HDR gaming has been hotly anticipated (at least by me) since new of the Xbox One S broke but only recently did the first HDR games start hitting the market. One of the first, Forza Horizon 3 Ultimate, made for the perfect HDR gaming test subject and I have to say it was very enjoyable.
Before we get too far let me breakdown my HDR gaming setup and settings to give you a better idea of how I tested FH3 and so that you can get setup yourself if you have a similar TV.
For this review I hooked the Xbox One S up to my Samsung KS8000 which supports HDR10 (if you didn’t know there are a couple HDR formats but the Xbox One S requires a TV with HDR10 to play/show HDR content).
The Xbox One S does a good job auto-detecting the capabilities of the TV you’re connecting it to. You can check to see if your setup is good to go and if you have the proper settings in place by checkin the taking a peek at picture output and then advanced under settings on your Xbox. If things look good you’ll see nothing but green check marks lettings you know you’re connected to a TV that supports HDR and 4K.
On the TV side of things I went with the recommended settings from RTINGS.com: the special viewing mode was set to Game Mode, the backlight to max, the Smart LED to High and the Color Space to Native. The one thing that gave me some trouble while trying to hook the KS8000 up to the Xbox One S for HDR gaming was not realizing that I needed to set the HDMI UHD Color to enabled for the specific HDMI port I was using in the advanced picture settings menu. One I got that switched on everything worked beautifully.
And yes, the Samsung KS8000 absolutely runs games in HDR while in Game Mode — you don’t have to have it set to HDR+.
Once you’ve got everything setup right you’ll see a dialog box the first time you launch FH3 asking you to adjust the HDR brightness by moving a slider until the white Forza logo just disappears. You’ll also see a notification (on this particular TV) letting you know an HDR video is playing when the FH3 intro starts up.
Now the whole point ...