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'Wonder Woman 1984' drags HBO into the 21st Century with 4K and HDR streaming

Gal Gadot in Wonder Woman 1984.
Gal Gadot in "Wonder Woman 1984." (Image credit: Warner Bros.)

It took Wonder Woman to get HBO Max to do what it should have done from Day 1. WarnerMedia today announced that when Wonder Woman 1984 premieres on HBO Max on Dec. 25 — as it simultaneously premieres in theaters — it'll do so in 4K resolution, along with HDR 10, Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos.

It marks the first content to hit HBO Max with those top-flight specs.

Streaming in 4K resolution is better because it's more pixels. Thats means clearer, cleaner images. (Assuming that the content isn't compressed to within an inch of its life, but at this point we'll give them the benefit of the doubt.) HDR 10 and Dolby Vision are competing standards of HDR, with the latter generally believed to be the better of the two for high dynamic range. And Dolby Atmos is an audio standard that allows sounds to hang in three-dimensional space instead of just coming toward you from a certain direction. Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision are proprietary standards, while HDR 10 is open-sourced.

The one big caveat here, as always, is that you'll need hardware that supports all the things mentioned above. Your television will have to support 4K resolution. Whatever you're streaming through — be it the TV itself, or some other sort of device — will have to support 4K resolution. Same goes for HDR 10 and Dolby Vision. And your speakers and receiver or soundbar will have to support Dolby Atmos in order to use that.

But once those boxes are checked, you'll have the best specs for the best in-home viewing experience. Maybe not quite what the filmmakers intended, but it's more than a good start.

WarnerMedia said to expect to see "further films and TV series" with 4K and HDR in 2021, as well as "adding support for additional devices." That last part is key because HBO Max still is not supported on the Roku platform, which is the largest streaming ecosystem in the United States. It is, however, available on Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Android TV, web browsers, Chromecast Ultra, and other Android and iOS devices.

HBO Max is the streaming service from WarnerMedia that comprises content from Warner Bros, the Turner family of networks, HBO, and more. It runs $14.99 a month.

Phil Nickinson

Phil spent his 20s in the newsroom of the Pensacola (Fla.) News Journal, his 30s on the road for AndroidCentral.com and Mobile Nations, is the Dad part of Modern Dad, and is editor of WhatToWatch.com.