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FAQ Monitors

What does dithering mean?

Autor: Johannes Post
06/11/2005, 08:30 CET


If there is, in principal, no possibility to reproduce a color tone because the color palette is limited, there is still the trick of combining the missing color tone (combination color) from the colors that are available on the color palette

Nowadays, the amount of colors that has become a standard for PCs is 16.7 million colors. This equals 8 bit per RGB color meaning 256 shades of each red, green and blue. But most TN panels can only reproduce 6 Bit per RGB color which corresponds to only 64 shades of each of the colors red, green and blue, thus making an overall maximum of only 262144 colors possible.

For this reason, panel manufacturer work the trick of employing a technology called dithering that extends the color palette by combining 262 144 colors in such a way that is becomes possible to create many more color tones.

One pixel consists of three sub-pixels for red green and blue. Depending on the each of the three colors' respective intensity, a color tone is created.

Dithering assigns appropriate color values from the available color palette to close-by pixels in such a way that it gives the impression of a new color tone which otherwise could not have been created at all.


In doing so, there complex mappings according to which the ground colors are mutually assigned, otherwise it could result in color noise also called dithering noise. Unfortunately, negative effects can never be ruled out completely. For example, there is always the risk of having to deal with an effect which has become known as jeans pattern.

Jeans pattern

This way, it is possible to extend the color palette of TN panels that are actually only capable of displaying 262144 colors (meaning 6 Bit per RGB color) up to 16.2 million reproducible colors with the help of dithering.

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