On one of the walls in the Hitachi booth at CES earlier this month the company showed a prototype LED backlit LCD TV with "High Color-reproduction" in juxtaposition to the same 32-inch LCD with a conventional backlight unit (BLU).
Senior Analyst and Editor
To my surprise, the company would not quote a per-cent of the NTSC color gamut (like many others do) but rather stated that Hitachi was waiting for broadcasters to define a new color standard to catch up to the displays ability given the new illumination technologies.
In contrast to the Hitachi stance, Sony (both CE manufacturer and broadcast equipment maker) is aggressively embracing the newly adopted color standard put out last January (2006) by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC61966-2-4), a standard which describes xvYCC color, (shorthand for Extended YCC Colorimetry for Video Applications) that purportedly covers the entire gamut of the human visible spectrum. Everything your eye can see will be shown in this color space.
According to the group, this is around 1.8 times the color space that can be defined as mixtures of red, green and blue. Silicon Image (SI) has likewise embraced the multimedia standard in its latest HDMI 1.3 spec. On of the options includes support for the xvYCC color space stating, “xvYCC lets HDTVs display colors more accurately, enabling displays with more natural, vivid colors.”
This is not to be confused with “deep color” that lets HDTVs and other displays go from millions of colors to billions of colors, (from traditional 8 bits to 16 bits) empowering what SI calls, “unprecedented vividness and accuracy of color on their displays.” The company claims “deep color” “eliminates on-screen color banding, for smooth tonal transitions and subtle gradations between colors” not to mention increased contrast ratio according to the company.
“Deep color” increases the number of available colors within the boundaries defined by the RGB or YCbCr color space, while xvYCC expands the available range (limits) to allow the display of colors that meet and exceed what human eyes can recognize, according to HDMI.org.
So with the march of progress and the end of NTSC analog broadcast on the horizon in 2009, it looks as if we are loosing an industry reference as xvYCC (or “x.v.Color” as Sony likes to call it) and “deep color” sound the death knell for the parochial (US centric) “NTSC color gamut”. Looks like we’ll have to find some other way to rankle the “Colour Engineers” over at the BBC.