Translation of articles that appeared in the Electronics column of “Rating – Israel’s TV and Entertainment Newspaper” - Number 198 pp 84-88, 2 April 2003 by Ran Levy
Colors you see from here
The next revolution has arrived: An Israeli start-up has developed color technology that expands the existing color gamut and delivers picture quality at levels previously unknown
“There hasn’t been a revolution like this since the transition from black-and-white to color television” declares Simon Lewis, VP Marketing of Genoa, as we leave the demo room in Herzlia.
This statement, pure PR, is at least 90% justified. Genoa, the Israeli start-up company, has simply reinvented color for televisions, LCD displays and front- and back-projection systems. Its stack of patents, 30 of which have already been filed in the US, Europe and Japan, raises the level of the viewing experience from a sense of just good enough (55%) to very good (90%). Naturally, the use of these descriptions isn’t circumstantial. Televisions, projectors and LCD displays dish up to our eyes just 55% of the gamut of shades and colors that the eye is capable of distinguishing. Genoa’s software – that can be integrated into most types of display (except for Plasma screens) – raises the threshold of colors that these devices can display to some 90% of what the eye can see – with resolution, brightness and color efficiency that are identical to those of the film used to capture movies. And this, in simple terms, is how they do it: all types of color displays ever made are based on the simple principle of producing color from three “primary” colors: red, green and blue (RGB). The color spectrum that this combination can reproduce is represented by a triangle with three axes – two color axes and a brightness (luminance) axis. The higher the triangle, the greater the number of colors, however the brightness is decreased. “All the existing display technologies are based on this game of give and take, and cannot escape the limits of the triangle” explains Genoa founder, Ilan Ben-David, to laymen. Within the 45% of colors that we lose you find, inter al., colors like gold, turquoise and scarlet. Your televisions quite simply can’t produce these colors.
Genoa’s engineers freed themselves from the constraints of RGB and developed a color display based on four, five and, in the future, six primary colors. The five-pointed pentagon currently includes the following five colors: the known red, green and blue, with the addition of two new primaries – cyan and yellow. This color pyramid will be enlarged at the end of the development to six primaries with the addition of purple.
I sampled the new technology. It was exciting
It’s time to stop telling colorful stories and to check out what it really does. In Genoa’s darkened demo room stand two DLP front projectors, an obsolete model made by the Japanese company Plus; the colors they normally put out are faded, lacking in depth and life. On the left – a regular projector; on the right – a projector that’s been upgraded and includes Genoa’s engine.
Ben-David and Lewis take charge of the comparison and in parallel on both screens run the adventure film, “Six Days, Seven Nights”, showing a scene in which Harrison Ford and his partner are vacationing on the beach. Let’s pick up some details for comparison – the partner is stretched out on sun bed covered with a white and yellow sheet; above her, a cloudy blue sky; beneath her, a strip of sand; in the background a ridge of hills covered in green vegetation; and out at sea floats a sailing boat with some writing on one of the sails.
The standard projector washes the eye with imitation color – the yellow is pale, the blue of the sky is weak, the white is grayed, the sand has a violetish tint and the green of the vegetation is reminiscent of khaki. It’s not even close to the true colors. The eyes shift to the right-hand side and the movie is filled with life and color. Silently, I swore a solemn oath to myself that I’d never before seen such colors on a home theater system or in a movie theater. The yellow is joyous, bright and rich, the sky is really blue, the white is white and the colorful is colorful. The wide color gamut makes the mind imagine that the right-hand picture, the one Genoa processed, has more details than the left-hand picture. It’s a sweet illusion to which you can become addicted – as far as details and physical resolution and lines of data are concerned, there’s no difference between the two projectors. The color development is what makes the difference, and that’s why its easier to make out the writing on the sail.
I must admit – at first I thought something was broken. Anyone who’s got used to seeing the restricted color gamut over years of watching television and cinema refuses, at first, to believe the sight of Genoa’s color gamut. The colors seem too bold, saturated and exaggerated. But the truth is tough, and Ben-David is really in control of the closest thing to the truth, with a skill rating of 90%.
The test of the beach was somewhat simple. I asked to see “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” – a wide-ranging and colorful Chinese epic that, as if at a fashion show, feasts your eyes upon the wide range of colors of mandarin weaving. The camera caresses the heroine’s red dress, covered with patches of artistic embroidery – there’s a golden snake that twists on a black background, and strips of beige decorated with delicate blue and red embroidery. Everything you could need to assess the nuances of shade and color. We took a step to the left (nothing political) and the faded Plus was its same old self. The gold appeared as an indefinable shade of violetish copper. On the right, after Genoa’s dedicated handling, real gold as you’ve never seen it. On the left, the red color of the dress gets a an undefined bright orangey shade. Shift your eyes to the right, and the sublime truth is uncovered – a multi-layered red-bordeau color that makes the viewer want to reach out and touch the folds of the virtual dress. And we still haven’t said a word about the faithful skin tones, almost like real-life.
It would appear that I am running out of clich?s to describe the amazing and the stunning, so let’s close with a slogan – seeing is believing. We’ll meet up in two years time in a showroom near you.