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ISF: Contrast still more important than resolution for picture quality

While the industry is pushing for higher and higher resolutions with new 4K TVs, the president and founder of the Imaging Science Foundation (ISF), Joel Silver, still maintains that resolution isn’t the most important factor in good picture quality.

Speaking at the Panasonic Convention 2014 in Amsterdam this week, Silver said that for the ISF, which drives standards for the TV industry and trains professional calibrators, “the fourth and least of our four key parameters is resolution.”

“There’s some controversy within the industry as to where resolution sits. But, for us, the single most apparent thing you see is dynamic range.”

However, Silver was at pains to point out that this doesn’t mean there are no benefits to 4K TVs. On the contrary, he believes 4K TVs have a role to play in improving all aspects of TV picture quality, not just the amount of detail.

We’re constantly compromised by losing three-quarters of the colour information that comes to our television,” Silver explained. “Even with Blu-ray we’re only getting one in every four pixels of colour information.”

“We’ll finally go beyond that one day with Ultra High Definition and get all the colour information.”

Silver also praised Panasonic for being the first consumer TV brand to adhere to the ITU’s new standard for gamma, which he explained will have a serious impact in improving the quality of dark scenes in films and TV.

“Panasonic’s 2014 TVs are the first consumer products I know of that follow ITU’s specification on gamma. Basically we’re talking shadow detail here; it affects the bottom end of our greyscale. Imagine going through the dark spaces in a new way… the details and the blacks will be forever changed.”

Next read, THX and ISF Calibration: Is it worth it?