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HP: New display technology to make colors 'jump off the screen'

It worked with DreamWorks on technology for various product lines

April 16, 2008 12:00 PM ET

Computerworld - Hewlett-Packard Co. is planning to deploy a new color display technology it is said can display 1 billion colors, making them far more vibrant and real, across its product lines.

The technology was developed by HP and DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. and is intended to ensure that colors used in movies are consistent throughout the production process and even in printing.

HP says that the technology improves upon today's widely used displays, which offer 24-bit color, making 16.7 million colors available per pixel. The company plans to raise the color display to 30-bit, which can offer 1 billion colors per pixel. The product is called the HP DreamColor display, and it follows a two-year collaboration with between the computer maker and the animation studio.

The display was announced Tuesday at the National Association of Broadcasters conference in Las Vegas.

HP is using display technology that incorporates a graphics card from ATI Technologies Inc., a company acquired last year by Advanced Micro Devices Inc., that supports 30-bit color displays. It also incorporates a new LED backlight technology in its LCD screen that makes blacks blacker and whites whiter, according to Jeff Wood, director of product marketing at HP.

Wood claimed that viewers will "see red like you have never seen before; blues and greens that just jump off the screen."

HP's product won't be ready until later this summer, and while it has been initially targeted at workstations, its display technology "can be used on any myriad of systems today," said Wood. He said plans call for making this display technology available across a range of consumer and business products.

HP isn't widely showing its technology, and Chris Chinnock, president of research firm Insight Media Inc., is among those waiting to see it. But he said the 30-bit shouldn't really increase the color gamut of a display or the black levels of the display.

What 30-bit should do is give much better gradation between those levels, said Chinnock. In very subtle changes of color, such as a sky displayed on an LCD television, "you will see these bands across the sky -- discrete steps in the shades of blue, and that's because 24-bit is not quite enough bit depth to cover all this fine gradations of color." But with 30-bit color, "you can basically smooth that all ... you won't see that banding, that contouring, they call it.

"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 said.



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