You’ve probably seen the advertisements, or you might even own one of these Quattron displays that boasts brighter and more true-to-life images thanks to the addition of a yellow subpixel to the typical red, green, and blue ones. This technology makes the creation of LCD screens easier because pixels line up side-by-side rather than being in a triangular shape, but do they really improve the overall clarity of an image? Do Quattron displays really make a difference?
Unfortunately, the technology currently being used to film, edit, and master video is generally done on a three-color system of red, green, and blue. The yellow pixel in this case only adds to the brightness of an image. This may make it appear more vibrant, but it doesn’t create any truer of a representation of the original footage.
You do get a better dynamic contrast because there’s an extra subpixel focusing almost entirely on adding brightness to parts of an image, giving what can be perceived as a better image, but there really isn’t any difference in how it represents colors. In fact, a detailed analysis by Maximum PC of the Quattron displays revealed that there was really no difference in how color is represented across the two technologies.
This is where video and print media differ. Printed media uses a different color system to represent images on paper. Where video uses light to represent images, print media doesn’t.
Until the way video is shot and edited is changed dramatically to include a fourth color, this extra pixel doesn’t do much other than add to the dynamic contrast and make displays easier to manufacturer. If you’re considering buying one of these expensive televisions, you might want to consider the television’s other features and throw out the “wow” of a fourth color before making a buying decision.