TV Viewers: You’re Only Seeing Half of What You Paid For!


If you’re like me, you enjoy watching TV, particularly on today’s ultra-high definition (UHD) displays. Watching live sports is particularly enjoyable – a huge leap forward from the last generation of Full HD or FHD displays.

Still, it may come as a surprise to learn that, even when watching 4K content on today’s UHD displays, you’re actually only seeing half of the colors that were captured at the source.

That’s right, even the most advanced TVs in the market today can only reproduce a fraction of the colors the film maker, photographer or videographer intended for you to see.

It’s like looking at Pebble Beach through a knothole.

Now, imagine what it would be like if you could see 100% of the colors that were originally captured. Films would be more immersive, games more realistic, family movies more memorable. Well, with quantum dot technology, we are now on a path to seeing that happen for the first time in television history.

In 1931, the Commission Internationale de l’Eclairage (in English, the International Commission on Illumination) ratified the CIE RGB color space, often referred to as “the CIE.”

In the history of color science, it was a watershed moment. For the first time, a widely accepted mapping of the complete visual gamut – essentially, the scientific expression of eyesight – was created.

With this definition in place, the competition began to create systems that could reproduce the full CIE specification, a goal for color scientists ever since.

It’s a goal that has remained largely out of reach for more than 85 years. But with the application of quantum dots in digital displays, and the recent introduction of a new color standard called Rec.2020, the path to full CIE has suddenly become clearer than ever.

In tblog charthe CIE diagram to the left, the colors within the horseshoe-like shape represent all of the colors the human eye can see.

The triangles represent the color spaces of the most widely adopted display standards in use today, and how much of the visible spectrum they can reproduce.

As an example, most of today’s televisions are designed to display the Rec. 709 color space, the specification of high-definition TV, which represents only 34% of the full visible spectrum.

So, despite how stunning that new HD or even 4K TV might appear, it’s really only capable of showing about a third of the colors we’re capable of seeing with our naked eye.

Imagine if that were true of sound. If your music player dropped a third of the frequencies your ear could hear in nature, you’d notice. You might just get a bit upset. And you’d probably pay more for something that gave you what you knew you were missing. It happened in audio a few generations ago, and now it’s about to happen in video.

New standards will help set a new, higher bar. In 2012, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) defined an updated set of standards for UHD TV that included a wider color gamut called Rec. 2020. This gamut is twice the area of the Rec. 709 gamut (HDTV standard) and represents almost two-thirds of what the human eye can see.

And for a lot of reasons I will save for a future blog post, quantum dots offer the only commercially viable path to making that happen.

This noticeable increase in display capability will give content producers the power to create stunning new experiences, and unprecedented levels of visual clarity.

The grass really is greener with Quantum Dots, and we’re going to show you how.


By John Volkmann, Chief Marketing Officer, QD Vision

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