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Color Management Controls Print
Written by The ISF Forum Library Community   

Applies To:  All Non-CRT Displays

Color Management Controls are required to enable digital displays to be correctly aligned to the primary and secondary color gamut of SMPTE-C, EBU, or HDTV color standards. Color Management refers to a series of controls that allow alignment of the red, green and blue primaries and the cyan, magenta and yellow secondaries. With the proper equipment, test patterns and display controls, it is possible to fully correct a display that was designed by the manufacturer for non-standard primary and secondary colors.

Many consumers are surprised to find that there are standards for both the primary and secondary colors that are to be used in televisions to create color images. Even more surprising is the fact that it is very difficult to buy a television that adheres to these standards. Display manufacturers choose to ignore color gamut standards because they believe that using a custom gamut will provide their products with a unique look and another helpful element of differentiation in a highly competitive market.

There are many different approaches to color management, but not all of them work as advertised. In addition, making use of these color management controls requires the use of properly designed and calibrated test equipment. Blindly adjusting these controls creates a risk of introducing more serious issues than the incorrect primary and secondary colors chosen by the manufacturer.

CRT displays do not have electronic color management controls. The color response for CRT technology is determined by the phosphor colors used for red, green and blue. However, filters may be used on CRT rear- or front-projectors to correct one or more of the primary colors. In practice, most CRT HDTV displays have primaries that are reasonably close to these standards.

Note that Color Management is not the same thing as Color Decoding. Color Decoding is the process of converting non-RGB signals -- such as composite video, S-Video or component video -- to RGB. See Color Decoding Controls more details.

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