Sometimes I read tech blogs and wonder…

What is a “Full-color display”?  Are there partial color displays?  Are there some weird hybrid displays out there that are half color and half black and white?

I know – it’s late, and I didn’t sleep yesterday, so I am punchy – but really – why not just say the iPhone is presented “in living color”?  If we are going to throw back, let’s throw way back!

I don’t get it.


  1. The de-facto standard is: when a screen can handle 24 bit color (>16 million colors) (that is: 256 shades of red, green and blue each), it is said to be full color. So if you set your Windows monitor setting to 16 bit color, you won’t get ‘full color’ images (even if the monitor is still capabale of displaying full color).

  2. Hmmm. So how many colors is “full color”? Wikipedia doesn’t seem to know (nor does Google)

  3. A full-color display is basically a screen that is capable of displaying all colors that the human eye can discern.
    Color displays (monitors) haven’t always been full color: I have worked with the first IBM ‘color’ monitors (we were in awe!) and they ONLY could display the colors red, green and blue .. NO mix of these colors. (Your very first Tandy uComputer, if it had a color screen, probably couldn’t do many colors either!).
    But the expression ‘full color’ probably comes from the printing (3 and 4 color print techniques) and cinema industry (multicolor, cinecolor, super-cine color and technicolor), which used color systems that used 2 or 3 color film reversal printing techniques to get a reasonable color spectrum, but not ALL colors. (hey, I’m an ex-cinema operator – licensed and well-).
    I don;t know too much of LCD techniques, but I can imagine that there are stil LCD’s out there that aren’t really full-color! (If it only supports 16 colors, it’s NOT full color)