HP One Billion Colors Display

Hewlett-Packard and DreamWorks Animation have announced a new display technology, which is capable of displaying one billion colors. In a unique, two-year collaboration, the two companies have developed the “HP DreamColor” display. According to the companies, their new display will help solve a longstanding problem for digital artists, who often are forced to choose between consistent color accuracy and the affordability of the products they use.

Vyomesh (VJ) Joshi - HP
Vyomesh (VJ) Joshi
HP’s executive vice president
of Imaging and Printing Group
(Credit: HP)

One billion colors sounds truly impressive is, in fact, a significant boost from today’s widely used 24-bit color monitors, which are capable of displaying 16.7 million colors per pixel. The yet unreleased display will be the first to offer a true 30-bit color technology, incorporated in an LED-backlit LCD. According to HP, this combination guarantees to provide accurate, consistent and predictable color at all stages of the production process. “For decades, storytellers have struggled to manage color in an accurate and consistent manner,” said Jeffrey Katzenberg, Chief Executive Officer and Director, DreamWorks Animation. “Quite simply, when we make a movie about a big, green ogre, our concern is that our ogre is the same color of green throughout the film. HP has truly changed the game with its new display, giving DreamWorks Animation full visual fidelity across the board for the first time.”

The announcement regarding the new display was made at the recent National Association of Broadcasters Conference in Las Vegas. The companies also revealed that the upcoming display, which will become available for purchase sometime this summer, will cost much less than today’s high-end studio-quality LCD displays. This product was specially designed for the broadcast, film/video post-production, animation, and graphic arts fields, where it is crucial to obtain rich and consistent colors – e.g. darker blacks and true whites. “In the digital world, the media and entertainment industry oftentimes sets the pace for technology innovation,” said Todd Bradley, Executive Vice President of the Personal Systems Group at HP. “The HP DreamColor display is a disruptive technology inspired by users, like DreamWorks Animation, that challenge HP to deliver exciting innovations that truly impact our customers’ businesses.”

A scene from Shrek the Third created by DreamWorks studios (Credit: DreamWorks)
A scene from Shrek the Third
created by DreamWorks studios –
color plays an important role in
animation (Credit: DreamWorks)

The new technology is not limited to displays – HP and DreamWorks have developed a whole family of “DreamColor” products, including printers. These products will all come integrated with a special graphics card from AMDATI, which supports 30-bit color displays. According to HP, we should expect no less than pictures “jumping off the screen”. “HP has delivered a breakthrough technology that will show immediate results,” said Crawford Del Prete, Executive Vice President at Global Research, IDC. “The HP DreamColor display is an important innovation that represents a significant collaboration between HP and a core partner. This technology will have broad appeal, allowing customers to deliver results never before possible without very high-end systems.”

Some, however, doubt that the new technology will deliver a dramatic improvement in performance. Chris Chinnock, President of the research firm “Insight Media”, is one of those who are skeptical about HP’s claims. He says that while the 30-bit resolution will allow for better gradation between the color levels, the technology will not be able to increase the color gamut of a display. “It will make the displays much more accurate in being able to display colors and grayscale properly,” said Chinnock. “Whether the colors look more vibrant and saturated will depend more on the backlight technology HP uses.” He also added that since most of today’s media content is generated for 24-bit quality, it is inevitable that the DreamColor technology be applied to source devices as well.

TFOT has previously covered several innovative display technologies including Aquavision’s 57-inch waterproof LCD television, which was recently showcased at the ISE show in Amsterdam, Sony’s “XEL-1” – the first commercial OLED TV to go on sale, and our special coverage of the displays presented at this year’s CeBIT fair in Hannover, Germany.

You can find more information regarding the DreamColor technology here. A video discussing the technology can be foudn here (including “Shrek the Third” trailer).

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