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I was thinking about color spaces and the coverage between the sRGB and Lab color spaces such as OkLab. I was wondering if there could exist some different monitor technology with more than 3 color channels. Those would potentially allow for a better coverage of all the human visible spectrum.

Has such a thing been considered? Can it be done? Would it be useful? Has it already been done?

Hope this is the right place to ask this question, thanks.

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Has such a thing been considered? Can it be done? Would it be useful? Has it already been done?

The answer, I believe, would be YES | YES | Not really | YES.

You can search for Sharp AQUOS Quattron - LCD TV. It has an additional yellow channel so it is basically a four-channel display. Yet as you see, it was 14 years ago and the market had... limited excitement about it.

If you consider the problem mathematically: the human perception for color can be almost perfectly decomposed into 3 different components (R, G, B), then it would mean that the space can be represented by these linearly independent (with a slight abuse of notation) components. They are just like 3 orthogonal vectors that can perfectly represent the 3D space. So why bother adding another linearly dependent component (like yellow)? There are few more things to consider:

  • Compression algorithm for 4-(or more)-channel video, how to you encode and decode it? Will the loss after these operations be acceptable (since, the additional channels are linearly dependent, compression might just... annihilate possible gain in visual quality)
  • Graphics related algorithm: RGB rules them all... let's sell our product to those manufacturers and convince them to support our new display protocol.
  • Hardware design for your display. This is obvious.
  • The quality improvement might just be hardly perceivable. It might be like when your wife takes two similar lipsticks and asks you to distinguish between one another...
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  • $\begingroup$ For applicability, I was thinking of spectral physically based rendering and specialized movie making. It seems relatively reasonable to me, that with companies like Disney pumping millions of dollars into display technologies that only a minority of people will ever take advantage of it wouldn't have been at least slightly interesting to look into. But yeah, for sure the integration cost with regards to everything else would be absurd, and I also hadn't thought of what adding dimensions would do to the potential solution space of a single color. $\endgroup$
    – FatBaz
    Commented Jun 6 at 1:25
  • $\begingroup$ This will be the trade-off that needs to be considered. Maybe you are thinking about multi-spectral imaging / display / rendering, and for spectral physically based rendering, it can indeed generate more realistic images, yet when displaying, we still compress the channels into the RGB(A) representation. Since RGB can already faithfully represent the human perception, so it will be the matter of "how to generate images with higher fidelity". Who knows... maybe your idea will be the next iPhone moment of display technology but before that, problems must be resolved. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 6 at 2:04

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