Why is it better to buy a TV with wide color gamut and HDR?

When choosing a new TV, considering the inclusion of Wide Color Gamut/WCG/ and HDR technology can greatly enhance your viewing experience, especially if you enjoy vibrant and lifelike visuals. WCG ensures that the TV can reproduce a broader range of colors, providing more accuracy and richness to the content you watch. With HDR, you’ll witness images that come alive with increased brightness, deeper contrast, and more details in both bright highlights and dark shadows.

When comparing different TVs, pay attention to the specific HDR format supported by each model. HDR10 is the most widely used and commonly available format, offering an improvement over standard dynamic range content. HDR10+ and Dolby Vision are also popular formats, each with their own dynamic metadata that adjusts the image on a scene-by-scene basis for even more precision and visual impact.

As technology evolves, new TV models might even come equipped with advanced features like mini-LED or OLED panels, offering better local dimming and superior contrast ratios. Additionally, keep an eye out for features such as variable refresh rates, higher refresh rates (e.g., 120Hz), and HDMI 2.1 ports that can support higher bandwidths and features like eARC and ALLM.

wide color gamut
photo: Pixabay

Before making a final decision, consider factors like your budget, the TV’s size and resolution, and your specific needs. If you’re a fan of gaming, a TV with low input lag and gaming-oriented features could be beneficial. If you’re an avid movie enthusiast, a larger screen with superior picture quality may be more appealing.

Finally, keep in mind that content availability matters when it comes to fully enjoying the benefits of WCG and HDR. While streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Disney+ offer an increasing amount of HDR content, not all TV shows and movies are available in these formats. Nonetheless, as the industry moves forward, more content will likely be produced and released in HDR, making it a worthwhile investment for the future.

Wide Color Gamut (WCG) in TVs refers to the range of colors that a television can accurately display. TVs with WCG can show more colors than older color spaces, resulting in more vibrant and saturated colors, as well as a wider range of color choices when viewing content. Various color spaces, including Rec. 2020, DCI-P3, Adobe RGB, and Rec. 709, incorporate WCG. TVs with WCG often come with High Dynamic Range (HDR) capabilities, enhancing image quality by representing a more natural illumination of content. HDR TVs have higher brightness, contrast, and color capabilities, enabling brighter highlights, darker shadows, and vivid colors. They also offer increased depth perception and a more immersive viewing experience. Some HDR formats, such as HDR10, HDR10+, HLG10, and PQ10, preserve image quality when the dynamic range is less than what was originally created. HDR technology is usually found in widescreen TVs and enhances the overall viewing experience. When considering a new TV, choosing one with WCG and HDR can significantly improve the image quality and color representation.

D65 is the agreed standard for the color of white, serving as a reference point for content creators and display manufacturers. Technically, it is a widely used standard for illumination defined by the CIE (International Commission on Illumination) and belongs to the D series of illuminants, which aim to represent open-air lighting conditions in different regions worldwide. D65 is approximately equivalent to the average midday light in Europe, earning it the name “daylight illuminant.” It is the standard used for defining the color of white in both Europe and North America. Conceptually, D65 can be visualized as the color of a piece of white paper viewed under daylight conditions at midday.

D65 is associated with a correlated color temperature of 6500K, often referred to as the color temperature of white. As white light is composed of red, green, and blue components, D65 can also be represented as a specific point within the triangle forming any particular color gamut. In calibration processes, when setting up a TV, selecting the color temperature closest to D65 (sometimes labeled as D65 or using terms like Warm or Warm2 by manufacturers) is recommended. Professional calibrators, when calibrating the grayscale using white balance or color temperature controls, aim to align the color of white as closely as possible to D65. This ensures accurate and consistent color representation on the display.

Color gamut refers to the range of colors a TV or projector can display, and a larger gamut allows for a better and more vibrant picture. It is also known as a color space. The combination of hue and saturation axes in a color gamut creates a two-dimensional graph representing available colors. However, color is not only about hue and saturation but also includes luminance or brightness, which adds a third dimension to the graph, forming what is called color volume. HDR (High Dynamic Range) increases overall brightness, making the color volume larger.

Wider color gamuts and higher dynamic ranges are achieved when content is created using new standards. It’s essential to have the color and dynamic range present in the original content, as post-processing cannot recover information that wasn’t there to begin with. If brightness and colors are excessively enhanced, the result can be washed-out or over-saturated images, especially if the creative process was limited to the Rec. 709 standard. HDR, with its wider color gamut and higher dynamic range, enables more realistic images with intricate details that standard TVs cannot achieve through post-processing.

Analogously, think of a photo file: starting with a large image and reducing its size maintains the detail and quality, but enlarging a small image leads to distortion and pixelation. Similarly, by increasing the dynamic range and color gamut during content creation and preserving these qualities throughout distribution, the content can be mapped down to the TV without stretching it from an older standard, thereby preserving the artist’s original creative intent. Therefore, it is essential to match your TV settings to the content you are watching.

The term “color gamut” refers to the entire range of colors that a display can reproduce. In a WCG display, this range is significantly larger, enabling it to show more vibrant and lifelike colors.

Conventional displays typically use the sRGB color gamut, which is a standard color space used for most content on the internet and in digital media. While sRGB is sufficient for many applications, it has limitations in reproducing certain colors that exist in the real world, particularly intense and saturated colors.

To address this limitation, WCG displays use wider color spaces like DCI-P3 or Rec. 2020, which encompass a larger range of colors. These color spaces cover more of the visible spectrum of colors, allowing for more accurate and richer representations of colors found in nature and in high-quality images and videos.

WCG technology is particularly beneficial when viewing content that is specifically mastered for wide color gamut displays. It enhances the viewing experience by providing more realistic and captivating colors. However, to fully take advantage of WCG, the content being viewed must also be encoded with the wider color gamut in mind.

WCG displays are becoming increasingly common in high-end TVs, monitors, and mobile devices. As technology advances and content production adapts to wider color gamuts, WCG is expected to become more prevalent across various devices and media platforms.

Investing in a TV with wide color gamut (WCG) and HDR capabilities can significantly elevate your entertainment experience by delivering striking colors, improved contrast, and a more immersive visual feast. Taking the time to research and choose the right TV that meets your preferences and requirements will undoubtedly result in a more enjoyable and satisfying viewing journey.

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