Color depth: That means 10 bit, 8 bit and other

Color depth: That means 10 bit, 8 bit and other

When buying a new television or monitor, the question of color depth arises. Is 10 bit or 8 bit better? And what does the color depth mean anyway? Find out here.

What is the color depth?

Screens work with a red, green and blue color channel. A monitor mixes all other colors from these basic colors. In this context, the color depth decides how many color gradations can be displayed on the screen, for example from the darkest to the lightest shade of blue.

  • 1 bit color depth = 2 colors
  • 8 bit color depth = 256 colors
  • 10 bit color depth = 1,024 colors
  • 12 bit color depth = 4,096 colors
  • 24 bit color depth = 16.7 million colors

Why is the color depth relevant?

The higher the specified number of bits for the color depth, the more nuances can be displayed on a screen. A wider range of colors can prevent podium patterns or banding effects in images and videos. The colors in photos appear closer to reality, especially dark or light areas show more details.

Does a television or monitor with a high color depth always display this?

No, because in addition to the television or computer screen, the source material must also have this color depth. So you have to use games, pictures or videos that also offer this color depth of 10 bits or higher. This mainly includes HDR or Dolby Vision content. Most of the available media currently only offer a color depth of 8 bits.

Is a higher color depth always better?

10-bit colors tend to look better than 8-bit colors, in any case they allow more gradations, a larger contrast range and expanded display options. Often 10 bits are used for a realistic representation, 8 bits look more "cartoonish". To a certain extent this is also a question of taste. However, a higher color depth means more data, which, depending on the Internet connection – for example when streaming HDR content – can pull the resolution or frame rate down.

When do I need a monitor or television with a high color depth?

If you value the best possible home cinema experience and enjoy watching films in HDR, it is worth investing in this technology. Also, if you are working on your computer with high-resolution and colorful images or are planning to record, edit and play back HDR videos.

Summary

  • The color depth determines how many color gradations can be displayed on the screen.
  • A high color depth avoids podium patterns and banding effects. In addition, particularly dark and light areas in an image or video are more detailed.
  • A screen that can display a high level of color depth does not always reproduce it. The content must also offer the higher color depth.
  • A higher color depth also means more data and can, for example, reduce the resolution or frame rate when streaming.
  • Monitors and televisions with a higher color depth are suitable for people who value an excellent home cinema experience in terms of picture technology or who want to work with correspondingly colored picture or video material.

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