizing the slider to adjust gamma.


4. Fine-tune brightness and contrast to your liking to complete the process.


Remember that Windows may revert to its previous calibration settings after a restart, so setting your calibrated display as the default is essential. Here's how:


1. Open the search bar, type "color management," then hit Enter.


2. Select your calibrated display profile.


3. Click "Set as Default Profile" to ensure your calibration settings remain in place.


Method 13: Use a New Cable


Outdated or damaged cables can lead to screen discoloration by affecting the signal quality between your computer and monitor. Try replacing the old cable with a new one to ensure a stable and high-quality connection.


HDR users enjoy images with enhanced details, superior clarity, and sharpness. On the other hand, SDR users have decent image quality but lack HDR's color richness and detail. However, if HDR visuals appear washed out on your system, converting HDR to SDR might be necessary. Consider using a professional tool like UniFab Video Converter Pro to do this effectively. Let's learn how.


Convert HDR To SDR Using UniFab Video Converter If HDR Isn't Displaying Correctly 


Want to convert HDR videos download to various formats and resolutions without compromising quality? Look no further than UniFab. This all-in-one solution handles video conversion, editing, and production seamlessly. 

Compatible with over 1000 formats, including MKV, MP4, MPG, and Avi, it ensures you can play the videos across all your devices. Moreover, UniFab efficiently compresses videos to meet size requirements for platforms like YouTube and Facebook while preserving original quality, even with high-definition audio and video formats. Tailored for users who value speed and user-friendly functionality, this robust software is your ultimate video solution. Besides, when it comes to SDR to HDR, UniFab HDR Upscaelr AI also has you coverd.


Video Converter Pro_特性4.png


Reasons Behind Popularity Of UniFab Video Converter Pro Among Video Enthusiasts


  • Quickly convert GIFs to videos for easy sharing on platforms like Instagram.
  • Reduce video file sizes while preserving original quality, even for high-definition formats like TrueHD and DTS, which are ideal for social media or other purposes.
  • Make your videos playable on various devices by selecting from various supported formats.
  • Convert videos to GIFs rapidly with zero quality loss and support for various formats.
  • Experience blazing-fast conversion speeds using advanced GPU hardware acceleration technologies.
  • Trim videos effortlessly by removing unwanted sections from the beginning, end, or any part of the video.
  • Easily convert videos between over 1000 formats to ensure compatibility with any device or platform.
  • Enhance video quality by effectively sharpening or stabilizing videos with intuitive controls.
  • Fine-tune video and audio settings such as Codec, Frame/Bit/Sample Rate, Resolution, Encoding Method, Channels, and Subtitles to meet your preferences.
  • Convert, compress, or edit multiple videos simultaneously with automatic processing, saving time and effort.


How to Use UniFab Video Converter Pro For HDR to SDR Conversion


Step 1: Get the UniFab Program


Download and open the UniFab Video Converter from its interface.


Step 2: Import the Video and Choose a Format




Load your video file and select the desired output format for conversion.




Step 3: Adjust Video Settings


Modify the video resolution, codec, frame rate, and other output parameters to your preference.




Step 4: Start the Conversion Process


Press the Start button. Doing this will start converting the HDR video to the SDR standard.




Encountering a washed-out desktop after upgrading to a new monitor and enabling HDR can be frustrating. If your Windows 10 or 11 screen lacks vibrancy, it may be due to hardware malfunctions or software glitches. This issue can disrupt workflows, especially for content creators using graphic and image editing software like Photoshop or Lightroom. Many users have successfully resolved this by adjusting HDR settings in Windows, display, and in-app settings. You can also tweak color calibration, turn off the Night light, remove HDR, or download optional updates. The solution varies based on personal preference and monitor quality. Adjusting HDR settings may seem complex, but with the right tools, like UniFab Video Converter Pro, you can enhance your display's appearance without constant toggling.




How can I resolve color fading on my monitor?


To tackle color fading, start by verifying your display settings. Adjust brightness and color calibration settings to restore vibrancy. 


What causes my monitor to lack vibrancy?


Various factors could be at play when your computer screen appears washed out in Windows 10 and 11. Outdated drivers, hardware malfunctions, or software glitches might be the culprits. Explore the solutions provided here to address and rectify the issue.


What causes my monitor to appear cloudy?


Cloudiness on your monitor can stem from different sources. Common culprits often include incorrect display settings or mismatched color calibration. Outdated or incompatible graphics drivers may also contribute. Additionally, unnecessary visual effects or filters might be affecting display clarity.

As an avid enthusiast of software testing, AI, and tech, I bring a fervent zeal for precision and innovation to my editorials. With a love for ping pong and badminton, and a passion for exploring new horizons through travel, I live by the maxim "Done is good." My articles aim to serve as your trusty compass in the fast-evolving tech landscape.