The Auto HDR feature that Xbox Series X users have been enjoying since the console launched in November Coming to Windows PC GamesThis gives a boost to high dynamic range lighting and color for around 1,000 games.
HDR offers deeper contrast, richer color luminance, and a wider range of colors for an image. You will of course need an HDR capable monitor to take advantage of this. There are already natively rendered HDR games for the PC. Auto HDR updates the graphics of games that are controlled in the standard dynamic range with DirectX 11 or DirectX 12.
Auto HDR for PC is currently a preview feature available in the Windows Insider Program (Join the program here if you don’t have access). When the tutorial is complete, PC gamers with an HDR equipped monitor will be able to access the feature with a switch on the Windows HD Color Settings page.
Hannah Fisher, Microsoft program manager, notes in the announcement that an auto HDR image isn’t as detailed as games with native HDR, but it’s a “vastly improved experience over regular SDR,” Fisher writes. This “Luminance Heatmap” gives an impression of the differences in contrast and color range between SDR, Auto HDR and native HDR:
Currently, Auto HDR also has a “development and evaluation only” feature that enables a split-screen mode that displays both original content, SDR-rendered content and the Auto HDR image side by side. Fisher says the trick is “only for advanced users” but offers instructions on how to do it in her blog post.