AQCOLOR Technology is a proprietary technology developed by BenQ to deliver accurate colors from professional monitors to respective users. “Colors You Can Trust” is the major benefit that BenQ would like the users to experience from the products. Reproducing accurate colors is definitely the goal, but how to define ‘accurate’, how to achieve accurate color, and how to prove accurate color has been achieved? These are the questions that we need to answer in this article.
Meeting industry standard is the first step in AQCOLOR Technology since this is where all the color requirement and specification are defined. The industrial standards define the target value which the monitor should be adjusted or calibrated to. For example, ITU-R had approved Rec. 709 Standard in 1990 containing the following color specifications:
There are many different industrial standards that AQCOLOR follows, and Rec. 709 is only one of them. For Graphic Arts industry, both Adobe RGB and sRGB standards are widely used. For Movie industry, Rec. 709 standard was dominant but with the growth of digital cinema technology, DCI-P3 standard is now the mainstream of the industry. In Broadcasting industry, NTSC and PAL was both popular earlier, but Rec. 709 has become the majority choice. Among these standards, the largest difference is the color gamut, which describes the range of colors a device can reproduce.
Figure 2. Color Gamuts
In order to meet all the industrial standards, BenQ has strived to provide the optimal hardware configuration to build the professional monitor line from ground up. This includes 10-bit panel with 12/14-bit LUT to produce smooth gamma transition and ultra-low delta E to faithfully reproduce standard colors.
Figure 3. Standard LUT and 14 bit LUT & 3D LUT
Certainly, anyone who cares about colors will calibrate his or her monitor. This also applies to the display manufacturers, too. However, nobody else does calibration more serious than BenQ does! Calibration does not only mean the action of placing the measurement device on the panel, but also involves the uniformity of the whole displaying area, and how to unify the measuring result from different measurement devices.
Why is the uniformity of the whole displaying area important? This is because that when we look at the monitor, we are not only look at one spot of the monitor, but the whole displaying area. When we place one object in the center of the monitor, we would expect the object will look the same at any location of the monitor. However, this is never the case. On a typical monitor, when displaying a full white background, you can definitely see some shades of dark shadows, as shown in Figure 4. This is caused by the insufficient diffusion of light from the panel. With BenQ’s unique 1st and 2nd Generation of Uniformity Compensation Technology, this phenomenon can be eliminated. All you can see is a white background without shades of dark shadows. Hence, now your object can be ensured the color will stay the same.
Figure 4:On the right is the typical monitor, and on the left is the monitor applied with BenQ’s Uniformity Compensation Technology
In a factory setup, there is one measurement device per production line, and there are usually more than one production line. Even though the measurement devices are calibrated carefully before each use, there are still discrepancies and would result in different visual appearance. As a result, when a user purchase two or more units of the same model, the units may not look alike when they are turned on. With BenQ’s proprietary Color Consistency Technology, the measurement devices are aligned, and the units calibrated will looked alike. So users do not need to worry if the units will not look the same visually. Ultimately, for SW and PV series monitors, we even offer hardware calibration functionality. If at a later stage when factory calibration result started to drift, hardware calibration function can offer the color accuracy which meets the industrial standards with your calibrator of your choice.
We understand that every user is eager to use our product. Hence, out-of-the-box performance is upmost importance for us and for them. This is why we have spent a lot of effort to fine tune our factory preset modes, including Standard, Adobe RGB, sRGB, DCI-P3 modes. But how do we prove to the users that the modes are adjust according to meet the standards? This is where the Factory Calibration Report comes into play. Every unit has its own Factory Calibration Report with its own serial number listed. An example of Factory Calibration Report is shown in Figure 5. And on the report, the following items are clearly indicated to show the performance:
Figure 5: BenQ Calibration Report / *Uniformity is available on selected models
With AQCOLOR Technology, BenQ’s professional monitors have been awarded Pantone Validated Certificate and Calman Certification. These are third-party color certification and, in some cases, BenQ is the first one been awarded. It is not only the product, but AQCOLOR Technology made all these happened.
BenQ has been developed AQCOLOR Technology for years, and it is still an evolving process. AQCOLOR Technology is built on first meeting industrial standards, then emphasizing on displaying details, and out-of-the-box guarantee. Last is backed up by third-party qualifications, such as Pantone Validated Certificate and Calman Certification. The goal is to bring out more products that will deliver the promise “Colors You Can Trust”
Figure 6: BenQ AQCOLOR Technology