CES 2012: more colorful displays on the horizon

If there is one thing we can take away from CES this year, it’s that displays with better color performance are on the horizon. Two of the largest attention getters at CES this year were new displays by Sony and LG.  LG unveiled a 55″ OLED and Sony displayed a new “Crystal LED” technology.  While both of these displays exhibited impressive performance, including a wider color gamut, the Sony TV was a prototype only, and the LG display is expected to be available later in the year at a hefty price.

As Hubert of Ubergizmo points out, these technologies offer great promise, however, cost will be their determining factor.  OLED, which has been on the horizon for what seems like forever, still looks like it will not be available to the masses for quite a while, certainly not in large formats and not at a manageable price point for the consumer.

By contrast, QDEF, offers an affordable, consumer ready solution today. Display designers who are looking for the next new thing will find that they can have a screen with high brightness, deep color, high-DPI resolution and deep blacks in a display that’s as big as they want using QDEF with no increase in cost. This is because QDEF has been designed as a drop-in diffuser sheet replacement to leverage the billions of dollars of existing installed manufacturing capacity and two-plus decades of improvements to LCD performance.  With QDEF, manufacturers can easily replace the diffuser sheet in their displays with a sheet of QDEF and gain over 100% of NTSC color performance.

CEDIA 2011: High color gamut displays coming

Recently returned from a week in rainy Indianapolis at CEDIA 2011 and thought I’d share some of my observations.

Amidst the din of the latest audio systems and blue-tinged glare of LED driven LCDs I discovered a small but growing group of companies talking about color.

While the mainstream, average show-goer was talking a lot about contrast or dynamic range, discussing the difference between sets with ‘grey levels’ and those capable of true ‘black levels,’ I’m predicting that color will dominate next year’s show. With high color gamut panels just around the corner, we’re just starting to see a technology ecosystem emerge around delivering an improved color experience for consumers. Several companies (like SpectraCal and Entertainment Experience) that I talked to are developing powerful color ‘upscaling’ technologies that will help to bridge the gap between today’s content and the eventual availability of high gamut formats, like P3, at the consumer level.

Another great, potentially high color gamut-enabling demo I saw was THX’s Media Director. These guys are using metadata to automatically set-up and optimize home theater equipment to the content you are watching. By working with and providing tools to the content creators, what the end user sees and hears should be much closer to the original artistic intent. Seems to me there’s great potential for this technology as consumers start watching content across a wider variety of displays (with wildly varied performance characteristics from HDTV to low res, low gamut smartphones to soon to emerge ‘retina’ resolution computer displays) than they have in the past.

At the next CEDIA we ought to hear people talking about true reds and greens compared to the orange-ish and yellow-ish hues of last year’s sets.

Video interview from the CEDIA show floor, describing a Nanosys QDEF enabled, high color gamut TV: