Disney+ Hotstar has begun rolling out support for 4K UHD (ultra-high-definition) resolution and HDR (high-dynamic-range) video, with select few Disney+ originals — including the likes of the Star Wars series The Mandalorian and the Willem Dafoe-starrer Togo — now available in 4K and/or HDR. Look for “4K UHD” and “HDR” icons below the title description, as in the picture above, to discover 4K HDR content on Disney+ Hotstar. Gadgets 360 spotted 4K HDR support on Android TV and Apple TV, and we’ve reached out to Disney+ Hotstar for comment on whether 4K HDR will be available on Fire TV and other smart TVs, and HDR will be available on Android and iOS.
4K has been in internal testing at Disney+ Hotstar for a couple of months, with the official Twitter handle saying as much to user queries. It’s unclear if that included HDR as well. Either way, Disney+ Hotstar has expanded 4K HDR beta testing to the wild now. For the geeks amongst you, the only HDR format being supported at the time of writing is HDR10, according to our tests. That said, Disney+ Hotstar will have support for Dolby Vision as well, with Dolby president and CEO Kevin Yeaman saying as much in the company’s quarterly earnings call earlier this week.
Additionally, Disney+ Hotstar is going with a slow rollout for 4K HDR, given not all Disney+ originals are available in upgraded resolution and dynamic range as yet. While Togo is being offered in both 4K and HDR, The Mandalorian is only displaying 4K for now. For what it’s worth, a slow rollout is in line with past practices, including the Disney+ Hotstar app and Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound. Expect the list of 4K HDR titles to grow over time, as was the case with surround sound, support for which has grown to a couple of hundred Disney+ titles — and Android TV — since its initial launch in April.
With the arrival of 4K HDR, Disney+ Hotstar continues its push to become more technologically capable and align itself with the times. But problematically, it’s still massively restricted. Surround sound support has yet to expand beyond Disney+ originals, and you can bet the same will go for 4K HDR support too. More importantly, Disney+ Hotstar has yet to expand surround sound support beyond TV, a frustration given the likes of Netflix offer it on computers too. Netflix also offers HDR on phones and computers, and hopefully, Disney+ Hotstar will strive to do that as well.
For now, this is a good start. Now maybe Disney+ Hotstar can work on 60fps support for live sports.
Can Netflix force Bollywood to reinvent itself? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts or RSS. You can also download the episode or just hit the play button below.