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Is the iPad Pro Able to Play YouTube Videos in HDR?

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HDR is the next big thing in videos and movies and is looking to improve the overall experience of any content through better images, reflections and shadows. However, HDR is not compatible with all the devices and require a set of hardware and software specifications to be used successfully.

So you want to play HDR content right on your new 2021 iPad Pro, and you’re not sure if it can do so. Well, you’re at the right place as today we’ll be looking at if the iPad Pro supports HDR content and how can you play HDR-ready videos straight off of YouTube.

[ Read: How to Download YouTube to iPad & iPhone for Offline Viewing ]

What is HDR?

HDR or High Dynamic Range is a video standard that is one of the most significant feature for HD and higher resolution videos. It pushes video quality past the limitations to which we have been limited to. The resolution was probably the most crucial factor in making a screen, and colour and light science were ignored most of the time. So, it’s impressive to see a radical shift in HDR and how it can allow better quality videos and pictures to exist and be made to improve the overall experience.

HDR provides information about brightness and colour across a much more comprehensive range. HDR-capable displays such as the new mini LED panel on the new 2021 iPad Pro can read that extra information and display an image built from a wider colour gamut and brightness levels. This means that the ‘brighter’ and  ‘darker’ areas on the screen can be displayed accurately as it does in real life only if the display supports it. To put it simply, HDR-enabled content on HDR-compatible displays can get brighter, darker, show more shades of grey and produce vivid colours while improving the overall image quality. You can see the difference in the comparison screenshot above, and the highlights are much more vibrant with clear reflections. The shadows remain preserved with great dark blacks for a much better image overall.

Can the iPad Pro play HDR content?

Let us quickly get the most basic question out of the way first. Yes, the new iPad Pro is capable of playing HDR-ready content as it comes with a 1000+ nit mini LED screen which a fancy way to say that it does, in fact, support HDR content. The highlights look fantastic, and the shadows also feel excellent with the high contrast and true blacks of the mini LED panel. However, getting this to work correctly can feel like a chore and may need you to get some stuff sorted out.

As the HDR support is inbuilt in the hardware, there’s no on or off switch in the software settings, and HDR is always activated. So you just need to follow the three requirements when playing content that includes 4K, HDR, Dolby Vision, or Dolby Atmos.

Your device capability, which we know the iPad Pro is. Secondly, the content must be created with these features encoded and made with HDR-ready cameras. Finally, you must use an app or video player that supports rendering the HDR content. You’ll generally see what content is encoded for HDR, and a quick example is the Apple TV app that can play HDR content in its library if the media supports it.

In Short, here’s what you need to get started:

  • HDR Videos with a high resolution that you purchased or rented
  • A capable device that can run the HDR videos – iPad Pro (in our case)
  • The latest versions iPadOS, macOS
  • A fast Internet connection enough to stream the HDR content.

Note: Not all iPads can display HDR, and you would need to have a device with a minimum of A12 Bionic chip to run HDR content. So, if you meet all these requirements, you can play all the highest resolution HDR content without any hassle.

How can you stream HDR content straight from YouTube?

Getting HDR content streamed straight off of YouTube is easy. First, you just need to be sure if the content you’re watching is available in HDR, and you can do this by streaming the video and tapping on the menu button for selecting the resolution and HDR content.

As you can see from the screenshot above, a Reddit user Poonsukln has the latest YouTube app and iPadOS update, and they can see the full 4K HDR support. However, there are still people with a capable device and don’t have full HDR support. You can find the original thread linked here.

YouTube has also mellowed out the video quality and preference settings and gives users a choice to choose among the following:

Auto – The Auto mode uses the speed of your internet connection to set a recommended video quality for the video you’re watching. However, in our testing, it just set the quality too low and is not helpful.

Higher Picture quality – This mode allows your iPads to get up to a resolution of 1440p which is perfect if you want to get some decent video quality on your device.

Data Saver – The data saver mode helps you save data by dialling the resolution and can be helpful if you need to conserve your data plan for travelling or something else.

Advanced – Finally, the advanced option allows you to set the preferred resolution for a video manually. It is the most helpful for watching higher resolution content such as HDR, and 4K enabled videos.

Note: These settings will only help you set the resolution for the video you’re watching, but if you want all your videos to be streamed in a specific resolution, you can go to the YouTube settings page and universally set a resolution and quality. This will ensure all your YouTube videos play at the set rate from the get-go.

So, go ahead and check if you got the support by watching an HDR capable and ready video on YouTube. However, if you don’t yet have the support built-in, we have another solution handy and here’s a classic Sony 4K HDR video to test your iPad Pro out.

SYC2 – Get 4K HDR Content without Streaming

Softorino YouTube Converter 2 (SYC 2) is a Mac and Desktop app that can help you watch HDR YouTube videos on your iPad without any streaming issues and compatibility errors. You can download and convert HDR-ready YouTube videos and from other platforms. However, remember that HDR will only be available in HDR-ready videos uploaded on YouTube. So how do you get started? Well, follow the steps below, and you’ll get started in no time.

  • Firstly, download and install SYC2 on your Mac or Windows PC and connect your iPad with a data cable or wirelessly through Wifi
  • Now, run the application and enter the link to the YouTube video in the search section.
  • Let the searching complete and select the resolution as 2160p 4K.
  • Now, select your device as iPad and start downloading by clicking on the ‘Convert and Transfer to iPad’ button.
  • Let the download and transfer be completed, and go into the Videos app on your iPad to find the file ready to be watched.

That’s all. You’re ready to download and watch all the HDR-ready content straight from YouTube to your iPad.

FAQs

Does iPad Pro support YouTube HDR?

iPadOS 14 and the upcoming iPadOS 15 update is right on cue in bringing YouTube 4K HDR to most iPads, including the iPad Pro lineup. YouTube is also getting continuous updates that are carrying support for the different iOS/iPadOS devices. So, Yes, your iPad Pro will support Youtube HDR.

Does the new 2021 iPad Pro support HDR?

Yes, the new 2021 iPad Pro supports HDR and can deliver some seriously sharp and beautiful videos. In addition, the new mini LED display can get up to 1600 nits which is compatible with all HDR-ready content on the internet.

How do I turn on HDR on my iPad pro?

There is no internal setting in the software to turn on HDR on your iPad Pro, and the HDR functionality is already on with all applications and video streaming services. However, you would need to play an HDR certified video to get the full HDR experience.

Is iPad Pro 2018 HDR?

Yes, Apple announced the 2018 iPad Pro as HDR-ready, but in all honesty, it is still limited with some caveats from the hardware and software requirements. However, you can still get a decent HDR experience with most videos, but if the content is made with HDR+ standards, you need to upgrade to the new 2021 iPad Pro to get the full experience.

How do I enable 4K on YouTube?

You can enable 4K on YouTube by playing a video and then clicking on the menu button to select the 4K resolution. However, suppose a video doesn’t support 4K. In that case, you won’t be able to set it at the resolution. You would also need a capable internet connection to stream the entire content without buffering for a great overall watching experience.

Final Words

Apple’s implementation of 4K HDR videos on YouTube isn’t perfect, and the lack of flexibility in what you can stream is not a great experience. But HDR on the new iPad Pro and older devices shows promise with the upcoming updates and is looking to get some real improvements to the overall watching experience.

However, if you still can’t watch HDR content, then use SYC2 to download and watch HDR-ready videos from your desktop or Mac straight to your iPad and have a great time enjoying high res content as it is made to be watched.

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