Sharp creates true-hue five-colours-per-pixel LCD
Shows objects the way you see them
Sharp has developed a full HD LCD panel that mixes the hue of each pixel from a palette of five colours rather than the usual three. The result, the company claimed, is the ability to render faithfully the colour space of the unaided human eye.
Sharp's prototype display measures 60.5in (1.5m) in the diagonal and has a 1920 x 1080 resolution. Each one of those 2,073,600 pixels not only has the usual red, green and blue colour elements but also cyan and yellow sub-pixels too.
The extra colours extend the colour gamut to the point where it can reproduce more than 99 per cent of real surface colours as defined by the Pointer colour space, a standard for real surface colours derived from measurements of real-world colours from paints, inks, coloured paper, and other materials and pigments.
That allows the screen to accurately produce natural-looking pictures that are effectively "identical in appearance to real-world objects", Sharp claimed.
Its screen can show colours like sea water, brass and rose petals that conventional LCDs never get quite right, the firm added.
It also believes the screen's better for the environment. By being able to render colours more accurately, less backlight illumination is required to compensate for the three-colour LCD's more limited colour space. That, in turn, means a five-colour TV should consume less power than a three-colour one.
Sharp will demo the prototype at the Society for Information Display conference in San Antonio, Texas next week. The screen's not yet ready for commercial release, but Sharp said it plans to continue developing the panel with a view to bringing the technology to market. ®
Some of what you say reflects what I originally thought.
(Disclaimer: I am not an expert in this area, and the following is based on reading and considering what has been said in this thread).
Bear in mind that if the camera's sensors work *exactly* like the human eye, then a recorded result of something like R,G,B (50%, 50%, 0%) could not have come from "fake" yellow (red + green) because the green light would have partially stimulated the blue sensor, leading to the blue reading being greater than zero.
Of course, things get more complicated (I would guess) if the electronic device's "red", "green" and "blue" sensors have (e.g.) peak sensitivities at slightly different frequencies, differing levels of overlap and/or different responses.
Or perhaps the camera's sensor's characteristics have been slightly tweaked to allow/compensate for the fact that they would be reproduced with red, green and blue lights which- for reasons I gave above- cannot reproduce all colours that can be *sensed* or *recorded* with RGB sensors.
And what about entirely artificial pictures that were (e.g.) created from scratch inside a computer?
Bear in mind that all this talk of colour ultimately comes down to what the eye will perceive (or what we want it to perceive), and maintaining and reproducing that through one or more intermediate steps.
As I said, do *not* take the above as the words of an expert. But the fact I can get these issues from what one might think was a simple idea (the eye has three colour sensors, so we simply record and reproduce those three colours) shows that colour perception *is*- like others have said- quite complex.
@Colour theory is incredibly difficult.
Just one slight correction; human tetrachromancy is not an established fact, only a possible hypothesis - lots more work to be done there.
What new colours?
I've read all the comments, some of which are very helpful, and I can see how the introduction of Y and C emitters can get you some extra colours compared to a traditional RGB monitor. However, isn't it the case that all those extra colours are highly saturated colours that hardly ever occur in nature or in everyday life?
Meanwhile, the introduction of Y and C emitters doesn't help at all with displaying violet colours that RGB displays can't show and which really do occur, for example in flower petals ...
All well and good, BUT
As initially stated, if you feed the display with RGB data it won't change much. The RBG colourspace is less than complete, but with a RGB feed it's left to the screen to convert the colours. And who is gonna tell it that one particular green+red spot was supposed to be "pure" yellow, whereas that other was really supposed to be green+red? That's what I thought.
So unless you have a 5-colour process from start to finish, you're just replacing gaps in the gamut by errors in the resampling. I don't see it being a plus: instead of a consistent bias to which the brain can adapt, you introduce random inconsistencies. I'd bet the first impression is "wow, impressive colours!" immediately followed by "but it doesn't look quite right for some reason". That's until you get 5-colours TV transmission* of course.
The 5-colour thing also makes each pixel 66% larger (probably not a showstopper in the long run but I'd bet it's one of the reason why their demo 1920 x 1080 display is so gignormously huge).
*or whichever source you fancy
If you don't believe that a consistently imperfect gamut is better than random errors in colour resampling, make this simple experiment: take a technicolor movie and a crappy piece of TV show (let's say, Baywatch, for the abundance of red and fleshy tones). Watch one for a few minutes. At first the colours look weird, then you get used to it and reconstruct the real colourspace from what your brain knows (Baywatch swimsuits are red, bananas are yellow,...). Now switch to the other source. Ouch! It hurts, doesn't it? All these colours are waaaayyy off! But then, after a few minutes, it's all OK again! Switch back and forth a few times, and you'll understand why introducing random inconsistencies in colour rendition is way worst than having consistant errors.
That's why I don't think this new display technique will bring anything to the table unless there is a 5-colour feed to channel through it.