PS5 not playing 4K HDR properly? Here are 7 Things You Can Try

The PS5 has arrived, and it is a beautiful, if large-sized, machine. The PS5’s birth was not as simple as many people expected.

With such a powerful and advanced machine, there were likely to be some bugs and crashes at first. The same is happening with the Xbox Series X. The technical problems with the PS5 are more than just a few crashes, as was the case with the PS4 Pro. Many users are having trouble getting high-dynamic range images in 4K resolution onto their TVs or projectors. This is even with relatively low 60Hz frame rates.

As I discussed in the previous article, some users have reported that they cannot play 4K HDR on the PS5 as they only get HD (1080p HDR). The PS5’s Video Output Information screen suggests that 4K HDR playback at 60Hz should not be impossible.

Some cases, particularly for those using soundbars or AVRs from 2018, may experience inability to play 4K HDR simultaneously. This is due to a PS5 “bug”/limitation that Sony will most likely have to fix. You don’t need to read too much about 4K HDR PS5 problems (I’ve also heard reports of white dots over 4K HDR PS5 photos) to realize that many, if not all of these issues can be fixed by PS5 owners.

This in mind, I have compiled all possible DIY solutions to the PS5’s 4K HDR problems. These are listed in order of my likelihood that each will make a difference.

These procedures will not solve every case of 4K HDR, as I have already stated. It’s worth looking at each possible solution below to determine if you are unable to enjoy 4K HDR on the PS5 when your kit should.



1. Make sure that your display’s or audio device’s PS5 USB port is set up to Enhanced mode.

This seems to be the best way to solve 4K HDR problems for PS5 owners.

It is quite absurd that equipment capable of passing or playing through 4K HDR video streams can only do this if the HDMI port to which the PS5 is connected has been set to its enhanced mode. This allows the HDMI to transmit the additional data required for 4K HDR feeds.

Modern devices support auto switching of HDMIs. This means you don’t have to call in the enhanced mode manually. However, at one point all 4K HDR devices had to manually make the HDMI Enhanced switch. There is usually no prompt on screen to remind you to do it.

If you have a 4K HDR TV or projector, or an AV receiver that supports 4K HDR passthrough (or both), go into the connection menus and search for an enhanced mode option for the port your PS5 is attached to. Once you have found it, turn it on.

Keep in mind, however, that different brands may use different terms to describe their HDMI Enhanced mode. Also, pay attention to connection feature names like Deep Color and HDMI UHD Color.

It can be difficult to switch HDMI ports from Enhanced to AV receivers. Here’s how to set up an HDMI port on an AV receiver 2017 Denon X2400H to Enhanced.

For at least three seconds, press and hold the main unit’s Zone 2 Source & Status buttons simultaneously. The display displays “V.FormatPAL>”. 3. The DIMMER button on the main unit should be pressed. The display will show 4K:Standard> Select the 4K Signal Format by using the Tuner Preset CH+/Tuner Preset Ch+ on the main unit. 4. To complete the setting, press the STATUS key on the main unit.

The exception to this rule is soundbars with 4K HDR passthrough. I don’t believe any require that you manually activate an enhanced mode. This could be why older soundbars seem to be most affected by the PS5 4K HDR issues.



2. Use the right input for your display or audio device

Many older TVs, soundbars, and AV Receivers, as well as some newer ones, don’t support high data rates for their HDMI ports. Make sure you check the manual of your device to ensure that the HDMI port to which your PS5 is connected is 4K HDR-compatible. You may find a 4K label on devices with different HDMI ports.



3. Use the HDMI cable included with your PS5

The complexity of the HDMI connection’s implementation is not limited to the HDMI ports or associated software. It must be capable of handling 4K HDR data rates. The cables must also be able to handle the task.

The HDMI cable that Sony includes with the PS5 can pass any video quality the console may be capable of. If you can, use it!



4. Connect your console to the TV directly

If your PS5 is being connected to an external device such as a soundbar, AV receiver or soundbar, 4K HDR may not work properly. Instead, connect your console to your TV or projector directly. Use the HDMI cable included with the PS5.

If all goes well and 4K HDR works fine, you will know that your problem is with your intermediary gear. It’s a good idea, but not ideal if your goal is to listen to the PS5’s audio through an external system. You probably will if you have spent the money to buy such a system.

There is an easy way around this. Connect the PS5 directly with your TV and connect it to your soundbar/AVR using either an optical/coaxial or digital audio output (most TVs have one of these), or HDMI’s ARC feature.

ARC stands for Audio Return Channel and allows TVs to transmit high-quality digital sound from their ARC enabled HDMI ports to ARC compatible audio equipment.

HDMI ARC has a higher bandwidth than optical/coaxial connections. This allows for better sound quality and more channels. You can even obtain compressed versions of premium, ‘object-based’ Dolby Atmos or DTS:X soundtracks via HDMI ARC – something you won’t be able to do with optical/coaxial digital audio connections.

Dolby Atmos and DTS:X are not supported by the PS5 for games. Sony’s new console supports Dolby Atmos or DTS:X playback on 4K Bluray movie discs, provided you remember to activate this option from Blu-ray player app’s Option menu. HDMI ARC is a great option if you have it.

A second aspect of the HDMI connector means that you will need a TV as well as a soundbar/AV receiver to support eARC connectivity. The eARC system uses the larger bandwidth of newer HDMI cables and connections to deliver uncompressed Dolby Atmos or DTS:X sound, but not compressed like ARC.

Unfortunately, not all AVRs, soundbars, and TVs support eARC. Even if they support eARC, it is possible for the TV only to pass Dolby atmos and not DTSX. This is despite many Blu-rays and 4K Blurays using DTSX soundtracks. LG’s X Series OLEDs are an example of this. Additionally, some users experience audio delays when using ARC/eARC. This can cause a loss in sync between your lips and the words that you hear.

Another option is to purchase an HDMI splitter. This allows you to pass video from your console to the TV via one of its outputs, and audio, including Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, via the other HDMI output to your soundbar/AV receiver via the other splitter HDMI output. If you decide to go this route, however, make sure that the HDMI splitter and the extra HDMI cables you will need can support 4K HDR at 60Hz. This is the most likely setting you up for compatibility with your PS5’s out-of-box state.



5. Adjust the PS5’s 4K transfer rate setting

The 4K Transfer Rate setting, although it is a poorly explained and not obvious feature on the PS5’s menus has some potential to solve users’ 4K HDR problems.

As we all know, the number of data that your HDMI ports can handle determines the graphic features that your system can support. This setting, which is based on color compression, is called the 4K Transmission Rate.

This is not the place to go into detail. There are three main ways color can be carried in a video signal. These are: uncompressed (usually written in RGB 4:4;4, or RGB HDR on the PS5’s Screen Information screen), slightly compressed (usually written in YUV4.2:2), and more compressed (usually written in YUV4.2:0). If your TV supports it, the -1 and 2 options indicate a step up in color compression.

There are many debates about whether or not you can actually see the differences between the main color distribution systems. At least, when you don’t look at small text. In this Xbox-related article, I argue that you can. However, the key point is that the two levels in colour compression that the -1 and 2 PS5 transmission rates settings make can make a significant difference in the amount of data your system’s HDMIs carry to allow for 4K HDR playback where it was not possible before.

Surprisingly, there isn’t much evidence to suggest that changing this setting will fix the issues for those affected by PS5 4KHDR issues. This makes sense, considering that other aspects in the PS5’s system suggest the console tries to compensate for possible bandwidth limitations of connected kits using information it receives from HDMI handshake protocols.

This is a sign that the PS5’s 4K HDR functionality has a bug or is not working properly with older sets of equipment. The 4K Transfer Rate setting still exists and was clearly intended for a purpose. You owe to yourself to test both the -1 option and the -2 option to resolve your problem.



6. Also, ensure that other HDMI cables are compatible with your system.

The HDMI cable included with the PS5 works well if the TV is connected directly. However, if the cable runs into a projector or the console is being used through an AVR or soundbar, a second HDMI cable may be required.

If you fall within one of these categories, I recommend an HDMI cable capable of carrying at least 18GB data. If your equipment needs to play or pass through high-resolution content, it’s worth looking for a full bandwidth HDMI cable that can carry 48Gbps.

It is worth searching for HDMI cables that have been approved by the HDMI.org. Independent testing has proven that they can carry the data they claim to support.

You will need a Premium Certified logo to be able to purchase 18Gbps cables. It is more difficult with 48Gbps cables. The HDMI.org has just completed its certification program, so there are not many. At the time of writing, I don’t believe there are Ultra Certified cables with a length greater than 5m. However, there are some shorter cables available, and new ones are being added all the time.


7. Your PS5 HDMI can be set to HDCP 1.4 mode

This is where we are getting to a very desperate place. I don’t think switching your PS5 to HDCP 1.4 mode will make a difference for many. This is unlikely to solve the issue of people not being capable of enjoying 4K and HDR simultaneously. However, it may work if your PS5 displays a black screen when you attempt to run 4K HDR. It did help some people with their black screen issues with the PS4 Pro.

First, make sure your PS5 is in safe mode before you can switch. You should be careful when you use Safe Mode. Some options can cause your console to accidentally delete data. Safe Mode can be accessed by pressing the power button. After a while, the power indicator will blink before it turns off. After the system has turned off, hold down the power button. After you hear the second beep, release it. One beep will sound at the first press and one seven seconds later. Connect the USB cable to the controller and then press the PS button on your joystick.

You will now be able to change your HDCP setting (which is basically an anti-piracy protocol) to 1.4 instead of the default 2.3.

This option was specifically designed to ensure that legacy AV gear and HDMI can communicate well. It is possible for playback problems to occur with other legacy AV gear, even if this solves your specific PS5 4K HDR gaming problem. You might notice that streaming apps won’t play in 4K HDR.

You can let me know via the linked Twitter account if you find any other solution for PS5 4K HDR issues that I have missed or forgot about.


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