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Is the 4th Yellow Pixel of Sharp Quattron Hype?

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the hi-fi-jumprope dept.

Television 511

Nom du Keyboard writes "Sharp Aquos brand televisions are making a big deal about their Quattron technology of adding a 4th yellow pixel to their RGB sets. While you can read a glowing review of it here, the engineer in me is skeptical because of how all the source material for this set is produced in 3-color RGB. I also know how just making a picture brighter and saturating the colors a bit can make it more appealing to many viewers over a more accurate rendition – so much for side-by-side comparisons. And I laugh at how you are supposed to see the advantages of 4-color technology in ads on your 3-color sets at home as you watch their commercials. It sounds more like hype to extract a higher profit margin than the next great advance in home television. So is it real?"

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fp (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32141268)

I'm sure you're curious as to why Slashdot, OSDN, and the rest of VA Linux's network wasn't available the weekend of Friday, June 22, 2001. I was. Then I found out. In this exposé, I will inform the reader on the why and the how of Slashdot's worst outage yet, its narrow escape from death, its darkest day in history.

INNOCENT BEGINNINGS

Picture this: you're young, you're gay, and you own a successful web log. But you want more. Enter buyouts by a company called VA Linux, headed by the ruddy fag ESR and his band of Open Source homosexuals, hand picked by Larry Augustin himself and charged with taking over the Linux world. Got it so far? Good.

Short of having kidnapped Linux Torvalds, VA Linux virtually was Linux. You had hit the big time. You were the loud mouth of the biggest, baddest mother of a faggot Linux Empire ever assembled.

(Important note: VA Linux had, indeed, tried to hire Linux Torvalds away, but Linus had refused, so as not to favor any single company or distribution. VA Linux, in turn, had kidnapped Torvalds and had Rob Malda and ESR rape his mouth unil he couldn't feel his jaw. Linus also needed his stomach pumped. However, good ol' Linus, the stout Finn that he is, never gave in and so was returned to Helsinki soon thereafter.)

THE IPO

December, 1999:
Stock: $253 Volume: 8,000,000
IPO time, and you were riding high. You had become a millionaire and didn't know it. ESR had been surpised by wealth. And scores of other investors and Linux nuts found themselves with swollen bank accounts. Even though the stock fell sharply soon after, you figure it was just a burp in the market, and you headed out to celebrate by sucking some cock and buying your sports cars, boy-servants, horses, bathhouses and mansions. Still with me? OK. Now fast forward a few months.

THE UGLY TRUTH

June, 2001:
Stock: $2.53 Volume: 1,000
You have Linux companies that have lost large parts of their market valuations, Linux distros merging, IPO's cancelled: Linux was dying. If you wished to portray the worst of the present state of the Linux market, you could not do so without factoring in how the GPL works to un-employ programmers. You didn't have to be a Kreskin to see what was happening; the handwriting was on the wall: Linux faced a bleak future. Even RMS commented on the current position of his Free Software Foundation due to Linux's misfortunes, which, indeed, represented the boat everyone was in with Linux:

I am goat-fucked!

WHO ARE YOU?

If you can sit there and read this expose and nod your head in affirmation of the events I have thus far documented, you can be only one person: Rob "CmdrTaco" Malda of Slashdot.

All of the events here led up to Slashdot's Black Friday, where Rob Malda almost lost everything he had left (after the VA Linux stock plummet, that is). The only thing left really was Slashdot itself, and the homosexual orgies the Slashdot staff held every Friday night. Alan Cox had since abandoned sucking the Slashdot staffs' cocks, and had returned to civillian life, disillusioned with Linux. Banner ad hits came only by means of the Slashdot staff themselves, and ESR, drunker and drunker with every stock plummet, would call and ream out Rob Malda over the phone every day, holed up in his cabin of 386s running Linux.

Re:fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32141368)

Speaking as one of the 0.1% of people who get to see comments at 1, all I can say is....BooYEAH! You nailed it!

Yellow... yawn (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32141274)

i'd be much more interested if it was a colour that RGB couldn't produce.

Re:Yellow... yawn (5, Funny)

uglyduckling (103926) | more than 4 years ago | (#32141360)

Like Octarine?

Re:Yellow... yawn (3, Funny)

metamatic (202216) | more than 4 years ago | (#32141618)

Or squant. The time is long overdue for squant support in televisions.

Re:Yellow... yawn (1)

ehrichweiss (706417) | more than 4 years ago | (#32141636)

I agree, it's been years and the world still hasn't adopted this remarkable color.

Re:Yellow... yawn (3, Funny)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 4 years ago | (#32141678)

And the commercials with George Takei (I'm sure there's a "yellow peril" joke in there somewhere) in a white lab coat and the caption reads "actor portrayal" LIKE WE DIDN'T KNOW - IT'S GEORGE FREAKIN' TAKEI YOU IDIOTS!!

Re:Yellow... yawn (3, Informative)

IWannaBeAnAC (653701) | more than 4 years ago | (#32141694)

Obviously, if it was a color that RGB could produce then there wouldn't be any point making a special color channel with it. You should read up on the color gamut [wikipedia.org] and learn a bit about the limitations of RGB.

Clearly missing a trick. (5, Funny)

queazocotal (915608) | more than 4 years ago | (#32141282)

To get truly astonishing pictures, they should add a black pixel, to improve contrast.

Re:Clearly missing a trick. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32141422)

To get truly astonishing pictures, they should add a black pixel, to improve contrast.

Perhaps but can it reproduce Squant? [negativland.com]

Re:Clearly missing a trick. (5, Interesting)

jjoelc (1589361) | more than 4 years ago | (#32141736)

joking aside... some of the newer TVs with LED backlighting actually do something like this... Lighting up the picture with thousands(ish?) of independent LEDs (as opposed to a couple of souped up flourescent tubes) means they can selectively dim or turn off entirely sections of the backlighting. So when large parts of the scene are dirk, large parts of the backlighting is dimmed as well, thus increasing the contrast. It also saves a bit of power, making it easier for them to meet energy star standards, etc...

They neglected to mention the real breakthrough (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32141286)

You can't see the difference because you are a flatlander and the 4th pixel is in the 4th dimension.

No. (0, Redundant)

feepness (543479) | more than 4 years ago | (#32141290)

No.

Don't make me say it a third time.

Re:No. (1)

nathan.fulton (1160807) | more than 4 years ago | (#32141358)

I enjoy the irony of the post -- there are two questions posted in the summary -- "is it hype" and "is it real." Answering no to both is perhaps appropriate to point out something along the lines of "it doesn't matter."

But I think a better single answer to both questions is "yes." That is, yes -- adding the pixel changes things. But yes, it is hype (in the sense that the difference isn't meaningful.)

RGB (5, Informative)

Kell Bengal (711123) | more than 4 years ago | (#32141292)

It strikes me that a better use of a fourth colour pixel would be to represent all those greens the RGB colour space doesn't actually represent [wikipedia.org] .

Re:RGB (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32141408)

Only is the camera recording the picture recorded that same color.

As it has been stated, adding a new color on the TV is literally the last place that it needs to be. (First the camera that films, then the storage medium(DVD?), then broadcast(HDMI?) THEN the TV )

Re:RGB (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32141620)

Only is the camera recording the picture recorded that same color.

As it has been stated, adding a new color on the TV is literally the last place that it needs to be. (First the camera that films, then the storage medium(DVD?), then broadcast(HDMI?) THEN the TV )

You forgot the first (or last) step. The human eye. When we get to the point where the human eye can no longer tell any (notable) difference, it doesn't help to improve technology. (Except for some very niche things. Sending images to aliens, showing them to some animals or such.) RGB was never intended to be perfect, only good enough that we wouldn't really gain that much by investing more (storage capacity, etc.).

Re:RGB (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32141458)

It strikes me that adding a yellow pixel to the RGB display would do exactly that... as long as the original footage was in RYGB instead of RGB.

Re:RGB (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32141526)

That 1931 color gamut is misleading because it overempasizes greens. In fact, the original NTSC green primary was much closer to the peak, but as a result, yellows were too muted, so they changed it. But you're right - a turquoise primary would increase the RGB gamut significantly.

The ideal would be that all color information in video would be in device-independent xy color space instead of RGB. See LogLUV encoding for example: http://www.anyhere.com/gward/papers/jgtpap1.pdf

Re:RGB (1)

coolgeek (140561) | more than 4 years ago | (#32141534)

Only one problem. No Y encoded in the data stream, so it has to be interpolated.

Re:RGB (5, Informative)

forkazoo (138186) | more than 4 years ago | (#32141690)

Only one problem. No Y encoded in the data stream, so it has to be interpolated.

In some cases, it could actually be useful. While most cameras shoot with RGB sensors, most video compression is in some variation of YUV (1) color space. If you shoot on something like a Red One (2) camera, you get a RAW format with more than 8 bits (3) of color information. If you have a sensible post pipeline, you can go to YUV for your distribution format and have plenty of color data to completely fill out the 8 bit YUV data. YUV and RGB don't have identical color reproduction and gamut, so you can wind up with the odd situation where you shot on an RGB sensor, and you decimated to 8 bit data for distribution, but a normal 8 bit RGB display can't quite show every color that you have.

I wouldn't expect brick-shittingly amazing results on such a system. I'd need to see it in person and see a measured gamut chart to have any particular opinion on this particular display, but I can't dismiss the concept out of hand.

(1) : Y in YUV isn't Yellow, it's Luma. Still, the imperfect conversion between YUV and RGB means that a fourth primary could make it possible to more accurately show YUV data on an RGBY display.

(2) : "Red" is a brand name. "Red" in the name of the camera doesn't specifically imply any relationship to RGB color space or anything like that. The camera does use a standard RGB Bayer pattern sensor, though.

(3) : 8 bit color in this context is always "per component" rather than "per pixel" and doesn't imply old school 256 total colors palleted mode. In a X11 config file for example, this would be referred to as 24 bit color. Video guys are more interested in per-component colors because they always do operations on components. When you are writing misc. GUI software, you are generally more concerned with bits per-pixel because you would never care about how much space it takes to upload a fraction of a pixel to a video card since you have to upload a full pixel to display it.

(4) : This footnote doesn't correspond to anything in the text. After all that, I'm now just in the habit of writing footnotes.

Re:RGB (2, Informative)

lc_overlord (563906) | more than 4 years ago | (#32141656)

Actually the eye is more sensitive to yellows than reds if you look at that wikipedia page you cited.
As it is now there is a slight dip in the yellow part of the color spectrum on displays because they use a pretty narrow band of red.
Cameras on the other hand for the red color uses a filter that basically takes all light between yellow and infrared.
So the input is both yellow an red combined while the output is just red, by adding yellow the display can correct some of that loss.

Though i would like to see cameras/displays combos that use more natural light spectrum's than just adding yellow.

Of course it's hype, just SHARPer :-) (2, Interesting)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#32141296)

It's like the "120 hz lcd display" stuff. The dvd they use to show you the difference in-store is bogus. If you want REALLY sharp, you'd buy a 600hz plasma. The whole screen changes from one image to the next in 1/600 of a second, with no interpolation (and interpolation algorithms are just "best guesses", so they're no better than an upscaler would be).

Re:Of course it's hype, just SHARPer :-) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32141412)

Too bad your input signal is only 1/10th that speed, on the optimistic side.

Re:Of course it's hype, just SHARPer :-) (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#32141664)

But the input signal is held constant for that while time, then the whole image refreshed in 1/600 of a second - much below the flicker speed of the human eye. That's what makes the picture look so much better compared even to 120hz lcds.

The other advantage (and one that even the review admits that the sharp fares worse) is blacker blacks, since the individual pixels are energized 600x/second, instead of 60, they can be made smaller, resulting in more black space on the panel, for deeper blacks.

Re:Of course it's hype, just SHARPer :-) (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 4 years ago | (#32141484)

you'd buy a 600hz plasma. The whole screen changes from one image to the next in 1/600 of a second

technically, the source input is still running at 25 frames a second, not 600, so while it can change the whole image in 1/600 second... it doesn't. The 600hz thing is more marketing hype, which does perform interpolation to try and get you a smooter image. I find that the image processing doesn't work so well and results in jaggy movement instead.

Best look to the plasma's black levels and contrast ratios instead when comparing to LCDs. Plasmas are better in these regards.

Re:Of course it's hype, just SHARPer :-) (2, Informative)

nxtw (866177) | more than 4 years ago | (#32141612)

It's like the "120 hz lcd display" stuff.

A 120 Hz display provides a better result for 24 fps input (from film sources) than will a 60 Hz display. With 120 Hz, each frame is displayed for 1000/24 ms instead of varying between 1000/30 ms and 1000/20 ms on a 60 Hz display.

Re:Of course it's hype, just SHARPer :-) (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#32141718)

It's like the "120 hz lcd display" stuff.

A 120 Hz display provides a better result for 24 fps input (from film sources) than will a 60 Hz display. With 120 Hz, each frame is displayed for 1000/24 ms instead of varying between 1000/30 ms and 1000/20 ms on a 60 Hz display.

... and a 600hz plasma display also divides evenly by 24, giving 25 refreshes per frame, and far better blacks. LCDs still have a long way to go.

Re:Of course it's hype, just SHARPer :-) (2, Informative)

Tyler Eaves (344284) | more than 4 years ago | (#32141642)

Except you're completely missing the point. It's not about sharpness or speed. It's about being an even multiple of 24hz so you can display film material (e.g. about everything you'd really want on a 1080p set) without any tricks that ruin the smoothness of motion.

Re:Of course it's hype, just SHARPer :-) (2, Interesting)

Psyborgue (699890) | more than 4 years ago | (#32141646)

120 Hz could provide some benefit for 24p material since it's evenly divisible.

Careful What You Laugh At (3, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#32141324)

And I laugh at how you are supposed to see the advantages of 4-color technology in ads on your 3-color sets at home as you watch their commercials.

Well, I'm not sure if you're correct to laugh at this or not. But all televisions are approximations of something analogue that was captured and in that capturing process, some information was lost. To illustrate, entertain a scenario where I have N standard definition television sets that are displaying footage from standard definition video cameras. I daisy chain them together (each camera directed at the last screen) to record something. As I move from the 0th screen to the Nth screen, I will begin to see degradation as more information is lost and randomness comes into play. The same can be done with HD but since HD captures more information, it can safely be assumed that the sampling and resampling will retain more of the original image.

If you played the Nth HD screen next to the Nth SD screen and piped that through an SD television, you'd still be able to see some difference (for reasonable non-astronomical numbers of N) even though you went through yet another SD television in the end.

I don't know what the fourth color is supposed to buy, I'm unfamiliar with this technology. But the side by side comparison through an SD or HD TV might still be able to demonstrate that the fourth color adds some meaningful information to the image that -- when resampled to be viewed on your device -- suffers less information loss than the three color implementation. Thus successfully demonstrating some superiority. Not showing you precisely what the final product is supposed to be like but instead give you relativity in signal loss and noise.

I also know how just making a picture brighter and saturating the colors a bit can make it more appealing to many viewers over a more accurate rendition

Well, I know that there is a huge photography following that is totally enamored with HDR photography [wikipedia.org] and to many people it makes the images come to life ... I think it's overdone (like autotuning in modern music) but it definitely has a place. Perhaps similarly four color displays hope to widen the dynamic range they can display? I wish I could give you better answers about four color displays but this is the first I've heard of them. Perhaps your questions to a large engineer base are the most effective kind of marketing?

Re:Careful What You Laugh At (1)

Zaphod The 42nd (1205578) | more than 4 years ago | (#32141470)

You make a really good point. Unfortunately, I think its all the more likely that the marketing department would just turn the brightness of the 3-color TV down a bit, rather than take the time to run an analog imagine through several 3-color output/inputs and several 4-color output/inputs.

Re:Careful What You Laugh At (2, Informative)

vcgodinich (1172985) | more than 4 years ago | (#32141522)

Well, no, not really at all. Analog signal is converted to digital WAY before you see it, and a 3 color based gambit physically cannot display colors that a 4 color one can. Period.

Watching something that was RECORDED in 4 colors (which I can't find any camera's that do that) on a 4 color TV (IF the media supports it, standard DVDs do not) would be better, and that improvement cannot be made on a 3 color TV.

As to your SD vs HD comparison. . . no. The max resolution that SD can display is a DVD (basically). watching a HD DVD re sampled down is going to net you no improvements to quality.

How is that +4 insightful? nothing in parent shows ANY understanding of displays of any kind.

Re:Careful What You Laugh At (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 4 years ago | (#32141696)

and a 3 color based gambit physically cannot display colors that a 4 color one can. Period.

I guess that's why your computer monitor with its 3 color gamut can produce colors that a printing press, with its 4 color gamut cannot.

Sorry, your statement is simply not true. There are many more factors to gamut than the number of colors used to produce it, such as bit depth, spectrum and display medium. A 2 bit per channel 4 color gamut is going to produce a lot less colors than an 8 bit per channel 3 color gamut. A 4 color gamut made up of blue, light blue, dark blue and cyan is going to produce a lot less colors than a 3 color gamut made up of red, green and blue.

Re:Careful What You Laugh At (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 4 years ago | (#32141602)

You cannot add information once it's been thrown away, you can only simulate it. IF the camera had a yellow channel and the video signal actually carried the yellow channel, it MIGHT be useful for the TV to display it, but that's not what's happening.

I say might, because other than a very few tetrachromates out there we probably cannot actually perceive the extra color space anyway. The ideal color reproduction would require a trichromate camera (we're good there) where the three colors are exactly those of the cones in the eye (could use some work there) and exactly the same frequency response as the cones (also could use some work).

It MIGHT help a little bit with dynamic range, but it would be well into the diminishing returns part of the curve. more exact tuning of the existing 3 colors would probably have more effect but might be techincally more difficult or expensive.

Presumably the viewscreens in the Star Trek universe use many many colors rather than color blending for image reproduction since no species seems to find them horribly inaccurate (or at least none have commented on it).

Re:Careful What You Laugh At (1)

metamatic (202216) | more than 4 years ago | (#32141662)

I say might, because other than a very few tetrachromates out there we probably cannot actually perceive the extra color space anyway.

Parakeets are tetrachromates, and mine love watching TV. Perhaps Sharp could offer a special parrot-friendly TV with UV pixels?

Yes (1)

nathan.fulton (1160807) | more than 4 years ago | (#32141334)

The purpose of introduction the Y is to increase the colour gambit. Theoretically, more colors = more "realistic" images. I think that if you can notice the difference between a picture and the actual object (not in terms of dimension, but in therms of the actual colors) then it's likely that a larger colour gambit would be beneficial.

Re:Yes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32141416)

Gamut, not gambit, my dear.

Re:Yes (4, Funny)

FatSean (18753) | more than 4 years ago | (#32141418)

How do you decide which pixel to sacrifice for the colour gambit?

Re:Yes (5, Funny)

LynnwoodRooster (966895) | more than 4 years ago | (#32141708)

The red one, just like on Star Trek.

Re:Yes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32141460)

The RGB color space maps something like 92 percent of the L*A*B colors within its gamut, very few colors cannot be accurately achieved within RGB, certain orange hues come to mind but realistically about the only difference you are going to see is the package in the OFF commerical will be slightly more accurate depending on how this implementation actually works. Now if TV was rendering within the CMYK color space adding addition colors can really make a difference as CMYK only hits I believe around 45% of the L*A*B colors, so RGB wont be helped much by a 4th color but CMYK would.

My guess... (1)

denzacar (181829) | more than 4 years ago | (#32141672)

Is that it works around the fact that regular RGB has CMY on the other side of its scale.

So, as a single pixel goes from Blue to Yellow you sacrifice the "blueness" every time you try to show off bright Reds and Greens in the picture.
Or vice versa when you are going for a stronger purples, blues and dark greens. Red kills Cyan, Green kills Magenta and Blue kills Yellow.
Which translates in both cases in loss of color range and harsher contrasts.

Now... adding an additional pixel to the equation you get more range in the blues while having strong yellows.
Which means wider reds without sacrificing blues and cyans, and wider greens without sacrificing blues and magentas.

Like I said... I am only guessing, but it sounds to me that the review is describing something quite like that.

With the two TVs sitting next to each other, the thing that became immediately obvious was how harsh and garish the colours on my Samsung set now appeared.
The 46LE821E produced much subtler and more realistic colours, especially on skin-tones.

Re:Yes (1)

jjoelc (1589361) | more than 4 years ago | (#32141638)

I think the word you are looking for is "Gamut" [wikipedia.org]

While you are looking at that link (yeah right) notice the first image shown, representing the gamut of a "standard" CRT monitor. notice that each corner of the triangle is one of the phosphor colors Red, Green, and Blue. Now see where the yellow stripe is? How far outside of the triangle do you think they can push a yellow "corner"? Even if they push the yellow ALL the way to the edge of the visible spectrum, you end up with a very small increase in the overall "number" of colors being shown.

In other words. Yes, technically, there is some room for improvement, but the reality is a resounding "not much" especially when you start factoring in the way the brain interprets vision and color and "fills in the blanks" [null-hypothesis.co.uk] as needed.

As long as marketing allows them to charge twice as much for adding 25% or less to the manufacturing costs, they'l do it.

human eyes... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32141340)

uhh, human eyes only have RGB cones. therefore, if there is a RGB technology out there that achieves a wide enough gamut, then it should be more than sufficient. if the extra Y pixels achieve a wider gamut then the difference should be clear. otherwise it's just clever marketing garbage.

Human retinas (2, Interesting)

RightwingNutjob (1302813) | more than 4 years ago | (#32141348)

Puny human eyeballs only have three kinds of cones, one that peaks in response to red, one to green, and one to blue. While our superior alien overlords may be pleased with this new technology, physiologically, you can't tell the difference.

Re:Human retinas (1)

nathan.fulton (1160807) | more than 4 years ago | (#32141366)

physiologically, you can't tell the difference.

From what I understand, this is not true. The reason is that you eye can notice a larger amount of green/blue combinations than the RGB combinations are capable of creating.

Re:Human retinas (1)

RightwingNutjob (1302813) | more than 4 years ago | (#32141390)

The math geek in me says that that's an engineering problem with the G and B channels on existing displays, since three independent measurements should mean that you only need three independent signal sources.

Re:Human retinas (4, Interesting)

MRe_nl (306212) | more than 4 years ago | (#32141478)

Re:Human retinas (1)

biryokumaru (822262) | more than 4 years ago | (#32141528)

And this would be exactly why RGBY makes sense. Kudos to you, this is the only thing I've seen here that really makes a solid argument.

Re:Human retinas (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32141562)

For complete accuracy, some people (only women, for chromosomic reasons) have a fourth kind of cone. These people are called tetrachromates...
And, anyway, 24-bits RGB is far from enough for representing the full human vision spectra : we are able to discerne more than 1000 different shades of gray. Using such technology for displaying 24-bits RGB is just... marketing hype.

Re:Human retinas (1)

Ivan Stepaniuk (1569563) | more than 4 years ago | (#32141480)

In humans there are three different types of cone - responding respectively to short (blue), medium (green) and long (yellow-red) light. Wikipedia [wikipedia.org]

Re:Human retinas (1)

Zaphod The 42nd (1205578) | more than 4 years ago | (#32141490)

Actually the human eye's 3 types of cones best respond to Yellow, Green, and Violet, and can best differentiate colors on the green-orange range. Red, Green, and Blue were chosen because their color space is greater than just yellow, green, and violet, though still not all-encompassing.

The more you know!

Re:Human retinas (2, Informative)

vadim_t (324782) | more than 4 years ago | (#32141492)

You can't tell the difference, assuming of course that the RGB phosphors are evenly matched with your cones.

Take for instance printers. We have CMYK precisely because C+M+Y doesn't equal to black, as the inks aren't perfect. I think some sort of muddy brown actually results. So a black ink is needed to fix that imperfection. There exist printers with 6 ink colors as well, because that still doesn't make it perfect.

I think better monitors would be a good thing, but I'm more interested in a higher bit depth. Real life has quite a few things that you can see just fine, but which are challenging to photograph and can't be accurately reproduced on a monitor.

Re:Human retinas (1)

bugi (8479) | more than 4 years ago | (#32141704)

Bit depth is great. Let's use it for greyscale by getting large pixel qi monitors on my desk.

Except... (1)

denzacar (181829) | more than 4 years ago | (#32141504)

... the red one actually "peaks" at yellow. [wikipedia.org]

Re:Human retinas (2, Informative)

hhawk (26580) | more than 4 years ago | (#32141590)

Some women have 4 cones..

Re:Human retinas (2, Informative)

bugi (8479) | more than 4 years ago | (#32141688)

As I understand it, only in a small, relatively isolated Northern population. And it's not for yellow. Still cool though.

Re:Human retinas (3, Informative)

fruitbane (454488) | more than 4 years ago | (#32141592)

Generally speaking, the human eye is less sensitive to blue and most sensitive to red (more yellow, actually) and green. Making sure that the blue pixels are the brightest in the screen and changing the red pixel to something a little more yellow (assuming the firmware adjusts when recreating colors) would probably be the best approaches to catering to the human eye.

Opponent Process summed up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32141610)

Although our cones peak at red, green and blue, the data is not sent to our brain in that format. The retina has some wiring that remaps the colour onto axes of red vs. green on one axis, and blue vs. yellow on the other axis.

I'm guessing this ties back to evolutionary origins, when the red cone didn't exist in mammals (early primates, most other mammals).

Re:Human retinas (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32141654)

The human eye has only three kinds of color receptors (plus one grayscale, but only in the peripheral field of view). You could therefore come to the conclusion that you only need three different stimuli to recreate all possible color impressions. This is not the case, due to the overlap in the response curves of the different receptors. There is no single color which can stimulate just the green receptor without also stimulating either the red receptor or the blue receptor. To be able to create all color impressions, you'd need many different greens in addition to a red and a blue light source (which are both sufficiently pure to avoid stimulating the green receptor).

However, this only applies to very saturated colors. As soon as you desaturate a color, stimulating the other receptors is no longer a problem. The color space which a device can reproduce (actually the impressions of which the device can reproduce) is called its "gamut". [wikipedia.org] It's usually represented by a triangle in a horseshoe shaped CIE chromaticity diagram (The corners of the triangle are the impressions created by the three base colors of the device.) Adding a fourth color can extend the color space. The typical RGB display however mostly lacks in the green-cyan area, so that's where additional base colors would create more "new" colors. But even then, it's only about very saturated colors. When was the last time you looket at #00FFFF and said to yourself "That doesn't pop, more saturation"?

LCD screens have a related problem: The colors are created by subtracting (absorbing) colors from a backlight. If the spectrum of the backlight has very distinct spikes, then the resulting base colors are very pure. If the spikes are not only very distinct but also at frequencies which avoid the overlap in the response curves of the receptors as much as possible, you have a wide gamut display. If on the other hand the backlight is a continuous spectrum light source or the red and blue peaks are too close to green, then the gamut is limited by the backlight. For example, CCFL backlit LCDs often have an "orange" red where the red always stimulates the green receptor a little as well. On such a display, a pure red is simply impossible. You can however avoid the color shift by desaturating the colors: Add a little blue too and you get the right hue, just with less saturation.

Not necessarily fake (5, Informative)

russotto (537200) | more than 4 years ago | (#32141352)

Adding an extra phosphor can extend your gamut, increase your dynamic range within your gamut, or give you finer quantization within the gamut, or some combination of all three. The fact that your source material is provided as three quantities (YCbCr, not RGB) doesn't mean four phoshors won't help.

Doesn't mean it will, either.

Re:Not necessarily fake (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32141410)

Adding an extra phosphor can extend your gamut, increase your dynamic range within your gamut, or give you finer quantization within the gamut, or some combination of all three. The fact that your source material is provided as three quantities (YCbCr, not RGB) doesn't mean four phoshors won't help.

Doesn't mean it will, either.

I have the same skepticism as subby since reading a full page ad for this a few weeks ago... Kudos for pointing out that it can extend dynamic range which I had not
considered. I guess if they are not lying then all the magic must be in the CIE-L*a*b* -> RGB+Y transformation.

Re:Not necessarily fake (1)

vcgodinich (1172985) | more than 4 years ago | (#32141598)

Except that NOTHING points to this TV adding this yellow to help dynamic range or finer tuning so to speak, and technically, it won't do either.

What it does do is extend the gamut to include like 1-2% (at most) more colors, but ONLY IF THE SOURCE MATERIAL IS RECORDED IN THOSE 4 COLORS.

It's simple. Yellow to us is now RGB: 255, 255, 0 (or close to that). To utilize the increased gamut of a 4 color TV, it would have to be recorded as RGBY: 0, 0, 0, 255. And even that wouldn't be the same "color" as 255,255,0.

Your post shows a fundamental lack of understanding about colors.

time to wait (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32141356)

Time to wait for all the /.ers who don't actually understand colour theory pipe up with comments of how 3 colors is more than enough for everything simply because it was a design choice that was made several decades ago.

Re:time to wait (1)

jcr (53032) | more than 4 years ago | (#32141454)

12-bit color should be enough for anybody!

-jcr

Re:time to wait (1)

jjoelc (1589361) | more than 4 years ago | (#32141676)

While I agree with your statement.. I would also point out that there were specific reasons for that design choice... Even mathematical proofs behind those choices.

Technology has brought us better ("purer") phosphors (I use the term generically, I know LCD displays don't use phosphors anymore) which have increased the gamut range in newer displays. I think we are getting to that tipping point where simply throwing more information on the screen (wider gamut, higher resolution, higher frame rates, etc) is going to give less and less of a perceptual return for the effort.

Especially while watching American Idol...

AVSforum take on it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32141376)

Just click here

Re:AVSforum take on it (0, Redundant)

DinDaddy (1168147) | more than 4 years ago | (#32141446)

No link.

Re:AVSforum take on it (1)

ddillman (267710) | more than 4 years ago | (#32141494)

When you say "Just click here" it's customary to include a link to click on.

Re:AVSforum take on it (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32141530)

here [avsforum.com]

Re:AVSforum take on it (1)

jjoelc (1589361) | more than 4 years ago | (#32141682)

They look an awful lot like /.

seems they are having an identical argument over it also... How odd.

sounds (1)

fred911 (83970) | more than 4 years ago | (#32141430)

To be as real as quoting extrapolated mega pixels to sell digital cameras.

Review (3, Funny)

Concerned Onlooker (473481) | more than 4 years ago | (#32141444)

"While you can read a glowing review of it here...."

Is that supposed to be some kind of joke?

Re:Review (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32141674)

There are four lights!

RGB, not YUV? (1)

rpieket (1728198) | more than 4 years ago | (#32141450)

"all the source material for this set is produced in 3-color RGB" Is that true? I'm no expert, but is the signal not YUV? Does that make a difference? Has anyone seen a side by side comparison in person?

Re:RGB, not YUV? (1)

rpieket (1728198) | more than 4 years ago | (#32141546)

After rummaging though some documentation, I found that the HDTV format named "REC 709" specifies colors in YUV. The conversion algorithm from YUV to RGB contains three clip instructions, which means that information is lost in the conversion. In other words, there are colors in the YUV gamut that fall outside of RGB. Am I wrong?

Try This Experiment With Color Gamuts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32141472)

Using Photoshop or The Gimp, open an RGB or Camera RAW photograph that has a lot of saturated reds and blues.

Now convert that RGB file to a CMYK file.

Convert it back to RGB.

You'll notice that because RGB has a wider color gamut than CMYK, the highly saturated colors of the RGB file with become subdued and muddy when converted to CMYK. You'll also notice that they don't return to the image when you convert that CMYK file to an RGB file.

So as far as this TV is concerned, you can throw any current video standard at it, from broadcast to Blu-Ray to whatever and you will never get any higher color gamut than the original source, which was engineered for RGB in/out. You'd have to have an entire pipeline from production to consumer based on RGBY to get a better image on this TV than on an RGB model.

Like the old saying goes, garbage in, garbage out. This TV is just a bunch of hype to separate videophiles from their money. Just like the $400 wooden stereo knobs, $125 Monster HDMI cables and $1,000 one-way Ethernet cables.

Re:Try This Experiment With Color Gamuts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32141542)

You'd have to have an entire pipeline from production to consumer based on RGBY to get a better image on this TV than on an RGB model.

Not true. If the yellow can be used to better represent a true color than just the red/green it can be translated by the set. There are most certainly colors that can be tweaked in the RGB schema for a more realistic result. RGB is far from complete.

So source material (1)

DinDaddy (1168147) | more than 4 years ago | (#32141474)

As the FS says, "all the source material for this set is produced in 3-color RGB".

So while you might get an improved gamut with this, it won't be accurate color reproduction. Same with the LED sets that advertise things like "123% of televisions gamut". No way to accurately map that color onto your existing source media well.

Re:So source material (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 4 years ago | (#32141734)

"123% of televisions gamut". No way to accurately map that color onto your existing source media well.

Actually, there is, with the new high-gamut color systems now commonly supported by things like camcorders and Blu-Ray players. Or your computer - I mean nobody would ever hook up a computer to a large LCD display, right?

What's wrong? (5, Interesting)

rm999 (775449) | more than 4 years ago | (#32141498)

Representing yellow with a mix of green and red is already a hack. What's wrong with software determining that the color of a pixel is yellow and actually lighting up a yellow light?

Maybe a yellow light looks more convincing than a red and green light right next to each other. I'd want to see for myself before making blanket judgments.

I haven't seen it, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32141502)

Their marketing material actually made a lot of sense. They claim that by adding the yellow subpixel, they can increase the contrast of the display. Previously, a yellow pixel was made by displaying both the red and green subpixels at the same time. These are both pretty dark colors. In order to make the yellow they produced vibrant, the screen had to have the backlight on very bright. This means that the blacks became washed out. With the yellow subpixel, the display needs less backlight to produce a bright yellow, thus they can dim the backlight and produce equally bright images. Producing deep blacks is one of the primary problems with LCD displays, so this is a pretty nice advance if it works. The review you linked to seems to indicate that the method they are using did end up working, so it's probably not hype.

Open Mind (2, Insightful)

gone.fishing (213219) | more than 4 years ago | (#32141510)

At first blush it appears to be hype but I am trying to keep an open mind because of something that happened to me when I saw my first HD TV picture. I was of the opinion that HD couldn't be that much better than SD. Shortly after I saw my first HD images I was ready to admit that I was wrong. From the moment I laid eyes on HD I knew there was a whole new world out there! I am now a certifiable HD snob. I don't know what I did before but I do know I watched less TV.

I haven't seen one of the new TVs yet to day I think it makes a difference or not. I will know, and probably rather quickly when I see it if I believe it or not. The first place I will look is at white/black interfaces. That should tell me a lot.

I really do hope it is hype. I think the 47" TV is a little too big to be moved into the bedroom.

Pure hype (1)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 4 years ago | (#32141520)

As many others have pointed out, it doesn't matter how many primary colors the set is capable of displaying if the signal only uses three. This reminds me of a scanner I saw about ten years or so ago that was capable of recording scans in a 48-bit mode, if the software was capable of using the extra bits. If (and only if) you looked very closely at the text on the box, you'd see a note that few, if any scanner packages supported 48-bit color. It also didn't tell you that it was highly unlikely that any scanner software would ever support that, because 32-bit color could already encode more colors than the human eye could distinguish. It's possible, I suppose, that there's some kind of scientific use for such a thing, but I doubt that consumer-grade software will ever need it. I suspect that this New! Improved! Shiny! technology is just more of the same.

It does work (2, Informative)

psyopper (1135153) | more than 4 years ago | (#32141524)

First - if it's working correctly you shouldn't even notice it. Second, Sanyo has been doing this for a few years in their projectors. The yellow panel helps warm up the color range and keep your tv's backlight from getting too far in the blue range. Read Sanyo's whitepaper: http://us.sanyo.com/shared/docs/QuaDrive_SANYO_WhitePaper08.pdf [sanyo.com] Alternatively try searching for Sanyo Quadrive

It *could* be good (4, Informative)

__david__ (45671) | more than 4 years ago | (#32141536)

First, check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gamut [wikipedia.org] for reference. The sample gamut picture in the top right shows a typical CRT--lets assume for the sake of argument that LCDs are similar.

If you add a yellow LED to that it just isn't going to add much. The yellow part of the spectrum is already fairly well represented.

*But* if they also change the hue of the green LED toward the blue spectrum then it has a good chance of really opening up the gamut.

The people saying RGB is enough don't understand chromaticity--go look for gamut plots of your favorite output devices and see how little of the full spectrum of colors they can actually reproduce. Printers are especially embarrassing. Your eyes can really see a whole lot of color detail.

Color space (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32141538)

The RGB values you send to your TV are according to a specific standard, and by definition cover some theoretical gamut in color space. It is unlikely that you emitter (i.e., TV) exactly covers the same color gamut in color space. Most likely, it only covers a subset. By adding an extra color a larger portion of the theoretical input gamut can be covered. So theoretically, it is possible to get better color fidelity.

Seems like the audiophile's dilemma (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32141548)

When you use better gear at home than any recording studio on the planet uses, you're wasting money.

The difference between stereo and surround sound? (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 4 years ago | (#32141580)

Some people believe that since we have just two ears that stereo sound is enough. Others, on the other hand, believe the experience to be enhanced with 5.x surround sound systems.

I have not seen the results of this 4th yellow pixel display, but I might guess that there comes with it a newer and better enhancement over traditional RGB output. One might believe that since the eyes can only see combinations of red, green and blue light, that display devices only need to produce light of those colors. But perhaps there is something to be added by a yellow pixel even if yellow is the blending of green and red light. But if that's true, then we will also see cyan and magenta lighted enhancements to follow I think...

Re:The difference between stereo and surround soun (1)

macraig (621737) | more than 4 years ago | (#32141630)

What you just said might as well have been doublespeak. It says nothing at all. Why bother?

It's real, here's why (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32141606)

The discrete R,G,B pixels on your monitor give out discrete, finite waveforms. Think of a Fourier transform frequency analysis with 3 spikes. now, our eyes have red, green, and blue cones, so you'd think that would be enough, right? -

wrong. look at any place lit by an older (or cheaper) fluorescent light. they have worse band gaps in the frequencies of light that they let off, and they start to give headaches. this is because peoples' R,G,B cones actually overlap the wavelengths they percieve. whereas the discrete R,G,B pixels in your TV are, as I said, rather narrow.

So enter yellow. yellow was a good choice: it's mid-way between red and green. (red + blue = purple, green + blue = teal). It helps to fill in that gap, even with source material captured with discrete R,G,B technology. But, speaking of that, those overlap a lot more than your TV does. there's little filters that cover each of the tiny pixels on the sensors, and those let in more than the narrow range of light than is reproduced on your TV. so technically speaking, this DOES help you to perceive things, that are there in the source, that normal TV technology isn't capable of reproducing/

the only question IMO is how wide this yellow is - does it overlap the red and the green? if we had a teal that overlapped the green and blue, then we'd have even better quality.

Hype for higher profit margins (1)

macraig (621737) | more than 4 years ago | (#32141614)

"It sounds more like hype to extract a higher profit margin...."

Oh, you mean like a 240 Hertz refresh rate, when the actual changes to the product cost virtually nothing? Or "LED" TVs that aren't driven by LEDs at all but merely backlit by them?

If you show it, can I see it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32141626)

I would have thought that red-green-blue was optimal because they correspond to the sensitive peaks of the three varieties of cone cells in the human eye. Does an extra pixel colour really provide any extra information if you are not one of the rare people with a mutation that adds an extra cell type in your eye that makes you tetrachromatic?

(I'm suddenly curious though if people who have been raised on watching RGB screens while growing up end up wiring their brains differently than those who look at real light ... *runs off to read*)

For the Birds (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32141634)

It's for the birds. They see a wider color spectrum than us.

4th pixel = WIN (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32141648)

You haven't seem the Simpsons until you've seen it on a Quattron.

Yellow is the "gay" color? (3, Funny)

seanvaandering (604658) | more than 4 years ago | (#32141668)

Right?

/obscure? Hopefully not for the /. crowd...

Re:Yellow is the "gay" color? (1)

cstacy (534252) | more than 4 years ago | (#32141712)

Right?

Ohhh, My!

As a printer by trade... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32141670)

I'd like to know why CMYK wouldn't be better?

It works for printers (2, Insightful)

Sivar (316343) | more than 4 years ago | (#32141706)

Digital images are displayed in RGB, yes.

But colors are printed in CMYK (Cyan Magenta Yellow Black), and you'll notice that the best photo inkjet printers have more than just those four color cartridges. They often have the four plus "photo cyan", "photo magenta", etc. and it does make a huge difference.

As you know, some colors cannot be accurately expressed in CMYK, nor can some in RGB (even though theoretically any color is possible, but theory is not reality in this case).

While the extra color may or may not make a big difference, there is at least precedent indicating that the idea is sound.

Submitter fail. (4, Insightful)

blair1q (305137) | more than 4 years ago | (#32141732)

"And I laugh at how you are supposed to see the advantages of 4-color technology in ads on your 3-color sets at home as you watch their commercials."

But the script of the commercial is written almost entirely with deference to that fact.

The estimable Mr. Takei tells you, while you're no doubt ogling his adam's apple instead of listening, that he can't actually show you the difference itself, but, "I can show you this," wherupon he looks at the screen and gives his review in a single, somewhat gaudily overacted word.

I'm not sure how anyone misses that, since his behavior is utterly bizarre without the concept of telling-not-showing being in play.

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