Wednesday, June 3, 2015

The ICDM Seeks to Raise The Bar - But Will It Be High Enough?

By Tom Fiske

The International Committee for Display Metrology (ICDM) is one of the strongest groups working on standardizing display metrology procedures and techniques. Its members are some of the best display evaluation and characterization experts in the world.

On Tuesday evening, the ICDM had its main meeting. The meeting started with an update of organization activities and proposals for a potential quality certification program and the institution of a student award for metrology.

Things really got going with a number of presentations and proposals from various members for a variety of methods to address some of the most pressing issues in display metrology. A couple of members talked about various problems with and offered some suggestions to improve current methods for measuring and reporting contrast ratio -- especially as it relates to projectors and High Dynamic Range (HDR) displays. There are a couple of ways that ANSI (checkerboard) contrast gives misleading results for projectors -- especially as it relates to typical cinema content. Current contrast methods don’t adequately address dual resolution HDR displays, either.

We also had a couple of good reports about how to evaluate light field and other types of 3D displays. Light field displays are becoming more prominent lately, so this is a welcome development. We had a proposal to update the flicker measurement method in the current IDMS. The new method will be simpler to calculate and be more general. There was a presentation proposing a display quality metric that combines resolution, contrast, luminance, display size, and color gamut. This was nicely correlated to a set of very thorough subjective assessment results.

One of our guests had a nice rant on the evils of specsmanship. He enjoined the ICDM members to join with other parts of the industry to combat misleading reports of display performance. My own view is that part of the reason the IDMS was adopted was to give the industry a definitive set of display evaluation methods. That’s a great starting point, but the ICDM can only do so much. We can certainly raise the banner of how to measure displays properly, but it’s up to the industry as a whole to embrace “no misleading” behavior. What are the chances of that, I wonder?

The ICDM welcomes participation from those interested in these topics. It is a committee within the SID and publishes the Information Display Measurements Standard (IDMS).

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