It’s all very well having these fancy new 4K OLED TVs and whatnot, but even with these jaw-dropping displays most kinds of media are held back by one huge problem – they’re still encoded with just 8 bits per colour channel, and that only amounts to around 16 million colors.
That probably sounds like a lot – and indeed it is – but there’s always room for improvement. And the good news is that the technology to make things better already exists. So-called ‘deep colour encoding’, which offers up to 12 bits per color channel, can produce much sharper images as it removes one of the major annoyances of TV purists like us – the extremely irritating ‘colour banding’ that you’ll notice when you get up close to the screen.
Often, colour banding isn’t caused by the hardware itself, as many new TVs and projectors already support deep colour. The real problem lies with the media, and the fact that most of it only offers 8 bits per colour.
Well, that’s how it stands presently anyway, but it could soon change now that the people at Folded Space have announced a new technology that should allow for “deep colour encoding” that’s backwards-compatible with exiting media like Blu-rays. The company suggests that its technology will allow studios to release Blu-rays that are compatible with today’s most advanced televisions displays, which allow for much deeper colour application than what’s available. For one thing, this is great news for anyone with access to an OLED or 4K TV.
That’s not to say it’s ready to rock ‘n’ roll just yet. Folded Space’s algorithm still needs to be introduced to existing hardware, something that would need to be done via a software update. And this means those Blu-ray players will need some way of getting access to it, most likely over the web. But once its done, Folded Space ensures us that we”ll be able to enjoy a “much greater colour range of recently announced displays”.
“In comparison to other proposed content delivery methods that require large amounts of valuable bandwidth or supplementary streams to deliver 12-bit color information, DCE is an extremely efficient process requiring very little additional bandwidth or processing power to deliver true 12-bit equivalent color to compatible displays,” said the company in its press release.
In other words, what Folded Space have come up with is a new encoding technology, but one that needs to be widely adopted by the industry before we’re to see any benefit from it.