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Sharp LCD Display with 1,000,000:1 Contrast Ratio 184

Posted by Hemos
from the easy-on-the-eyes dept.
i4u writes "Sharp announces in Japan that it has developed a LCD display with the world's highest contrast ratio of 1,000,000:1. The Sharp ASV Premium LCD display panel has a size of 37 inch, 1920x1080 pixel resolution and a brightness of 500cd/m2. Sharp aims the Mega Contrast LCD display at the professional TV and movie production industry. For comparison the Canon and Toshiba developed SED TV has 100,000:1 contrast ratio."
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Sharp LCD Display with 1,000,000:1 Contrast Ratio

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  • WARNING (Score:5, Funny)

    by LiquidCoooled (634315) on Monday October 03, 2005 @07:40AM (#13702937) Homepage Journal
    Do not look into the Sharp LCD Display with your remaining eye.
  • by bariswheel (854806) on Monday October 03, 2005 @07:41AM (#13702941) Homepage
    I don't think my eyes are good enough for that...I'll have to have another talk with my lasik surgeon that cheap rat bastard...
    • by timeOday (582209) on Monday October 03, 2005 @09:03AM (#13703321)
      And how am I even supposed to know how much improvement this provides over my current monitor when the article does not provide a screenshot of the new monitor!? Let's face it, there hasn't been any improvement in displays during my lifetime. Every time I see a TV commercial for the latest high-tech TV, its brightness and clarity is at most 50% better than the TV I have now, subjectively, and that just isn't worth my hard-earned cash. Not when I can put the money where it really makes a difference, like expensive wine, high-end audio equipment, and Nike shoes.
  • Article (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 03, 2005 @07:43AM (#13702951)
    Sharp announces that it has developed a LCD display with the world's highest contrast ratio of 1,000,000:1.

    The Sharp ASV Premium LCD display panel has a size of 37 inch, 1920x1080 pixel resolution and a brightness of 500cd/m2.
    Sharp aims the Mega Contrast LCD display at the professional TV and movie production industry. Message to Sharp: I also want a LCD display that works well in bright rooms. No word on when this new Sharp ASV Premium LCD displays will be available.
    The highest contrast ratio we reported so far about was 100,000:1 reached by a SED TV developed by Canon and Toshiba.
    More details in this Sharp press-release (Japanese).

    110 words, the rest is ads. What an absolutely useless website.
    • Re:Article (Score:5, Funny)

      by screwballicus (313964) on Monday October 03, 2005 @07:49AM (#13702968)
      110 words, the rest is ads. What an absolutely useless website.

      This ignores the fact that these 110 words are themselves basically an ad for the product. My thoughts were something more along the lines of "a 110 word ad, paid for by a plethora of ads surrounding it. What an absolutely useless website."
  • Contrast Ratio (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mysqlrocks (783488) on Monday October 03, 2005 @07:45AM (#13702958) Homepage Journal
    Doesn't this start to become meaningless at a certain point? I mean, is 1,000,000:1 really any noticeably better than 100,000:1?
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Oh, it is ten times better, it really is.
    • Re:Contrast Ratio (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ergo98 (9391)
      Doesn't this start to become meaningless at a certain point? I mean, is 1,000,000:1 really any noticeably better than 100,000:1?

      It's very meaningful from a technology accessibility perspective (the "trickle down" theory) - right now at the consumer level sets and computer monitors are offering with 400:1 to 600:1 contrast ratios. As they develop technologies at the extreme ends, it tends to push down prior accomplishments - this might be the sort of achievement that yields us economical 2000:1 displays.
      • I suppose the "trickle-down" is good, but is this really going to help the production industry? Do we really want the video editors struggling to deal with subtlety at a level almost no one else is ever going to see?
        • You mean like crawling around in caves on the X-files?

          Or the video games I have where I didn't know there was a hole in the ground because my TV isn't bright enough in daylight?

          I hate these developers.
    • Re:Contrast Ratio (Score:5, Informative)

      by jong99 (848508) on Monday October 03, 2005 @07:56AM (#13703011)
      The eye has a maximum contrast ratio of 1,000,000:1 []. There may be little perceptable difference between the two, but the closer the better.
      • "Dynamic Range

        At any given instant, the retina can resolve a contrast ratio of around 100:1 (about 6 1/2 stops). As soon as your eye moves (saccades) it re-adjusts its exposure both chemically and by adjusting the iris. Hence, over time, you can resolve a contrast ratio of about 1,000,000:1 (about 20 stops)."

        So the eye is just the light sensing device and your brain can analyse the composited images -that all have a different focus - with a perception of up to 1 000 000:1...

        then an addendum

    • Re:Contrast Ratio (Score:4, Informative)

      by Mprx (82435) on Monday October 03, 2005 @07:59AM (#13703021)
      No, because the human eye sees brightness on a log scale, so we have a very large brightness sensitivity range. The contrast ratio of staring directly at the sun: the dimmest light we can see is about 1e13:1, so this display has a long way to go to duplicate contrasts visible IRL.
      • Re:Contrast Ratio (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        But we are talking about contrast here. Put the the sun next to the dimmest light we can see and I bet the eye can't see the that dimmest light again.
      • Inaccurate Analysis (Score:5, Informative)

        by brunes69 (86786) <slashdot AT keirstead DOT org> on Monday October 03, 2005 @09:16AM (#13703382) Homepage
        You don't care about the min and max here, because the amount of brightness your eye can discern depends on the dialation of your pupil. What matters is the amount you can discern at any given pupil dialation, which is much mushc smaller.

        For example, Go into a brightly lit room and try to differentiate between 10 subtle shades of black. Or go into a dimly lit room and try to discern between 10 subtle shades of white.
        • by jackbird (721605)
          Yes, but the point of these monitors is to enable film compositors to work at something approaching the contrast ratio of the final product. More and more pipelines are switching from 8 and 16 bits per channel color measured on arbitrary scales to either logarithmic or 16/32 bit per channel floating point color, thanks in large part to Paul Debevec's work [] with high dynamic range imaging. In this scenario, the monitor itself clamps the brightness to an unacceptably narrow range, and this monitor is a solut
          • Yeah, if you used one of these monitors on your average home computer, photos and gradients would look horrible. The amount of banding would probably turn a really nice image into something that looks like a 256 colour GIF.
            • I very much doubt that. It's not that the 8 bpc "true color" gamut is expanded to a wider dynamic range by the monitor, it's that the monitor has a wider gamut of which the 8-bit gamut is a subset. In other words, #FFFFFF would look about the same, but isn't as bright as the monitor can go.

              Otherwise, artists would have to switch monitors to work on LDR/8-bpc images.

              • But most monitors I know of don't adjust the brightness to match the colour mode. Are you saying that this one does?
                • I'm saying that this monitor, when receiving a truecolor RGB white signal, won't make a pixel as bright as it possibly can. It's strange territory, because I imagine you need a custom display card and driver at this point, but would expect that to change as the technology gets rolled out to studios.
        • What matters is the amount you can discern at any given pupil dialation

          Here, take this small, interesting, blue pill. Your eyes will become dialated, and you will be able to perceive all 64,000,000 colors eminating from the monitor at fantastic contrast ratios. Several hours later, when you can move again, you notice that the monitor is a vintage 1981 Sears black and white television.
        • by DrJimbo (594231)
          brunes69 said:

          What matters is the amount you can discern at any given pupil dialation, which is much [much] smaller.

          For electronic picture frame applications you may be correct, but as one of the many people who want to watch movies on their electronic displays, I want to be able to see the brightly lit scenes and the dark scenes in movies without having to get up and fiddle with the brightness and contrast of my 500:1 LCD display.

          I've been using this display for two years and I love it to death

      • The contrast ratio of staring directly at the sun: the dimmest light we can see is about 1e13:1, so this display has a long way to go to duplicate contrasts visible IRL.

        I really don't think you're going to see warnings not to stare directly at a TV screen anytime soon.

        "Remember kids, just take pictures of the TV and look at those, or you'll burn out your retinas!!"
    • It can be handy (Score:5, Interesting)

      by DrYak (748999) on Monday October 03, 2005 @08:11AM (#13703078) Homepage
      Maybe not for the average gaming home application.

      But in medecine/radiology it can be really useful : makes it easier to spot small subtle differences between to shades of gray on a X-ray pic, when these are located on a larger scale.

      i.e.: when an X-ray image has ~1000 shades of gray, and clinically significant information lies in features that are only 2 or 3 levels appart.

      You must either use a high contrast display (like this one, or "special for radiology high contrast CRT", or "printed on transparent film and then displayed with ultra-bright backlight")
      Or play a lot with contrast & lightning parameters until selected window makes the differences less subtle.
      Or even better, use both technique at once. ...

      Also, I'm sure the pr0n industy will find a way to do something useful out of such screens.
      • While the different gray shades are all well and good if you have to push your picture down to 72 to 100 dpi then don't you lose the advantage of that color differentiation by filtering out the subtle objects? (I guess you could zoom in but that has its own problems.)
        • It depends on the source.
          - CAT-Scan slice can be as small as 512x512 (so there's no fundamental problem of using it on a 72dpi display)
          (and i'm only mentionning X-ray produced pictures. There are stuff from nuclear medicine produce picture with very low resolution due to scathering and everything is just about shades of gray... or rather shade of pseudo-color mapping)
          - On the other side, mamographies can be as huge (sorry no pun intended) as 4096x4096
          (and resolution is critical because you have to spot smal
      • This will be a real boon to the medical industry, especially Dr. Nick. "And those smudges that look like my fingerprints... that's trauma!"
        • Where are those mod points when you need them ? ...and student's best friend during radiology exams : the sign of the fingerprints-scrathes-on-the-radiology-film....
      • I enjoy my porn as much as the next man but I'm tired of people working it in completely unrelated subjects. The porn industry doesn't have any particular use for a high contrast monitor...

        Why in god's name would you assume they'd do something interesting with it? What were you thinking? That maybe they'd send us each a high contrast monitor so we can watch the new "HIGH CONTRAST" porn movies they have in the works?

      • I'm sure the pr0n industy will find a way to do something useful out of such screens.

        Holy shit dude! Look at the contrast on those nipples!

    • No, it's bullshit. Marketing departments basically pull the numbers for contrast ratio out of their collective arse.
    • Film has greater dynamic range and a larger gamut than PC monitors and it shows. When trying to edit motion picture effects images often HAVE to be 16 bits per pixel to accomodate this fact. While the difference is not noticable on today's PC monitors, where the editing takes place, the difference is very noticable once the film has been transfered to film and projected.

      Current output devices don't have the same range in any respect as the human eye, we have a lot of improvements that can be made to image o
    • Re:Contrast Ratio (Score:3, Informative)

      by feyhunde (700477)
      It is meaningless! Ex-monitor R&D guy here.

      But not for sensitivity.

      The 1 million to one ratio has been beat by OLED screens that have an infinite Contrast ratio. But what folks need to know is there are are in fact 2 contrast ratios. Essentially you can call it dark and light room contrast. For Dark room, it's simple, maximum brightness/maximum darkness as measured in a photonics unit. . Usually you do it over 9 points on the screen and mix min brightness and min darkness for an average. When you l

    • Does being outside on a sunny day seem the same as being indoors with the lights on at night?
  • Black? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by R2P2 (193577) on Monday October 03, 2005 @07:48AM (#13702967)
    I wonder if this thing can do black that actually looks black, or if it just gets the high contrast ratio by being able to produce whites brighter than the sun?
    • Re:Black? (Score:4, Informative)

      by Janek Kozicki (722688) on Monday October 03, 2005 @07:54AM (#13702997) Journal
      I wonder if this thing can do black that actually looks black, or if it just gets the high contrast ratio by being able to produce whites brighter than the sun?

      it has a brightness of 500cd/m2. still too light for me, but much better than 1000cd/m2 which are far more copmmon.

      and by the way: original announcement []. Why They are posting links to such crap websites in the original story?
      • Re:Black? (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Orgasmatron (8103)
        Slashdot relies on user submitted stories.

        This one was submitted by a user named "i4u" and the links were to (drum roll please),

        You visit a shitty site on the way to the press release, and i4u gets impressions on their banners.
      • Re:Black? (Score:4, Informative)

        by Blue-Footed Boobie (799209) on Monday October 03, 2005 @09:09AM (#13703346)
        Wait, +5 Informative? Sorry to drop the ball on this guy - but he has no clue what he is talking about.

        500cd/m2 brightness is pretty nice for an LCD display - since most of the LCD display's on the market right now are 250cd/m2 - 300cd/m2. To get a brightness of 1000cd/m2 you are looking at a Plasma Display, which is useless as a computer monitor (too large generally, burn-in issues, and even higher-resolution Plasma displays make text look like shit).

        So, 1000cd/m2 brightness it NOT common in LCD Displays currently.

        • yep, sorry. I checked and you are right. I confused popular contrast ratio 1000:1 with brightness. So my parent poster was right - that LCD will glare too much.

          heh, speak with confidence on /. and you get moderated up.
      • Do you mean, whiter than white? I think I've heard that somewhere already.
    • 500cd/m2 max brightness implies .5ucd/m2 min brightness. I'd say that's pretty dim. Even if you figure the specs are inflated 10x from normal every-day contrast ratios you would see on real images that's 5ucd/m2, nice and dark. Which is pretty amazing, and way better than the claimed 1000:1 contrast ratio you can get today, and the real 300:1 or so that these panels deliver at sane brightnesses. Of course, the real news would be if this panel could also offer 10-12bits per channel of real actual comes-o
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 03, 2005 @07:51AM (#13702985)
    "#000000" = black hole; do not touch screen or you'll lose a finger as not even light can escape a black pixel on this display

    "#ffffff" = surface of sun; again, do not touch. In fact, wear these protective goggles.
  • by CaptnMArk (9003) put it on the outside of Hotblack Desiato's ship.
  • How about "manufacturer releases LCD display where pixels don't commit suicide as soon as you look at the screen sideways"

    Or "manufacturer releases LCD display where black is black, not grayish"

    Or "manufacturer releases LCD display that is actually usable in a heavily lit environment"

    Even for movie professionals I'd guess that this is at least as important as being able to see sweat pores on an actress' skin :P

    Smash hit ball matching game for pc & mac, Atlantis: []
    Currently #2 on
    • This is about that (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Craig Ringer (302899)
      Actually, this article is about one of the points you raised. The display has fairly high pixel dimensions, but since it's a very large display it's not actually that high resolution. It's nothing fancy in that regard - no pores on skin here.

      What it *does* do, according to the spec, is solve the greyish blacks and muddy whites problem. Comprehensively. That's what a contrast ratio means - it's the ratio in brightness between the brightest white and darkest black the display can produce /at the same time/.
    • How about "manufacturer releases LCD display where pixels don't commit suicide as soon as you look at the screen sideways"

      They don't. They just hang around feeling miserable and burst into tears if you look at them "that way".
    • "Or "manufacturer releases LCD display where black is black, not grayish""

      Check out this monitor []. I just baught one. The screen is shiney and reflective like a CRT. i dont know how they did it, but the black on this monitor is true jet back. so black that you get glare if you have a light behind you.

      Theres no glass infront of it either. I dont know what kind of crazy technology they used but it was worth every penny.
  • by ProppaT (557551) on Monday October 03, 2005 @07:56AM (#13703010) Homepage
    (1) 1x10^6:1 LCD screen + (1) monkey holding a magnifying glass = "Tartar Word Domination!!!"

    You could frickin' blow up the moon with that laser.
  • Talking about LCD technology
    GIS Monitor has an excellent article about new planar 3D monitors [] (picture included []), they are stereoscopic 3D LCD monitors based on an entirely new stereoscopic technology. From the article: The device is particularly well-suited for geospatial image analysts and photogrammetrists, who require 3D viewing to discern depth in the imagery and interpret spatial details.

    In addition to this (posted on [] ), the /. crowd will be happy to learn that According to Plan
  • by smartalix (84502) < minus poet> on Monday October 03, 2005 @08:14AM (#13703096) Homepage
    This is a bullshit spec, as are 90% of all specifications given with LCD, Plasma, and any other non-CRT display technology in existence. (The CRT guys woulds lie too if their tech weren't so mature.)

    Contrast ratio, brightness, and screen-performance information are generated by suing highly tailored test patterns and performance benchmarks that have little to do with the real image, but a lot to do with published specs.

    For example, depending on how the technology responds, the contrast ratio test may consist of a white square, box, or dot on a black field, or a measured sequence of black-to-white screens, with the measured difference in brightness given as the contrast ratio.

    The best analogy is speaker specs, which unless they are linked to recognized performance specifications (like frequency response given as plus/minus decibel variance from 20 to 20,000 Hz), are completely misleading. A speaker advertised as delivering 500 Watts may only be able to handle that much power as a transient, and even then a speaker can only "deliver" the power fed into it, which means you also need a 500-W amplifier.

    A very good example was at the latest Society for Information Display ( show. Samsung had both the largest LCD and the largest Plasma in existence at the show, and although the brightness and contrast "specs" for the Plasma was greater, the LCD obviously had a brighter and sharper image in operation. True, the blacks were better in the Plasma, but that was the only visible distinction to the discerning viewer and only shows how little a guarantor of performance a high contrast rating is.

    This news is certainly encouraging information, and will certainly result in a better-performing display appearing on our shelves soon. But to look at any given spec and shout "halleluia!" is being overly generous.
    • This is probably some junk where in order to display an all white screen it maxes out the brightness, in order to display an all black screen, it simply turns the backlight off, and they then take that difference in brightness and call that their contrast ratio. Tell me how well it does on an ANSI checkerboard pattern and then we'll start talking.
  • I have _never_ seen a display that was both big enough to be useful _and_ accurate.
  • Well, if a panel can display a truly black pixel next to a moderately bright one, doesn't it mean that its contrast ratio is infinite?

    How useful is this measure, really?
    • I think the point is that LCDs don't produce a black pixel, because they work by blocking the light from a lamp behind the screen with a thin film of liquid crystal. They always allow some light through, hence the grey appearance of cheap LCDs
      • Sure, precicely.

        Maybe they've found a way to block the light better and they may have a blacker pixel, but does it mean you can have suddenly very dark features on screen and very bright ones and they are both visible at the same time.

        A better measure of screen quality might be the number of perceptibly different grey levels this screen is capable of delivering, AND the ratio between the darkest and the brightest of them. I suspect most humans would have a hard time differencing screens that can do more tha
  • by Sulka (4250) <> on Monday October 03, 2005 @08:39AM (#13703202) Homepage Journal
    I saw a photo of the screen on a website and the contrast looks exactly like my current screen. Where's the improvement?
  • That must use dilithium crystals to push warp plasma through etched conduits to cause a graviton compression wave creating a warp field bubble at each black pixel, forming a microscopic black hole ensuring the pixel is perfectly black.

    Seriously though, I close my eyes and things aren't perfectly black, so I'm not sure 10^6:1 is all that useful.
  • by John Jorsett (171560) on Monday October 03, 2005 @09:07AM (#13703335)
    Does any else get the mental image of turning on this monitor and suddenly having every square inch of one's face pierced by tiny little pixel-sized laser beams?
  • Siggraph 2004 (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Ann Coulter (614889) on Monday October 03, 2005 @09:17AM (#13703385) Journal
    There was a paper presented in SIGGRAPH 2004 about two High Dynamic Range Display Systems [] (PDF*). One system was a projector shining into a LCD. It is theoretically possible to have a contrast ratio of c*d:1 where the projector has a ratio of c:1 and the LCD has a ratio of d:1. I have found a projector that has a ratio 7000:1 and a LCD television with a ratio of 900:1. Combining them could possibly give a contrast ratio of 6,300,000:1. I believe there is some merit in having c and d be close to each other, so this theoretical 6.3 million to one ratio should be taken with a mountain of salt.

    It should be duely noted that the projector-LCD system presented in the link has a measured ratio of about 54,000:1 as opposed to the theoretical 200,000:1 ratio. However, I plan to build a $3000 display with a ratio of about 70,000:1. The projector-LCD systems have the advantage of being able to take high precision illumination values. You effectively double the amount of information that can be fed into the display by having two "screens" (the projector and the LCD). Perhaps those who want to experiment with HDR imaging and do not mind a bit of bluring should consider building one of these $1500-$5000 setups, as opposed to those 100,000:1 or 1,000,000:1 displays.

    For those who have sunglasses, happy hacking.

    *I would have given a HTML link if the Authors' links [] were functional.

  • by mjeppsen (621795) on Monday October 03, 2005 @09:37AM (#13703534) Homepage
    Hmm, "LCD Display"...that must be something like a "GUI User Interface". Can we mod the original story as "Redundant"? :-)

    Matthew Jeppsen
  • by Richard Kirk (535523) on Monday October 03, 2005 @10:07AM (#13703759)
    Bright sunlight is about 120 000 lux. We can see some detail in starlight at about 0.0003 lux. If you want to cover the entire range of the eye, then about 10^9:1 ought to do it.

    This, of course, is rather silly. We cannot see simultaneous contrast of a billion to one. Our retina is not black, so the light will scatter around in the eye, and give us a flare signal of about a percent or so. We are used to rejecting a low light level like that. That would give us a sensible contrast ratio of 100:1. But this is not the whole story either - if you have a scene on a monitor with only 100:1 contrast, it might look OK in office lighting, but the shadows will look very 'milky' in a darkened room.

    In our experience, people using monitors or digital projectors to simulate film will need something like a 1500:1 contrast ratio. There seems to be a point somewhere a bit beneath 2000:1 where the blacks come convincing, and the viewer will accept the simulation. There is some point about 1200:1 where the blacks stop looking convincing, and start looking grey.

    If you are trying to match a display to a projector, it is nice to have another factor of two, so you can match the absolute brightness without having to go to the display white. You may want to get this because you sometimes have to drive the RGB channels beyond the white point to get bright and clean looking pastel colours.

    You will want to have a continuous tone curve. Field-emission devices will have a cube-type power law down to a point, and then they will cut off exponentially. This may give good-looking greys down to a point, and then plunge into black, crushing all the shadow detail. That does not look as nasty as 'milky' shadows, but it is not that much better.

    So - about 3500:1 is good for simulating colour film. However, colour film is pretty dim - 16 ft-lamberts (50 cd/m2) is standard. Images look a lot more colourful if they are brighter. If you want really high-contrast images, you need something like a LCD monitor with a variable LED blacklight, which gives you your local 100:1 contrast and a huge overall contrast ratio. Have a look at [].

    • by mjeppsen (621795) on Monday October 03, 2005 @10:31AM (#13703904) Homepage
      For the record, startup company Brightside recently introduced a 200,000:1 "extreme dynamic range" (EDR) display. Tom's Hardware stated that the 200,000:1 contrast ratio was basically "infinite". They have a few display screen images for comparison, and the differences are striking: 19.html []
      Specs on the Brightside display are 37", 3000 cd/m2 brightness rating, 1920x1080 resolution. Yours for the low price of just $49,000.

      As to contrast ratio I wonder how 1,000,000:1 is even measureable. As the parent states, 3500:1 is comparable to color film. I also read somewhere that 70mm film has a contrast ratio of approximately 1000:1. YMMV...

      Matthew Jeppsen
    • Another useful way to look at it is in terms of film stops, where 1 stop is log2(ratio). Print film reproduces about 7 stops between the darkest and lightest exposures. The eye can see around 9 stops in a single normally lit scene (without varying the iris opening or changing adaptation, and assuming enough light for rods & cones), or about 500:1 contrast ratio. 1,000,000:1 ratio would be 20 stops, which is over the top for anything I can think of. If the brightness is in the normal LCD backlight ra
  • Does this help with the issues LCDs have with subtle differences in dark colors?

    There is no pain like Doom 3 on an LCD unless you turn the brightness up to where black isn't black. The only complaint I have about my LCD is the color deffinition between the very dark colors.

  • That sounds like the odds of whether or not these specs are accurate...
  • by aarku (151823) on Monday October 03, 2005 @03:52PM (#13706906) Journal
    Most people have the wrong idea about contrast ratio. It doesn't neccesarily mean the display is extra bright. It most likely means the black is really friggen black. It is the ratio of the brightness of the white pixel to the brightness of the black pixel. Ever notice how black isn't really black on an LCD display, it's kind of lit up? That's a low contrast ratio for you. Read more at wikipedia [].

Gee, Toto, I don't think we're in Kansas anymore.