Surface Pro 6: No HDR streaming support?

[German]It seems that Microsoft’s latest innovation, the Surface Pro 6, can’t stream HDR-quality content to external monitors or display such content to external devices via Displayport. 


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The Surface Pro 6 has been introduced as a new model by Microsoft in October 2018 (beside Surface Laptop 2 and Surface Studio 2) and is now available in the USA. Now I came aware about a not so nice thing reading the following tweet from my MVP colleague Barb Bowman. 

There she plays ‘the ball’ to Panos Panay from Microsoft, because the issued raised is not yet really clear. 

Surface Pro 6
(Source: Microsoft/Dr. Windows)

What’s the problem?

The abbreviation HDR stands for High Dynamic Range, display devices must be able to display a larger dynamic range. All this promises better contrasts, higher brightness and a wider colour palette. The point is to make movies and TV shows (4K HDR videos) even more lifelike. The Wikipedia and this page as well as this article deal with HDR.


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A user complains at Microsoft Answers that his Surface Pro 6 model does not seem to stream HDR content:

Surface Pro 6 – Can’t stream HDR content to an external tv at 4k 60hz

Hello,

I just bought a Surface Pro 6 (i7-8650U – 16 GB RAM) and can’t stream HDR content towards a 4k OLED LG monitor.

My monitor is capable of HDR, since I use it with my XBOX ONE X (the HDR icon correctly appears).

I have connected that monitor to my surface pro 6 (using the same Xbox one x cable and TV port) and indeed I can see that the PC is able to select 4k 60hz, so cables and tv are fine.

Then I enabled stream HDR on the HDR settings in windows.

After that I installed the HEVC codecs from the Microsoft store as suggested in: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/4040547/windows-10-display-requirements-hdr-video

after all this I still can see 8 bit color depth in my advanced display settings for the 4k external monitor instead of the required 10 bit color depth for HDR. 

I know the integrated Intel UHD 620 can stream hdr but all the suggestions didn’t work.

what did I do wrong?

I also followed strictly this page:

https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/4040255/windows-10-stream-hdr-video

but couldn’t see the option “Windows HD Color settings“. why isn’t it there?

Within the thead, it turns out that certain versions of the DisplayPort exists, and only one has 10-bit support, that is required for streaming HDR content. 

  • DisplayPort Version 1.2 supports only 8 bit
  • DisplayPort Version 1.4 supports 10 bit

Only a DisplayPort version 1.4 might be capable to support 10 bit. The exciting question is whether Surface Pro 6 has a DisplayPort version 1.4. Only then, at least theoretically, there is a chance for HDR streaming. In this Microsoft document I found only hints for DisplayPort version 1.2, so that HDR streaming is not possible. But the whole thing has not yet been officially clarified – there might be another problem, so Surface Pro 6 doesn’t support HDR.


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