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Home Theater/HDMI colorspace settings


I recently purchased a blu ray player where it came with a default HDMI colorspace setting YCbCr 4:4:4.  After playing some blu ray disks and also any file off a usb drive, the display on my tv started flickering every so often.  The picture would flash black for maybe a second, and would do this every so often, sometimes more continuous.  I couldn't figure out the reason this was doing this so I searched some internet forums and saw where someone recommended to change the setting to RGB.  The blu ray player I bought (Panasonic) has these HDMI colorspace settings (YCbCr 4:2:2, 4:4:4, RGB Standard, or RGB Enhanced).  I tried the 4:2:2 setting but the same problems.  Tried it with the RGB settings, and no problems whatsoever.  I ruled out the possibility that it was a problem with my TV settings by buying another blu ray player (Sony) and testing it.  I tried all the settings (YCbCr 4:2:2, 4:4:4, RGB Standard, or RGB Enhanced) and no problems at all.  First of all, I don't understand what the colorspace setting really is or what it's used for.  I was reading something online that YCbCR 4:4:4 is 8 bit color, RGB is 8 bit color, and YCbCr 4:2:2 is 12 bit color, and this is the default that should be used for HDMI connections to get the best/most accurate picture.  To tell you the truth though, I could not tell a difference in using all 4 settings.  Why did none of the YCbCr settings work on the Panasonic?  Both of the blu ray players are current players in the stores today, and both have pretty recent firmware updates.  Thanks for your help.

1) The flickering/etc issues either are the result of the first playing having some sort of defect, or you've encountered a (relatively rare) case of incompatibility between HDMI devices. I would suggest going with the Sony player you've tested as it appears that it is in working order as well as fully compatible.

2) The colorspace settings you're seeing actually reference two things: the 4:4:4 (and other # configurations) refer to chroma subsampling (more about that in depth here:, as well as the actual colorspace (RGB or YCbCr; modern HDTVs will support both and they are equivalent in capabilities). In theory 4:4:4 is the highest possible quality, however Blu-ray, DVD, etc do not (on the disc) contain material sampled in this matter, so the settings on the player will have a likely minimal effect on what you see on-screen (as you have noted). Setting things to whatever produces a stable and consistent picture would be the ideal; in general leaving things on "Auto" is the easiest choice with modern HDMI devices.

Here's the Wikipedia about color space as a general topic: The difference between RGB and YCbCr is how the color is represented/relayed to the device, but again a modern HDTV is capable of processing either, so there should not be any difference between the two in practice. The setting is, however, useful if you were connecting the player to an older TV (many of which do not process RGB) or a computer monitor (many of which do not process YCbCr).


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