Quantum Dots everywhere in Berlin!

Last week I had the opportunity to travel to Berlin to attend the IFA consumer electronics trade show and present at the QLED/HDR10 Summit. It was an amazing experience and I’m happy to share my learnings with you.

QLED/HDR10 Summit (#2)

This was the second time I have been invited to speak at the QLED/HDR10 Summit (read my post from the Hollywood event in June). The Berlin event was held at the beautiful Waldorf Astoria hotel, and thanks to the work of Samsung and Insight Media, the room was packed. I estimated well over 100 people were in attendance to learn about state of the art (and future) technology for quantum dot displays, and the HDR10 ecosystem (challenges, advantages, promise). The full-day event on the first day of IFA mimicked the two-day event held earlier in the year, so check out my prior post to get the technical details about what was presented.

One interesting topic that came up during the panel discussion which I was involved in was viewer metamerism. The quick explanation of viewer metamerism is that you and I may see colors differently depending on the makeup of our color-differentiating system (the rods & cones in our eyes). This also means that we might see it differently than the director or colorist intended. It makes sense that slight changes in our retinal response (see figure) could make us observe colors differently. When you have a broad light source (the sun for example) everyone sees the same color. But when you start to look at pure colors that’s when you might see teal and I might see blue (if your green cones are more sensitive than mine). The concern among audience members was this: If QDs continue to get more narrow in their emission peak, will viewer metamerism become a problem with wide color gamut displays? It’s a known problem with laser-based displays, but will it impact QLED displays? More questions were raised than answers, but clearly it’s a topic that requires more discussion. My take on it is this: It’s not a problem (yet) with QD displays, and if it does become a problem, it’s much easier to broaden QD emission peaks than it is to narrow them. Which sales pitch would you rather make? 1. “This TV has superb color!” or 2. “This TV has good color, and when you are watching it with your friends you’ll all see the same thing because it has minimal viewer metamerism so you’ll see exactly what the director intended.” I’m willing to bet sales pitch #1 is an easier sell, but clearly many of the display experts in the audience thought it was important enough to raise the questions. Only time will tell if viewer metamerism will become a problem in QLED displays, but for now it’s safe to say quantum dots are a technology that’s here to stay (see supporting evidence based on the number of QD TVs at IFA).

IFA Consumer Electronics Showcase

At first I started to count the number of TVs on display at IFA that contain QDs, but I quickly lost count. It seems that nearly every display manufacturer is adopting QDs for their TVs, and promoting it proudly. Brands like TCL, Hisense, Philips, and Grundig, all had QLED TVs on display, and obviously Samsung was showing their QLED TVs and computer monitors. Probably the most intriguing was Samsung’s curved monitor with a ridiculously wide wide aspect ratio (32:9). It’s quite an impressive monitor that would take the place of the dual monitor setup that most of us use. Marketed as a gaming monitor, the price point is probably well above what most people will pay for their work monitor, but it’s still fun to look at! No need for two monitors anymore!

As impressive as all of the quantum dot displays were (and they were impressive), some of the other technology was just as awe-inspiring. As I walked through the halls of the city-sized Messe Berlin complex, I was continuously reminded of how far consumer electronics have come in our life – smart clothes washers, interactive robots, virtual reality, immersive audio, the list goes on. I look forward to what the future has in store.

A big thanks to Samsung and Insight Media for inviting me to speak at an excellent QLED/HDR10 Summit. I look forward to the next one!

Thanks for reading!

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