PS5 Is Reportedly Unable to Correctly Reproduce SDR Content, Which Results in Black Crush Issues

PlayStation 5 PS5

If you're among those few million gamers that managed to snatch a PS5 console so far, you'll probably have noticed by now that Sony's latest gaming system outputs by default everything in a High Dynamic Range (HDR) container, Standard Dynamic Range (SDR) content included.

However, it appears that even if you turn off HDR in order to properly play older titles that do not support HDR displays, the SDR reproduction is off. Alexander Battaglia from Digital Foundry explained this in a couple of tweets today.

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PS5 is actually not displaying Original SDR content correctly - unfortunately. Does it with Backward Compatibility titles for sure. Could lead to black crush or other changes in reproducing the game's colour or tone.

It is not as dramatic as the limited vs full issue shown in the quoted tweet - but if you capture SDR on a PlayStation 4 Pro and compare it to SDR on PS5 of that same game there are differences which can be negative.

His colleague John Linneman agreed, later adding that all of the game captures made by Digital Foundry in SDR have problems with 'black crush' compared to other platforms.

Yeah, it’s been a real issue for us. That said, in this case, it’s likely a full/limited RGB issue as PS5 typically crushes darker shades rather than increase the black floor.

[...] the PS5 does not properly display SDR. If we capture the same game from all PS4s and Xbox systems using the same settings, blacks are crushed on PS5 in SDR. I’m convinced SDR output is broken. SDR in HDR container is better here.

SDR just doesn't seem to be quite right - all of our captures from PS5 in SDR are slightly crushed compared to all other machines...but if your display does a poor job with HDR it might still look better in SDR.

Hopefully, Sony can produce a fix for this outstanding PS5 issue. While HDR content is the future, there's no reason why reproducing old SDR content should be a problem for the console.

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