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Lawsuit claims LCD screens on Apple's current notebooks are not capable of millions of colors

Apple Inc. has been in and out of the courtroom a number of times this year for patent infringements, product defects and mostly to defend its iPhone. This week, Apple finds itself in the courtroom again, this time facing a class action lawsuit alleging the LCD screens on its MacBook and MacBook Pro laptops are substandard. The claim also alleges Apple advertised its screens as being superior, but knowingly shipped screens that did not meet its original claims.

The class action lawsuit points out the glossy screens Apple introduced with the launched of its MacBook last year. Apple advertised that the new glossy screens provided users with deeper blacks and whites that are more vibrant. However, many customers experienced graininess and sparkling effects common to dithering techniques, according to the lawsuit.

According to the complaint:

Many such dissatisfied purchasers were chastised by Apple agents and employees for being too picky about their assessments of the quality of the display. Other dissatisfied purchasers were told that they were imagining the complained about defects.

The complaint also points out that many of the disgruntled customers posted messages on Apple's own forums only later to have their posts moderated or completely removed by Apple forum administrators.

"It appears that Apple has engaged in substantial editing of the posts on the discussion forum," the lawsuit indicates.

The lawsuit alleges Apple uses dithering techniques to create an illusion of colors that don't actually exist. In fact, the lawsuit claims if a MacBook or MacBook Pro users installs Windows XP, they will notice superior image quality in areas such as gradients. The test seems to indicate Apple is using some sort of software at work in OS X.

"The displays are only capable of displaying the illusion of millions of colors through the use of a software technique referred to as 'dithering'," the lawsuit claims.

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Say what?
By NaughtyGeek on 5/18/2007 2:13:43 PM , Rating: 2
Could someone here give a brief technical description explaining why this is true or BS? I have to admit, I'm a little lost on this one.

RE: Say what?
By mcnabney on 5/18/2007 2:33:08 PM , Rating: 5
This is most likely an issue with people who need 100% color accuracy down to the pixel. That means people that work with Photoshop or CAD software might be a little pissed. They paid above market price for Apple products that were advertised at certain graphical specifications to meet their needs. For regular consumer uses, it wouldn't matter, but it does to professionals.

RE: Say what?
By mindless1 on 5/20/2007 2:04:07 PM , Rating: 3
Quite a few people who aren't using CAD or photoediting types of apps find dithering (when perceivable) objectionable and actively seek products that don't.

It matters to regular customers. Look at a poor monitor if you like but don't pee in my pool.

RE: Say what?
By otispunkmeyer on 5/21/2007 4:04:06 AM , Rating: 2
probably been found out selling 6bit panels with 2x2 dithering on their laptops.

and honestly, i can see why people are upset, especially the MBP users who paid to have a more professional bit of kit.

6bit dithered TN's are like the lowest of the low in LCD's certainly something you dont put on a $2000 laptop.

glossy coatings are mostly rubbish too. theyre like a band aid to cover up naff panels...unless you own a NEC 20.1inch with the S-IPS 8bit panel, that thing is sweet.

RE: Say what?
By theapparition on 5/21/2007 8:15:37 AM , Rating: 2
Not that many CAD applications for a MAC notebook ;-)
I agree with Photoshop, though.

RE: Say what?
By slashbinslashbash on 5/18/2007 2:41:24 PM , Rating: 5
It seems to be somewhat BS, but there *could* be an actual complaint in there if the LCD panels are actually 6-bit. The listed complaints (in the lawsuit PDF from Engadget) do not get very technical and sound more like griping than anything that could be backed up in a court of law. It lists a whole bunch of complaints from web forums. It does not take apart a MacBook screen and note the panel manufacturer and whether the LCD is 6-bit or 8-bit but instead relies on these web forum posts to allege that the panels are 6-bit. It also claims that the colors are noticeably better on a MacBook Pro under WinXP than under OSX, which would seem to contradict that the screen itself is faulty. It also mentions "points of light" (stuck pixels?) that (to me at least) indicates that this is more of a crank lawsuit than anything real. Of course, if Apple is found to be using 6-bit panels, and they can't make a convincing argument for dithering as an approximation of millions of colors, they may lose on that one point, but the rest of it sounds like sour grapes.

RE: Say what?
By Proteusza on 5/18/2007 4:05:37 PM , Rating: 3
Hmm, if OSX has special features to enhance graphics, then Windows XP would look worse, because it wouldnt have them.

Sounds phony, but I must say, so many consumer complaints must mean something in this case, they obviously arent good displays, time will tell if any trickery is going on.

RE: Say what?
By mindless1 on 5/20/2007 2:09:31 PM , Rating: 3
Actually they don't have to demonstrate 6 or 8 bit at all. While some make this association, in the end it is whether the panel can actually do what was advertised. That was not 6 vs 8, it was number of colors. Point is, you could have an 8 bit panel that has problems, or elsewhere in the notebook there are problems and as a whole product, that product does not live up to the stated quality level regardless of where in the chain you had the weak link.

It doesn't have to be technical. If you buy a green car and the dealer delivers a blue car, do you have to know the technical details of the type of pigment they used to know you aren't getting the color you paid for?

RE: Say what?
By slashbinslashbash on 5/26/2007 10:34:45 PM , Rating: 2
Well, there's a difference between green vs. blue cars and such things as "state of the art" computers (a phrase which is repeated multiple times in the complaint). "State of the art" in a marketing context means practically nothing.

Plus, your green vs. blue car analogy fails to support your case. I have seen many cars where the color is debatable whether it is blue or green. I have even had that very argument a couple of times.

Furthermore, the color of a car (like the screen of a laptop computer) is easily ascertained before the purchase. Nobody buys a car in a particular color without either seeing it in person or seeing a color swatch somehow. Similarly, it is fully possible to purchase a MacBook or MBP only after viewing the screen of similar machines. Buying one "sight unseen" is also possible, of course, but doing so for any product is often the road to buyer's remorse.

Have you even read the PDF complaint? It's really fairly absurd and, as I said before, most of the "hard facts" are in the form of quoted forum posts, some of which are contradictory (e.g. one guy talks about how the MacBook (non-Pro) has much better screens than the MBP while the complaint as a whole includes the MacBook as being just as bad as the MBP). Plus, I can't believe they included tripe like this in a complaint filed in a court of law:

"it is not only the color banding and gradient stuff. Hook up a ACD and you will see that the color is W off if i edit a pict in aperture on my mbp17 and then preview it on my 23acd i vomit ! This is no PRO computer !" (p. 7 of the complaint, copied verbatim, spelling and grammar mistakes included).

RE: Say what?
By psychobriggsy on 5/18/2007 2:54:42 PM , Rating: 5
Most (if not all) laptop and budget desktop LCD displays use 6-bit panels.

That's 6-bits per colour component.

2^(6+6+6) = 262 thousand colours.

I don't know how LCD panels dither. I am assuming that they dither temporally here:

Because TN screens (which are usually the 6-bit screens) are quite fast to react however, you can create shaded inbetween those colours by switching between them faster than the human eye can notice or discern. e.g., If you had a 1-bit mono display, flicking between white and black would produce grey, effectively. On a 6-bit display you could create the illusion of a 7-bit display by switching between two adjacent colours. 2^21 is 2 million colours. I'm sure that they can emulate an 8-bit display as well, either with different timings for the dithering effect, or by using different colours to dither with.

Apple are accused of advertising their screens as handling "millions of colours". Make of it what you will. I think the problem regarding graininess is somewhere else than the screens themselves, it might be possible that a driver fix could fix it, but if so, then Apple really should have done something about it.

RE: Say what?
By rultin on 5/18/2007 3:23:35 PM , Rating: 3
Maximum PC actually had a great column recently about LCD Displays and the person here who mentions TN is right on the mark.

Different LCD manufacturers use different techs to "create" millions of colors on 6-bit displays. If the Apple screens are 6-bit and not 8-bit then there could be cause for concern. As, for now, you won't get vibrant and bright colors on 6-bit displays.

Granted, for now, these 6-bit displays are being used mostly in the 22inch LCD range. I would be surprised if Apple used 6-bit displays on their laptops...then again it would only increase their profit margin on each device sold as the 6-bit displays are substantially cheaper at the 22inch size I can only imagine it would be pennies at the 12-14inch range.

Check out this months Maximum PC issue for info on TN displays pretty interesting.

True, but Apple is the wrong company to sue
By RyanHirst on 5/18/2007 3:32:01 PM , Rating: 6
To the gent who asked if this is true or BS:

It is absolutely true.
But it has little to do with Apple.

1)A 6-bit panel can display 2^6 different tones for each channel (R,G,B). 2^6= 64 colors per channel. 64red x 64green x64blue = 262,144 possible colors.

An 8-bit panel produces true 24-bit color (8 bit color x 3 channels). 2^8 = 256 different tones per channel. 256r x 256g x256b = 16,777,216 colors.

2)6-bit panels all use dithering techniques to render more "visible" colors. Adjacent pixels alternate between very close shades to produce the illusion of more colors. If you see two different reds flashing back and forth on top of one another, (perhaps) you see a color in between.

3)Dithering techniques work. However, there is no escaping that the color depth simply isn't there. Some people are more sensitive to this than others. Satisfied customers rant about photo snobs who claim to tell the difference. I'm not a photo snob; the difference is obvious to me.
For a more creditable reference, compare the review standards of AnandTech and TomsHardware. Both are reputable and thorough reviewers. The THG monitor guy(s?) aren't bothered in the slightest by a 6-bit panel; generally you will find no information whatever in their reviews about the true bit-depth. Anandtech's reviewer(s?) notice the difference keenly, and make it clear what kind of panel is being reviewed. So it goes....

4)Apple sold 6-bit panels as displaying 16+ million colors.
Now, here's the crux

5)Every panel manufacturer and every branded monitor rates its 6-bit panels at 16+ million colors. It is often impossible to determine, based even upon the specs listed on a manufacturer's website, whether the panel in question is 6-bit or 8-bit.
The easiest ways to tell are by checking the viewing angles (true 8-bit panels invariably rate 176-178 degrees, 6-bit between 130 and 170), and, if you're lucky, the precise number of colors claimed. Generally, 6-bit panels will claim 16.2 milllion.

Incorrect specs, different definitions of dithering, and (above all) the absolute desire on the part of manufacturers to make it impossible for the end-user to tell s/he is buying a 6-bit panel, mean even product specs are regularly wrong.
I've even tried contacting a company directly, to determine if a product used a 6-bit or an 8-bit panel. The reply: different panels were used at different times; it would be impossible to quote which exact panel was in any monitor. Thus skirting the issue; it was later clear that ALL the panels used in that model were, regardless of manufacturer, 6-bit.

So, while Apple DID claim its 6-bit panels were 16 millions colors, those specifications came direct from the manufacturer (Apple does not manufacure or spec its own monitors). And, if Apple HAD stated the 6-bit panels only generated 262K colors, they would have been the only distributor of monitors, worldwide, doing so.

RE: True, but Apple is the wrong company to sue
By RyanHirst on 5/18/2007 3:38:04 PM , Rating: 2
I should have said, "adjacent subpixels"

And, for whoever ranted about apple and 24-bit: The best consumer LCDs are, at best, 24-bit color, which IS millions of colors. If you think you are getting 32-bit color out of your LCD, simply because you have your Windows/video card settings tuned to 32-bit, you are simply wrong. Or you paid well over $1000 for a specialty 36- or 48-bit professional monitor. In fact, 32-bit color doesn't exist for an LCD. It's not divisible by 3.

RE: True, but Apple is the wrong company to sue
By Seer on 5/18/2007 8:20:23 PM , Rating: 2
I've always wondered about that 32 bit setting. It's not divisible by the hell does it even work?

*Goes and checks Wikipedia*

By wien on 5/18/2007 9:27:53 PM , Rating: 2
Windows counts the alpha channel, so the setting is actually RGBA (32bit) instead of RGB (24bit). Of course alpha is meaningless on a monitor, so you only really get 24bit RGB regardless of the setting.

RE: True, but Apple is the wrong company to sue
By McScoot on 5/18/2007 9:17:54 PM , Rating: 2
In almost all cases 32b colour on PCs does have only 24b of colour information. An 8b per component LCD should be able to display all colours in a typical 32b colour signal (subject to other shortcomings of the actual panel). The other byte is not used or stores alpha information. There are some cards that support a 10b per component output (30b with 2 wasted bits), but it's not really the standard. Matrox Parhelia, G80, R600, and I think ATI's X1000 series all support some sort of 30 bit output.

RE: True, but Apple is the wrong company to sue
By INeedCache on 5/19/2007 1:40:56 AM , Rating: 3
I'm a little miffed by the statement "True, but Apple is the wrong company to sue". Why? Their name is on the device. It doesn't make any difference in this case who made the panels. Apple used them in their machines and apparently made false claims. The burden is on them to verify the panels work as claimed by the manufacturer, and the validity of any statements made by the panel manufacturers before they make them available to the public, and before they make public advertising statements that are not true. They are most certainly culpable here.

By RyanHirst on 5/19/2007 5:51:21 PM , Rating: 2
I've been miffed, too, ever since I first shopped for an LCD monitor. The problem is that panel manufacturers are NOT required to distinguish between methods of producing color. By the book, these panels produce 16 million colors. Legally, these statements ARE true. Apple is guilty of nothing, and all 6-bit panels will still continue to be spec'd at 16 million colors for the duration of this suit, and after... until those standards are changed.

I agree wholeheartedly that this information is deceptive. It is infuritaing. But, at present, Apple has done nothing wrong, because the deception is in the standard. Until that standard is changed, there is no culpability at all, for no deception has occured. Recognizing that there is deception, we are obligated first to set in place a recognition of that deception (which happens to exist at a level which is independent of Apple), and only then is there a way to hold individual violators accountable.
I know this sounds like a technicality. But lawsuits like this actually can endanger the cause they intend to champion. The issue of the deception inherent in the 6-bit panel specs becomes entangled in a suit that's not directed explicitly at identifying and criminalizing that deception (after all, why are the manufacturers themselves, all other distributors, and the creators of the standards not culpable?). Perhaps the judge will steer the case to this point. Perhaps not. If s/he does not, and if Apple wins, then a case is on the books that is not ABOUT panel standards, but has them entangled with the case... the standards, having won out inderectly may be much harder to challenge directly if/when the issue is finally brought to court.

By kelmon on 5/19/2007 5:04:52 AM , Rating: 2
I'd just like to say "thank you" for that post. Great work. Seems as though if this claim is successful that people will be forming an orderly queue to sue other laptop manufacturers if the same issue applies to them as well.

No shoving at the back, OK?

By KristopherKubicki on 5/20/2007 2:51:28 PM , Rating: 2
Superb post. I've been claiming this for years, but nobody really had much reaction. The entire industry died a little bit when everyone jumped on 6-bit TN panels over 8-bit PVA/MVA/SIPS and then marketed the TN panels as "faster response time."

Clearly, you've done your homework.

By archcommus on 5/18/2007 2:13:51 PM , Rating: 2 that when they advertise their panels as capable of 16.7 million colors, you know you're truly getting that without dithering.

Although, who ever said that using software wasn't allowed to achieve the rated color capability?

By creathir on 5/18/2007 2:26:15 PM , Rating: 5
Well, if the PANEL was advertised as achieving 24-bit color, but was really a dithered 18-bit panel, I would be PISSED.

Even though the technique may produce similar results, it is still a major difference in the number of colors that can actually be produced by the panel.

18-bit panels only produce around 260 thousand colors, while 24-bit produce around 16 million colors.

If we were talking about value notebooks, the adage "you get what you pay for" would be extremely true here... but we are talking about one of the most expensive notebook manufactures on the market.

- Creathir

By swizeus on 5/18/2007 2:42:31 PM , Rating: 2
using software never wrong in the first place

the only thing that wrong are the advertisement and the way they treat people's complaint that make them sucks

By hyperbolicparody on 5/19/2007 1:34:17 PM , Rating: 4
I would argue otherwise. Just because 85% of the populace can't tell the difference between hardware and software doesn't make it right not to disclose or mislead.
I a room full of almost identical pictures I can point out the one in a dozen running at 50Hz instead of 60Hz. I can also point out the one with VHold shear problems.... but I can for the life of me NOT tell the difference between 6 and 8 bit panels.
My roommate can tell the difference between the 128Kbps MP3s and the 196Kbps ones on the system in the living room, and he can point out where my Bose 3 Speaker "super expensive el-neato" speaker set doesn't stack up to the REAL 5-Channel system we have.
I can hear dog whistles.... I complained for weeks that the smoke detector in the hall was broken, told I was crazy until they replaced it because the maintenance guy did testing and it didn't work.

Does this make me a "framerate snob" and him a "music snob"... he can HEAR the difference between the hardware 5-channel and the software emulation of it and I can not. He'd be REALLY angry if he paid a premium for a software fix.

You really shouldn't market software solutions when your CORE market is the group of people who are going to notice. The guy at Best-Buy and nation-wide ad campaigns are distinctly different things in a court of law. It's a matter of feeling cheated, like you've been taken for a ride....
...and the panel manufacturers are largely based in countries where the US Judiciary wouldn't be able to get to them.

By McScoot on 5/18/2007 9:20:07 PM , Rating: 1
Actually, I think if they say 16.2 million colours you know that it's a 6 bit panel. If they say 16.7 it's 8 bit.

By amp5 on 5/18/2007 4:29:17 PM , Rating: 2
there are several mac forums bitching about grainy display especially on Macbook Pro's. I bought a 15" Macbook Pro back in November of last year and returned it in two days due to grainy display and got 17" Macbook Pro. 17" panels are much better than 15" Macbook Pro panels. Right after purchasing 15" Macbook Pro I noticed grainy/dusty display and took it back to Apple store in Edison NJ and Bridgewater NJ and those Geniuses (idiots) kept saying "nothing wrong with display" and refused to take it back without restocking fee. I had to upgrade to 17" to get restocking fee waived. Thanks god I kept receipts so I might get $5 dollars off ;-) of next purchase from Apple when they settle this class action lawsuite

Look at the comparison of Macbook Pro and Powerbook displays and you will know what everyones talking about:

RE: Finally!!!!
By kelmon on 5/19/2007 5:08:57 AM , Rating: 2
Ah. Interesting. I bought a 17" MacBook Pro and was wondering what all the fuss was about but if the issue doesn't affect the 17" display then that would explain it. Frankly, I think this display is wonderful and I'd lick it if doing so wouldn't leave a mark on it...

By MobileZone on 5/19/2007 11:12:06 AM , Rating: 2

By mxzrider2 on 5/21/2007 1:04:39 AM , Rating: 2
good for you but no offense sony makes the worst laptops on the market by far. but the coating on the more expensive screens does make the color awesome.

Apple Used to be on top
By TimberJon on 5/18/2007 4:21:13 PM , Rating: 2
By this I mean used to be the "term" used to describe a graphics PC. A Pc that uses photoshop or other programs for graphic design, video editing and so forth. Even I had told a few people, "Get a Mac then, their processors are supposed to be superior with graphics and rendering"

But not since the dual core came out. Now theres a quad core, and more on the way. I wouldnt put my dependence on Apple OS anything. Its like MSN slipping its tentacles into everything it can to control the user and marketing.

I believe they did it. By using software to up the colors or illusion of colors, they could probably have saved a good chunk of change on each top in the long run.

I dont know if that would be called bad planning or good planning.. bad because now there is this lawsuit against them for it.. good because it probably generated money needed to pay for the possible suit, and the suit they KNOW they were going to get by persuing the iPhone.

Apple's spec wording
By nanospec on 5/23/2007 9:55:17 AM , Rating: 2
I find it interesting how Apple words their specs for various Mac displays..

For standalone displays, they say:
"Display colors (maximum) = 16.7 million"

16.7 has been stated to be an indication of true 8-bit panel (24-bit color)

For the iMacs, they say:
"Millions of colors at all resolutions"

This is listed as its own bullet point. No specific color number given.

For the MacBook, they say:
"13.3-inch (diagonal) glossy widescreen TFT display with support for millions of colors"

Note the wording here -- SUPPORT for millions of colors. Support could imply software enhancement, dithering, or otherwise. Also note the color level is not its own bullet point like on the iMac spec page.

For the MacBook Pro, they say:
"15.4-inch (diagonal) TFT display, support for millions of colors; optional glossy widescreen display"

Again, same wording of "support for millions of colors", and not its own bullet point. They are consistent with their wording there between both laptop display specs. Again "support" may imply manipulation to simulate more colors.

So it seems Apple considers their laptop displays "different" at least on how they word the color level support. The iMac comes in a little stronger with its own bullet point and no mention of "support", and the standalone displays seem to be listed as true 24-bit displays with 16.7 mil listed specifically.

Obviously Windows XP on Bootcamp is the problem
By osalcido on 5/18/07, Rating: -1
By teohhanhui on 5/19/2007 2:31:35 AM , Rating: 2

I call BS
By Shadowself on 5/18/07, Rating: -1
RE: I call BS
By SpinCircle on 5/18/2007 3:12:36 PM , Rating: 4
They are accused of the screens being substandard to what was advertised. Almost sounds like a shill from Apple made the above post.

RE: I call BS
By Shadowself on 5/21/2007 3:02:23 AM , Rating: 1
I'm not a shill from Apple. I've never worked for them and NEVER will. I could never bow to their stupid reality distortion. Period. Implying that I'm a shill from Apple is just plain stupid.

Apple buys screens from the same companies that virtually every other personal computer manufacturer does. Dell buys from the same companies. HP buys from the same companies. Lenovo buys from the same companies.

To state that Apple's screens are inferior to those of other personal computer manufacturers is pure BS.

This sounds too much like the lawsuit brought against Apple years ago about CRTs when the manufacturers and every PC maker was selling 21" monitors. Apple got sued because the viewable area within the bezel was only 20". That was just as stupid as this one is. However Apple will have to spend a fair amount of money fighting this one too.

RE: I call BS
By RyanHirst on 5/18/2007 3:57:05 PM , Rating: 4
This is simply false.

The leap taken here isn't about multiplying 3 8-bit subpixels and getting 24-bit color.

The apple panels were 6-bit. You might be "surprised" and it may strike you as "utter BS" but Apple indeed marketed LCDs not capable of 8 bits/pixel. Even if one grants that at one point in time, the whole pixel is one of 2^24 colors (and everyone grants this except you), the panels in question have pixels that can only display one of 2^18 colors:

8-bit: one point (sufficiently large; i.e. 1 pixel) at one instant in time: 1 of 16.7 million colors
6-bit: one point (idem) at one instant in time: 1 of 262,144 colors
6-bit, as marketed: One point (idem) averaged over a sufficiently small WINDOW in time (i.e. long enough for our subpixels to alternate, but not so long as to blur with the next color sent to that pixel): 1 of 16.2 million colors.

I suspect you will agree that this leap is difficult to justify.

However, that is industry standard. The correct targets are panel manufacturers. Honestly, the best solution, but one that doesn't make people as happy as suing, is taking all the time enery, and $$ wasted on this lawsuit and using them to force a revision of the standards governing the technical specifications for LCD panels. As it stands, this suit will probably be dismissed outright, because the legitimate source of the deceptive information are defined, industry standards, which obfuscate the meaning of "discrete colors," and with which Apple and its panel manufacturers have operated in full compliance.

RE: I call BS
By spluurfg on 5/19/2007 6:28:33 AM , Rating: 2
I have to agree. I think it would be simple and sufficient if displays, when sold, were clearly labeled as either being 6 or 8 bit displays; when I was shopping for my display, I had to ignore about half of the choices on the market because they simply didn't list whether they were 6/8/18/24bit (however they wanted to write it) or displayed 16.2/16.7 million colors (I require 24bit color and A-RGB color profile for photo editing).

Honestly, it wouldn't be that hard for the manufacturers to list this.

RE: I call BS
By Shadowself on 5/21/2007 2:53:42 AM , Rating: 1
Show me the specs on the LCDs that Apple ships that clearly state the LCDs are only capable of 6 bits for each of Red, Green and Blue!

No one in this forum (or any other I have read) has given manufacturer's specs on the LCD screens themselves. Until someone does then I still call BS.

All your ranting about "LCDs not capable of 8 bits/pixel" is pure BS until you give the model of the LCDs themselves along with manufacturer specs.

Additionally, each "pixel" is almost NEVER 8 bit unless you are talking about the 256 color mode! Each pixel is made up of 3 (count them! -- red, green and blue ... yep 3!) subpixels that make up one full pixel. There NEVER has been a 6-bit pixel! No one has ever mass produced a LCD panel which has only two bits per red, green and blue.

RE: I call BS
By Fritzr on 5/22/2007 5:05:53 AM , Rating: 2
Many of the posts early in this thread stated clearly what the 6bit & 8bit designations meant.

Since you missed the above

6bit LCD has three colors per display pixel. The numeric value for each of the three colors requires 6 bits. These displays are also designated 18bit displays due to the number of bits required to specify all 3 color values.

8bit LCD has three colors per display pixel. The numeric value for each of the three colors requires 8 bits. These displays are also designated 24bit displays due to the number of bits required to specify all 3 color values.

A rare variant uses a 32b color value & assigns 10bits per color. the remaining 2bits of the color value remain unused.

Video cards may add data for the alpha channel. a 6 bit display for this standard uses a 24 bit color value & the 8 bit display requires 32 bits per display pixel.

The above obviously applies only to LCD displays that use RGB. For Monochrome displays it is usual to convert the RGB value to the 8bit value corresponding to the brightness of the pixel. Or if it is a 6bit monochrome display, the 6bit grayscale value.

Also stated in many posts is that the manufacturers, resellers and OEMs building devices using the LCD parts do not disclose which of the 3 bit levels is used. LCDs supporting the 10bit standard are likely to be the exception as they will be selling into a specialty market that will pay premium prices for 10b hardware.

Simulated 8 or 10 bit per color generates visible artifacts for certain colors. This inaccurate color rendering is visible if any of the problem colors are used. This is why real 8bit has 16.7m colors and simulated 8bit has 16.2m colors. It is also why trained users can see a visible difference in the result.

Now back to the regularly scheduled discussion :)

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