Did you read that headline in Seinfeld's voice? While contrast ratio, black level, and light output all rightly occupy the top of the list of specs one considers when purchasing a new display, color is often completely overlooked.
Good color reproduction usually won't make or break a display, but it can make one that's good into one that's great.
Yet for all its importance, it's rarely understood - and it's regularly done wrong.
Bulbs are so 20th century. You can gussy them up, charge a bunch of money for them, even call them fancy names (lamps), but the fact of the matter is, they're still basically light bulbs. Almost all new RPTVs and front projectors use UHP (ultrahigh pressure) lamps to create light. These lamps are fairly efficient for the light they put out but are very hot, costly, and don't last very long. One new technology that's aiming to replace the UHP monopoly is LED, or light-emitting diode.
If there is one thing that just screams "future" to me, it's lasers. Sure, they've been around since the 1960s, but come on—it's lasers! Right now, they can be found in your CD and DVD players, but a few companies are hoping to put them in your TV, as well.
If you scoured all of the details on the recent HDMI 1.3 release (and who didn't?), you may have noticed the inclusion of xvYCC and Deep Color. These are two different things that together will theoretically make displays' color more realistic. The short version is this: Deep Color increases the available bit depth for each color component, while xvYCC expands the overall color gamut. Sure they do, but why?
There's a whole lot of stuff that makes up a digital TV signal. Here's a primer on how it works.
In the beginning, there was analog television. You aimed the antenna, tuned in the channel, and then sat back to watch as the amplitude-modulated pictures flashed on the TV screen and the frequency-modulated audio blared forth from the speakers. Some time later, analog TV added color by shoehorning in a small signal with the necessary information amongst those amplitude- and frequency-modulated pictures and sounds.
How time flies. It seems like we’ve been talking about the transition to digital terrestrial television broadcasting forever—waiting for stations to light up the transmitters, watching as more and more high-definition programming appeared on our TV screens, and shopping for a new flat-screen HDTV for our family rooms.