Content creators respond as demand for UHD TV takes off: UPDATED

On this blog I've often written about the chicken and egg problem that exists between content creators, broadcasters and display makers. When it comes to next generation UHD video features like 4K resolution, wide color gamut and High Dynamic Range (HDR) these three groups have had a hard time agreeing. In the past, we’ve seen each side taking a wait-and-see approach with creators and broadcasters waiting to see more capable displays in the market while display makers looked for more content to become available before making compatible screens. That dynamic now appears to be changing rapidly, fueled by growth in China, changes in the way we consume content and the emergence new display technologies.

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Color, emotion and crowdsourcing?

Color is perhaps the most powerful tool that designers have to express emotion.

This is in part because colors and emotions have strong connections for all of us. Based on shared experiences, we’re all intuitively familiar with the association between the red glow of a fire and the feeling of “heat” or “danger.” Artists have long relied on these basic color associations to make us feel a variety of emotions in response to their work. Filmmakers, for example, know that adding a blue-ish tinge to a wintery scene can convey to their audience a sense of the icy temperatures that their characters must be experiencing (see: Fargo).

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Hollywood backs better pixels with new color standard

At CES this year the key message from nearly all the top TV brands was that better pixels– with richer colors, brighter brights and deeper blacks– are about to take the UHD TV viewing experience to new heights. TV makers talked up new technologies like Quantum Dots and even began to talk seriously about finding new ways to get content that’s optimized for all these new features into consumers hands so they can experience all the benefits.

Chief among these initiatives is a new organization that display makers are calling the UHD Alliance.

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CES 2015 Display wrap-up

For each of the past six years, I’ve spent the second week in January immersed in all things consumer electronics at the legendary CES trade show in Las Vegas. Each year there’s a theme or buzzword that seems to grip the show, resonating from the convention center through all the meeting rooms at hotels up and down the strip. In the time I’ve been going, it’s been everything from 3D to pre-iPad tablets to wearables. This year, for the first time in a long while, it was all about TV and the message from the major brands was focused on bringing UHD to life with better pixels. Talk of improved color gamuts, high dynamic range and technologies like Quantum Dots ruled the show.

These were my top three display takeaways from CES 2015:

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Designing a disruptive display for the ASUS Zenbook NX500

Earlier this year ASUS came to Nanosys and 3M with a pretty audacious idea for a new product. They were looking for a way to build an ultrabook without making any tradeoffs in display quality, battery life or form factor. Could we help them achieve this wild goal using a disruptive new display technology we’d been developing called Quantum Dots?

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Color, Consumers and Clicks

According to testing by Hubspot, you are 21% more likely to click on the red button than the green. Think about that for a second. That’s a meaningful difference for just about any type of organization– depending on the context that could be 21% more subscribers, 21% more downloads of an important white paper or even 21% more revenue. Just by changing the color of a button.

Color can have a powerful impact on us and marketers have long understood that consumers rely on color cues when making purchasing decisions.

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Better pixels coming to LCD, OLEDs still not easy to make

It’s mid-October, IFA’s in the rearview mirror, most of the holiday season products have been announced, and CES looms ahead in January. For those who follow display technology, this is a sort of hot-stove season– a great time to speculate about how everything we saw over the summer will play out in 2015. 

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Canon adds support for rec.2020 capture, brings next gen video a step closer to mainstream

One of the first questions that consumers have about next generation Ultra HD (UHD) video features like wide color gamut and high dynamic range is the availability of optimized content. Emerging display technologies like Quantum Dot LCD are making it possible to display a much wider, more lifelike range of color. But, without making optimized content available to watch, will these new display features add any real value?

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UHD actually means better pixels, not just more pixels

Resolution is only a small part of the UHD story.

That was my takeaway from Europe's massive late summer consumer electronics and broadcast trade shows IFA and IBC.

"UHD" is already a bit of a murky term but it has always been about resolution. Originally, it only meant 8K but marketers have evolved it to encompass just about any resolution beyond 1080P including true 4K and 3840x2160. That's about to change again and the definition is expanding this time to include not just more but better pixels. 

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Watching the World Cup finals this weekend? Your HDTV probably can't show off Messi's boots in all their bright blue glory

If you've been following the FIFA World Cup this summer you may have noticed many players wearing some seriously colorful cleats. These super saturated Sambas are part of a new line-up specially designed by Adidas for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. They are being worn by many of the game's top players like Argentina's Lionel Messi who will be wearing his bright blue boots during the finals this weekend.

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Pointer’s Gamut follow-up by TFT Central

Last summer I wrote a multi-part series here that looked at how much color gamut displays really need. In those articles I used the gamut of colors found in the natural world, as defined by Pointer, as a possible design goal for an ideal color display. Kid Jansen at TFT Central has followed-up on my piece with a much more detailed look at how several current color gamut standards and devices perform compared to Pointer’s gamut. He’s done some great analysis and it’s well worth reading, check it out here.

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How much color do displays really need? Part 4: Content Delivery

In the previous post in this series, I made the case for displays with hybrid, custom color gamuts as a great way to deliver coverage of Pointer's gamut as well as the most important broadcast standards. We can build the hardware today to support these large color gamuts so its seems like a great solution but there is a catch: nobody is broadcasting or distributing these large color gamuts today. So, are we going to have to wait for broadcasters and content creators to slowly catchup, much like we did with HDTV?

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