With Xbox One X officially out in the wild, we imagine many of you are eyeing a fancy new 4K television, like the Samsung QLED 4K TV, to grace your living room. And with Black Friday only days away, we thought it might be good to give a quick overview on how to enable 4K and HDR output settings from your Xbox One X and Xbox One S.
Make Sure You Have an Xbox One X or Xbox One S
Yes, this might be a little obvious, but it bears mentioning. While we do have the Xbox One family of devices that allows you to play Xbox One and Xbox 360 games through Backward Compatibility, only the Xbox One X and the Xbox One S have 4K and HDR support. You can find this out by checking the sticker right next to the back of the console near the network port to let you know which console you have.
Make Sure You Have a 4K TV
There are many phrases that constitute having a 4K television: 4K, 4K Ultra HD, UHD, UHD 4K, SUHD TV, Ultra HD, Ultra UDTV, 2160p. If your television has used any of this branding, congratulations! You have a 4K television. That means you can enable resolutions from your Xbox One X and your Xbox One S to 3840 x 2160 at 24 Hz, 50 Hz, or 60 Hz. (Note: Xbox One S can only stream video and play Blu-ray content in 4K; it can’t play games in 4K).
Make Sure Your TV Supports HDR
Your 4K television also needs to support the “HDR10” standard. So, look for messaging like HDR Premium, High Dynamic Range, HDR, UHD Color, Ultra HD Premium, Ultra HD deep color. Those terms let you know that your television supports the HDR10 standard, thus allowing you to display HDR content.
How to Find Out if You’re Set Up Correctly
If you meet the two points above, now it’s time to ensure your Xbox One X and Xbox One S are configured correctly. On your Xbox, check your TV’s 4K and HDR capabilities by pressing the Xbox button to open the guide, go to System -> Settings -> Display & sound, then choose Advanced video settings -> 4K TV details. You should see a series of green checkmarks across the board. If not, let’s try troubleshooting for a bit.
Troubleshooting Your 4K Television
If your system should support 4K and HDR content but it isn’t working (you can’t select the 4K UHD resolution, 4K features aren’t supported in the 4K TV details screen, 4K content won’t play, or you’re seeing video quality problems) try the following per our Support page:
- Make sure the Xbox is automatically detecting your TV. Go to System -> Settings -> Display & sound and choose Auto-detect (4K isn’t available when HDMI or DVI is manually selected)
- For HDR, make sure your TV supports the HDR10 media profile. Check your TV manual to verify. Some manufacturers may not mention HDR10, so look up the terms we called above above
- Make sure your HDMI cable is plugged into the correct port on your TV. For example, on my Samsung, only one of my HDMI ports supports those visual features, so consult your television’s manual to see which of your display ports is configured for this higher resolution profile. Some 4K TVs only support their full set of 4K features on certain ports, so refer to your TV manual to see if there are special 4K HDMI ports, or try the different ports on your TV to see if the green checkmarks are enabled on your console
- Check your TV’s settings menu. Your TV might have a special mode that turns on 4K or HDR. Refer to your TV manual to see if you must change your TV’s settings. Again, your TV manufacturer may use different names for HDR (see the previous list)
- If some content won’t play, make sure your TV supports HDCP 2.2 and that it’s turned on in your TV’s settings
- Make sure you’re using the HDMI cable that came with your Xbox One X or Xbox One S
- Try a different HDMI cable. Your cables must be certified for HDMI High Speed or HDMI Premium
- If a device is plugged in between your TV and Xbox, remove it and plug your TV directly into your Xbox with the HDMI cable that came with the Xbox One X or Xbox One S. Some AV receivers or other video equipment may interfere with the data passed between console and TV. Also, make sure you’re using cables certified for HDMI High Speed or HDMI Premium between both the Xbox and receiver and the receiver and TV if you still wish to do a passthrough setup.
- Always be updating! Make sure your TV and AV receiver firmware is up to date. Sometimes problems are detected after televisions move off of the manufacturing lots and a simple firmware update is all that stands between you and 4K gaming. Many newer televisions have a network device onboard that can make this a pretty easy process, so try updating your TV to see if that may help enable 4K and HDR
- If you’re seeing a blank screen or errors while trying to play 4K content and you’ve tried all previous steps, turn off native 4K playback and try to play the content in a lower resolution. In System –> Settings –> Display & sound –> Advanced video settings, uncheck the option to Allow 4K.
- If you’re seeing strange colors while playing HDR content and you’ve tried all previous steps, turn HDR off. In System -> Settings –> Display & sound –> Advanced video settings, uncheck the option to Allow HDR.
Calibrate for Preference
Once you get up and running with 4K and HDR there are additional ways to tune your television picture to your preference. All Xbox One consoles have a calibration tool to help you tune advanced picture settings including brightness, sharpness, contrast and more. It is available in Settings -> Display & Sound -> Video output -> Calibrate HDTV.
Another fun option to use on Xbox One X is our Insects: An Xbox One X Enhanced Experience demo. Insects is a real-time, interactive demo designed to showcase the best of 4K Ultra HD, High Dynamic Range, Spatial Audio, and the enhanced visuals of Xbox One X. Running this while adjusting the settings mentioned above can also help you find your ideal viewing experience.
How to Enable 4K/HDR on Some Popular Television Brands
Each television set has its own unique settings to navigate to. We’ve included rough instructions here for some of the most popular screens on the market, but we recommend to always check the manual that came with your television for the most accurate settings.
- Settings -> All Settings -> General -> HDMI ULTRA HD Deep Color -> Enable (on desired port)
- Menu -> Setup -> HDMI HDR Setting -> HDMI port (where your Xbox is connected to) -> Change to “On”
- Menu -> Setup -> TV Settings -> Installation -> Preferences -> HDMI mode -> HDMI port (where your Xbox is connected to) -> Switch to “Normal”
- Settings -> Picture -> Expert Settings (or Picture Options) -> HDMI UHD Color -> Turn “On” HDMI UHD Color
- Home -> Settings -> External Inputs -> HDMI signal format -> Change to Enhanced format (the default is Standard)
- SmartCast -> Settings -> Inputs -> HDMI Color Subsampling -> Enable HDR
We hope these tips help enables 4K and HDR content on your console. For all the latest news on Xbox One X and true 4K gaming, be sure to keep it tuned to Xbox Wire.