When Microsoft announced that Auto HDR would make its way to the Xbox Series X and S, many wondered if it would also make an appearance on Windows 10. Today, Microsoft has announced that a test build of Windows 10 (21337) is currently available and incorporates Auto HDR.
To give the preview a test drive, you'll need to be a member of the Windows Insider Program (Dev Channel) to gain access to the Windows 10 21337 build (see also how to get Windows 10 for free or cheap). If you aren't already a member, you can join and access the proper channel here. You'll also need a display that's capable of handling an HDR signal. If you don't have a monitor, you can also try using a 4K TV if you have one of those.
Auto HDR is a technology developed by Microsoft for use with the Xbox Series family of consoles and Windows. It uses artificial intelligence to convert standard dynamic range (SDR) material to a high dynamic range (HDR) image. This is made possible thanks to Microsoft’s use of machine learning., which then trains the Auto-HDR algorithm on what to look for when converting from SDR to HDR.
In the image below, Microsoft has provided examples of an SDR image (left), Auto HDR image (middle), and one in native HDR (right). As we can see by the heatmap, the lighting or luminance isn't as pronounced in the Auto HDR example but does provide the benefit of HDR, without the impact that running a title at native HDR image would produce.
As of now, there's a limited amount of titles that support Auto HDR, but Microsoft says that more PC games, both DirectX 11 and 12, will benefit from Auto HDR. The company says that is working through the process of selecting titles and will announce the selection of games when they become available.
Currently, Auto HDR is a preview/beta build and Microsoft is still working to improve it. If you do enable the preview, you will encounter bugs, and things may not work correctly. So be sure to provide any feedback to Microsoft via its feedback hub app.