Google's Chrome Android App To Receive HDR Video Support

Google's Chrome app for Android devices will soon receive support for playing HDR videos, as suggested by two commits recently uncovered in the Chromium Gerrit repository. The commits describe a technique of bringing HDR metadata from a video container to the MediaCodec class, revealing that Google is unsurprisingly relying on a 10-bit VP9 Profile 2 codec. As is always the case with HDR support, this particular feature will only be available on select devices with hardware and software capable of delivering an image with a high dynamic range, though the number of such offerings is now growing on a steady basis. On the software side of things, operating system versions as old as Android 7.0 Nougat come with native HDR support, so long as device manufacturers and app developers opt to utilize it.

It's still unclear when Google may start testing HDR support on the Chrome Canary channel, though the wait shouldn't be too long and the experimental functionality may start hitting select devices by early 2018. The Alphabet-owned company has recently been placing a larger focus on bringing HDR support to as many of its services as possible, having recently debuted it in the YouTube Android app. Over the course of the last year, YouTube's HDR support has been extensively tested but still doesn't appear to be live on a global level and its availability remains somewhat inconsistent. The feature itself should noticeably improve one's video viewing experience, especially when it comes to content that would otherwise push the peak brightness capabilities of a regular display to their maximum. On supported devices, RGB pixel channels also have 1,024 levels of brightness compared to 256, thus being able to reproduce a more accurately lit image.

Google has yet to provide an official announcement of Chrome's HDR support on Android but may do so shortly, especially if the functionality ends up in beta over the coming weeks. In the long term, HDR promises to raise the bar in terms of mobile image quality but its full effects likely won't be felt for several more years until content creators fully embrace the standard and high mobile network speeds become available to more users around the world.

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Dominik Bosnjak

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Dominik started at AndroidHeadlines in 2016 and is the Head Editor of the site today. He’s approaching his first full decade in the media industry, with his background being primarily in technology, gaming, and entertainment. These days, his focus is more on the political side of the tech game, as well as data privacy issues, with him looking at both of those through the prism of Android. Contact him at [email protected]
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