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Technicolor Color Certification Program: Marketing hype or genuine consumer benefit?

Marco Chiappetta | Aug. 12, 2014
Think back to the last time you bought a brightly colored item online: A laptop, a smartphone, a pair of shoes, a hat. How closely did the item displayed on your computer monitor match the color of the item you eventually unboxed? If you've ever purchased a blue sweater only to discover on delivery that it's actually violet, or if you're constantly frustrated because the pictures on your camera display look so different than they do on your computer monitor, you'll appreciate what Technicolor Color Certification promises to deliver.

According to its developers, a monitor that passes the Technicolor Certification Program must meet minimum gamut coordinate requirements that ensure the display is capable of delivering an accurate sRGB color gamut. Its white point (color temperature) must fall within 10 percent of 6505 degrees Kelvin, with minimum luminance of 150cd/m2 (candela per square meter), and gamma must equal 2.2 (+/- 0.1). Gamma decoding values basically determine a monitor's ability to properly display shadow detail in an sRGB image. You can read more about the Technicolor specification at the company's website.

Technicolor contributed its film, DVD, and Blu-ray color-conversion know-how to the development of the certification program. Portrait Displays tests displays that OEMs submit in its state-of-the-art color lab, calibrating them if necessary to meet the spec. Portrait Displays also provides color-management and display control software that the OEMs can bundle with their certified products.

Presented in Technicolor

Technicolor Color Certified systems and displays can operate in multiple modes, in case users want to calibrate the display to a different color gamut (such as Adobe RGB), or if they just have a personal preference. The user can switch modes using onscreen controls or with Portrait Displays' Chroma Tune software running on their host PC (note that OEMs license the software and might brand it differently).

The standard is designed for consumer devices, not professional equipment (the pros use other color-management tools). Toshiba's Satellite P55t was the first consumer laptop to earn Technicolor Color certification, and HP's Envy (23- and 24-inch models) and Pavilion (13 models ranging from 20- to 27 inches) were the first displays to win certification.

Peddie is bullish on the Technicolor Color Certified program. "Just like the industry moved to color, to high-res, to LCD," Peddie said. "All monitor suppliers will have to get certified or people won't buy their monitors if they think they can't get an accurate representation of what they're buying online."


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