Understanding LED televisions

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For this second article dedicated to LED screen technologies, we're taking a look at colour fidelity, in particular the wide gamut concept, which is synonymous with richer and more intense colours.

 

France, the source of unified colour

Over a hundred years ago, industrialists who were working with colour wanted to answer one very simple question. If I paint my car blue and I want someone on the other side of the planet to use exactly the same blue, how can I tell them which blue it is? If I say ocean blue, is this the same blue if I'm on the Atlantic or on a beach on the Pacific? In short, a completely unambiguous solution had to be found for the project to describe each colour precisely. An international commission made up of French, Belgian, Canadian and Swiss scientists was created in 1913. At the time, the influence of French as a technical language was much higher than it is today, so this commission was named the CIE or Commission Internationale de l’Eclairage, the International Lighting Commission in English. In 1931, it developed a diagram that represented all the colours that could be seen by the human eye, accompanied by a coding system which described each shade. This diagram, named CIE-1931, is still used today by televisions to describe the range of colours which can be displayed. For each appliance, a triangle is drawn on the diagram and all the colours inside the triangle may be displayed by the appliance. So of course, the larger the triangle the more colours may be displayed; this produces the wide gamut concept, which describes a wider colour range.

 

Richer colours, but why?

With the development of LED backlighting, televisions now produce amazing performances when they display rich and precise colours. Wide gamut televisions know more colours, up to several billion. But our films and video games still need to be able to generate then, which today they can. For cinema, films are made in a much wider colour gamut than televisions can display. With the arrival of Ultra HD Blu-rays, we can now see the full scope of these much richer colours, just as they were filmed. This is especially true for green, which has unrivalled intensity and precision. Certain streaming services such as Netflix also offer wide gamut content and once again, if you don't have a suitable television, you won't be able to enjoy them. Without going that far, if you have a reflex camera, it's menu will probably suggest that you use a wider colour gamut than the usual electronic standard, named sRGB. If you have a television screen able to produce these colours, you'll be able to see your photos in a new light, especially if it's an Ultra HD screen!

 

Set for the future

Over and beyond the wide gamut name, the extent of the spectrum of colours known by a television is important for future certifications. So, to have Ultra HD Premium quality certification, among other elements televisions must have a colour gamut that covers at least 90% of the DCI-P3 spectrum, the colour gamut currently applied in the cinema industry in the United States. For example, this is the case for the Xclusive.X1, with over 96% of the DCI-P3 spectrum covered !