Monday, March 29, 2010

An Interesting Sales Pitch

Have you seen it? Mr. Sulu has begun pitching a new product and I have to say that the product should win the Dubious Technological Development award. You must have seen it. I have seen it twice in the hour that the television has been on this morning and I am still trying to sort it out.

He happily touts the introduction of yellow pixels to a television set that are supposed to make the creation of colors that are "impossible to reproduce using the standard RGB technology."

Hmmm… Okay, I’ll bite. In the words of my friend and mentor RuthAnn: "How do it know!?" Just how does the television know to turn on a yellow pixel? Last time I checked, television was till being transmitted in three color signals.

If you have never looked really closely at your television screen, get a magnifying glass and take a look at it. (It will have to be on to see what I am talking about.) You’ll If you can look at a part of the screen that is white you’ll notice that it isn’t really white. It’s actually made-up of oodles and scads of red, blue, and green dots (pixels – short for "picture cells") in a tight array covering the screen.

Basically (not to get too technical), what happens is this: camera scans the image to be transmitted; each scan is then broken down to three colors, red, blue, and green; these three images are then transmitted to your television set; the electronics in your television use one of a few different main systems to fire-off either a red, a green, or a blue pixel for at a level called for to reproduce the picture as originally scanned for each location on the screen based on what the original image looked like.

So, unless the mechanism defining the way images are captured, encoded, transmitted, and represented by your television set has changed the addition of a new color pixel in the array on your television set has no appreciable affect. How would the television even know to turn them on? The only thing I can think is they are turning them on by inferring that they should be on.

You see, unlike subtractive coloration (such as crayons, inks, or paints – the red, yellow, blue that pretty much everyone thinks of as "the primary colors") the primary colors for additive coloration (as displayed on TV Screens and Projection Television are red, blue, and green. If you don’t have a white wall and three colored flashlights, start any program that allows you to change the color of objects.

If you change the RGB values to the maximum setting for all three, the object will be white. If you change the red and blue to their maximum you will get magenta. Green and blue at their maximum will result in cyan. Red and green at their maximum will result in yellow. Any one of them at its maximum will give you that color, and all of them at 0 will result in black.

So, all I can gather is that when the signal for a cluster of pixels tells the red and the adjoining green to go to their maximum with the blue one turned off, this TV must instead turn on the yellow pixel. Does that actually accomplish anything? I have no idea how it could but who knows. I know that I will not be buying this product on this claim alone as this claim makes no sense to me.

Wherever you are today, I hope you’re having a colorful day!

Don Bergquist – March 29, 2010 – Lakewood, Colorado, USA

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