So last night I was perusing the 12,000 channels that DirecTV beams into my home trying to find something - ANYTHING to watch that wasn't called something like, "Dancing with the Biggest Bachelor Star Looser Next Top Model Celebrity Apprentice Big Brother Housewives of American Idol Survivor Marry my Top Chef Dad in Hell's Kitchen Plus 8".... sigh...
Anyway, while somehow successfully avoiding "reality" TV, I came across a commercial for the new Sharp Aquos LED LCD TV with QuadPixel technology. Introduced at the giant Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show in January and hitting the market this spring, the engineers at Sharp have added a yellow pixel to the familiar red, green and blue pixels.
Apparently the yellow that is created when red and green pixels hook up at full power was not saturated enough for Sharp, so they are giving yellow it's very own pixel living right there in between the blue and red pixels. According to Sharp, this expands the gamut from millions of colors to over a trillion. They expect RGBY technology to become the standard in the HDTV industry.
There is a lot of debate as to how many colors the human eye can see. It is generally believed to be under 10 million colors. But every human eye is different, and the truth is, nobody really knows how many colors we can see. The 24-bit computer monitor you are reading this on right now is capable of displaying 16,777,216 colors. I know this because I counted them while you were sleeping last night. And by the way, you should really clean up those dirty dishes piling up in your kitchen sink.
So if humans can only discern between a few million colors, why should our HDTVs show us more than a trillion colors? Isn't that overkill? Well, Sharp claims that the addition of the yellow pixel gives you better yellow and gold tones along with better Caribbean blue hues as well. This is important if you are watching a movie about a treasure chest of gold coins that washes up along a Jamaican beach.
Gillette didn't stop at three blades in their razors, and Sharp says it's not stopping at four pixels in their TVs. They are working on technology that will bring the two subtractive colors left out in the cold, cyan and magenta, to the big screen as well. Rest assured that Sharp is not the only company working on expanded gamut HDTVs. Manufacturers like Mitsubishi and Samsung are also working to perfect 48-bit RGBCMY screens as well.
I wonder what all this R&D in the television world means to computer displays and ultimately digital imaging. With the emergence of tablet computers like Apple's iPad, the entire concept of the desktop computer is being turned upside down. No matter how you slice it, we are on the verge of a technological revolution. Combine all these extra pixels with the emerging 3D TVs that are hitting the market, and we are in for a truly immersive viewing experience.
Now I ask you, do you REALLY need to see CBS's Big Brother 19 in high-gamut 48 bit 3-D color? Of course I would argue that I don't need to see pretentious, back stabbing, twenty-somethings living together in any color, in any dimension.