LG Opens Door to ‘Better Pixels’ With Quantum Dot 4KTV

New display to debut at CES 2015
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SEOUL—TV as we know it doesn’t cover the same color range as the human eye. LG is taking a step closer to display technology that covers more of it. The Korean electronics giant said it will unveil a new quantum dot 4K Ultra HD TV at CES 2015, coming up in Las Vegas Jan. 6-9. LG says quantum dot technology displays a “wider color palette and improved color saturation than conventional LCD TVs.”

Five out of five 3M scientists agree that quantum dot display technology renders a wider color palette, or “gamut” in engineering terms.

“Quantum dot-enabled liquid crystal displays provide one alternative with potential to meet Rec. 2020’s standard color gamut while taking advantage of existing manufacturing capacity. We examined how existing QD and LCD technology could be optimized to meet the Rec. 2020 color standard. Our analysis revealed that up to 94 percent gamut coverage can be achieved,” James Thielen, James Hills, Ph.D.; John Van Derlofske, Ph.D.; Dave Lamb, Ph.D.; and Art Lathrop said in a paper presented at the Society of Motion Picture Engineers Technical Conference in Hollywood in October.

Rec. 2020 is the recommendation of the International Telecommunications Union for the broadcast standard of ultra high-definition, 4KTV. Among other things, Rec. 2020 specifies a color gamut that is 150 percent of NTSC, or the standard used for analog TV. The 3M team said quantum dots may be the most “practical solution” to achieving a wider color gamut in TV displays.

The rise of higher than high-definition TV has sparked a parallel exploration of expanding the traditional color gamut of the medium and its displays. “Better pixels,” as Dolby’s Pat Griffis summarizes display technology that accommodates a wider color gamut and luminance range. This concept of better pixels is favored in general by TV and movie engineers, who question the discernibility of higher resolutions in the typical First World household, Carolyn Giardina of The Hollywood Reporter notes.

LG says its technology works by “harnessing nano crystals” ranging in size from 2 to 10 nanometers. “Each dot emits a different color depending on its size. By adding a film of quantum dots in front of the LCD backlight, picture color reproduction rate and overall brightness are significantly improved.”

The company said quantum dot film technology increased the color accuracy and “extra-wide viewing angles” of its in-plane switching LCD displays by 30 percent. It said the technology also contains “no cadmium or any other toxic heavy metals.”

LG says its quantum dot 4K displays will become available in 2015.

(Gamut range illustration from “Quantum Dots and Rec. 2020—Bringing the Color of Tomorrow Closer to Reality Today,” by James Thielen, James Hills, Ph.D.; John Van Derlofske, Ph.D.; Dave Lamb, Ph.D.; and Art Lathrop.)