Sharp Claims Quattron Pro Delivers 4K Quality – But Does It?
Four years ago, Sharp launched its Quattron technology, claiming that by adding the fourth colour – namely yellow – into the standard Red Green Blue (RGB) spectrum, this ‘Quattron’ technology would give viewers much better colour reproduction.
We took an in-depth look you can read here at how Sharp’s 4K Ready but Full HD, Quattron Pro enabled TVs compared to the latest 4K TVs from Sony, Samsung and LG, and came away very impressed by the fact Quattron Pro technology was able to deliver on its promises of screen quality that could easily match, if not better the images from competing 4K TVs.
The article focuses on the technical details of how Sharp’s Quattron Pro technology is able to achieve the startling feat of improving its already impressive Quattron technology to the even better picture that Quattron Pro deliver.
Sharp TVs with Quattron Pro are available now and, as noted, Sharp claims it is even better than the previous technology. In fact, Sharp claims it will match the colour reproduction and resolution from usually much higher priced 4K TVs.
Why? Because this Quattron Pro technology generates 3,840 x 2,160 luminance peaks in total, which is the same as the number of luminance peaks in 4K models. The Quattron Pro TVS actually split every single pixel in half, giving these sets a total of 16 million sub pixels. Sharp says this gives these TVs 10 million more sub pixels than other HD TVS – the reason why they can deliver displays matching a 4K TV.
This is a pretty hefty claim, given that Sharp’s Quattron Pro TVs are not 4K – they are ‘4K ready’ which means they can receive a 4K signal. According to Mark Beard, national marketing manager at Sharp Corporation Australia: “They are the only Full HD TV that can receive 4K signal.”
“The 4K ready Quattron Pro technology allows 4K content to easily hook up to the screen via HDMI connections, putting Sharp a step ahead once 4K contents and players are more widely available in the market,” Beard added.
Four Colour Technology
When Sharp launched Quattron Technology four years ago, the major change was the fact Sharp had added yellow to the standard Red Green Blue (RGB) colour spectrum. According to Sharp, the Quattron Pro Series TVs produce much more vivid yellows as a result, as well as other hues such as gold and cyan, by adding yellow to the overall combination.
Sharp says the reason the addition of yellow is so important is because the human eye is sensitive to brightness changes. As yellow and green are the brightest colours in the spectrum, they are the most important colours for our eye to register.
To capture these bright colours, Sharp has built what it calls ‘four peak luminance’ in one pixel, into its Quattron Pro products. A luminance peak is the point where it is easiest to perceive the brightness level when white is being displayed. The luminance peak occurs at green and yellow, colours where the relative lightness (sensitivity to brightness of light wavelength) is high.
With the Quattron Pro Technology, Sharp has created four luminance peaks in each of the pixels on a full-HD panel. These luminance peaks directly affect the resolution because image detail on a TV screen is determined largely by the number of luminance peaks.
When you combine ‘four peak luminance’ in one pixel and the addition of yellow to the primary colours, you get the full-HD highly detailed images from these Sharp TVS, which have been shown to be very closely equivalent to 4K resolution. (See our Quattron Pro TV and 4K TV Shoot Out this issue.)
Vertical & Horizontal Lines
Quattron technology has always controlled the sub-pixels on a screen vertically, for better resolution. Now, the new Quattron Pro technology enables sub-pixels to be controlled both vertically and horizontally, which in turn enhances the colour clarity and sharpness even more.
An explanation for how this works is that in a conventional 3-colour panel or RGB panel, black and white are both created by one pixel. But in the Quattron Pro TVs, black and white are created separately in one pixel. This is what enhances the horizontal resolution.
In a conventional 3-colour panel or RGB panel, black and white are created by one pixel but Quattron Pro’s upper and lower sub-pixel areas create black and white separately. So this enhances the vertical resolution. Ultimately, because both the horizontal and vertical resolutions are enhanced, more precise and smoother diagonal lines are created.
Also, Sharp says it splits each of the four Quattron sub pixels which make up a single pixel in Sharp’s TVs, in half horizontally. This gives the TV a vertical resolution of 2,160 pixels. To achieve an increased horizontal resolution, Sharp uses pixel mapping: the red and blue sub pixels are shared between neighbouring pixels, while the brighter green and yellow sub pixels are each associated with their own pixel to keep the brightness intact.
Best Resolution So Far
The Quattron Pro TVs are able to display Full HD image signals, as well as Ultra HD image signals, through a 4K Upscaler to give the 4 Colour Technology. They have a resolution reconstruction circuit which converts the 4K signal to Quattron Pro signal with the original brightness and colour information, enabling high resolution image reproduction, including ultra-fine detail and a lot more depth to the image.
“Viewers can enjoy crisp, vivid picture quality with existing HD broadcasts, making this Series the best all round TVs for the current available content,” Beard said, “whilst at the same time being the perfect choice as more Ultra HD content becomes available in the future.”
Additionally, Beard said while the Quattron Pro TVs ultimately provide a brighter screen, they still maintain the same power consumption. Normally, a considerable amount of power is used by the display to produce the colour yellow, and similar hues, from mixing red, green and blue, but that’s not the case with the Quattron Pro TVs.
Available in 60-inch, 70-inch and 80-inch screens, Sharp’s new Quattron Pro Series of TVs are priced at the RRP of $3,499, $4,999 and $8,499 respectively.
Our in-depth comparison of Sharp’s Quattron Pro TVs compared to 4K TVs from Sony, Samsung and LG can be read here.