ATV 4K 2021 - SDR washed out in forced 4K HDR mode - Other apps unaffected

I’m having a weird problem I’m hoping someone can weigh in on.

Background:

I have an Apple TV 4K 2021 hooked up through a Denon X3700H receiver to a Sony Z9D TV.

I think Sony implemented Dolby Vision poorly on TVs of that generation, using player-led DV. The TV doesn’t have a Dolby Vision Bright / Dolby Vision Dark profile, just one general DV mode.

The result is that DV content looks extremely dark and almost unwatchable, even in a dark room.

There is no way to disable DV on the TV. Leaving the Apple TV in 4K SDR mode with Match Content - Match Dynamic Range enabled, results in DV content forcing the TV into that dark DV mode. DV is not technically enabled on the Apple TV (I see the option in Settings to enable it), but it seems to pass DV content to the TV regardless, triggering its DV mode.

As such, I leave the Apple TV in 4K HDR mode all the time. The menus look washed out but that doesn’t bother me. Playing DV content in this mode results in the TV going into regular HDR mode. This is the only way I’ve figured out to disable playback of DV content and still get HDR.

The Problem:

When playing SDR content using Infuse with the Apple TV in 4K HDR mode, the image looks very washed out, almost like there’s a 20% opacity white filter over everything. Blacks look grey and blacks and dark areas of the image have blotchy artifacts.

Playing HDR content is fine.

Oddly, playing both SDR and HDR content in Plex or any other app looks fine. So it seems like every other app is able to somehow convert SDR content to display properly with the Apple TV forced to HDR mode.

Is there a way to resolve this or can a fix be implemented so that Infuse works correctly as do other apps?

The Apple TV must detect that a DV TV is connected, even if you have it turned on and turns it back on again. Looks like a firmware update in 2018 or so added Dolby vision. Maybe you can downgrade it??

Also look at your denon. Maybe you can turn if enhanced color setting for the hdmi port. Although that could disable HDR , don’t remember. Someone mentioned if you use the secondary hdmi you might lose Dolby vision (and eARC unfortunately).

Thanks for your suggestions.

Indeed DV was added to the Z9D TV with a firmware update. Had I known how poor the implementation would be I wouldn’t have upgraded. Having said that, the firmware updates also resolved other performance issues. There is no way that I know of to downgrade the firmware, and I don’t even think I’d be able to get the old file.

I tried changing HDMI mode from Enhanced to Standard on both the TV and the Denon without change. Is there another colour setting? I tried changing chroma settings on the Apple TV also without change.

I would like to retain HDR, just lose the DV. Can you elaborate on the secondary HDMI port?

Just as a test, you also may want to try connecting the ATV HDMI directly to the TV instead of going through the AVR first. That will ensure that the AVR isn’t throwing it’s own twist into the formula.

Do you know if the Apple TV’s Chroma (in Settings > Video and Audio) is currently set to 4:2:2? If so, you may try switching this to 4:2:0.

With 4:2:2 HDR enabled, the output will be 12-bit (instead of 10-bit) which has led to some reports of issues in the past with certain TVs.

I run the Apple TV with 4:2:2, but have also tried 4:2:0 without any change to the strange behaviour.

Like I said, this seems to be isolated to Infuse.

This issue is currently under investigation.

Hi @james,

Just wondering if there’s an update on this and perhaps an estimate as to when a fix may be implemented.