Banding refers to the optical phenomenon where visible gradations appear on a display in the form of stripes or harsh colour transitions in areas of the picture where you would normally expect a smooth, subtle colour gradient. This can negatively affect the picture quality and disrupt the viewing experience.

More Information about Banding

Colour gradient disturbances with banding

Especially noticeable are such banding patterns in scenes with sunsets or landscape pictures showing large-scale representation of uniform colour areas, such as clouds or sky fields.

What causes this effect? The reason for this is the colour resolution of the screen. Nowadays, some television sets still have 8 bit panels and less. Although up to 16.7 million colours are possible, this level of colour depth is not always sufficient for clean gradients without visible outlines.Β 

Data compression during the transmission or storage of content can also influence the picture quality and lead to a poorer result. Finally, hardware problems in the field of the graphics card or the image processor can also be responsible for this.Β 

Note: As is often assumed at first, banding does not have to be a picture error in the actual sense, but is often primarily due to the aforementioned technical limitations.

Can I prevent banding?

Of course, you cannot change the technical characteristics of your TV set. However, there are a few things you can do to make the effect less likely to occur.

  1. Invest in a TV with the highest possible native colour depth. Ideally, a panel with a depth of 10 bits.
  2. Use the highest quality sources possible and avoid compression when storing content.
  3. Make sure your TV is properly calibrated to avoid distorted reproduction.
  4. If your model of choice only has an 8-bit screen, look for the addition of FRC or dithering. On the basis of this function, the device virtually cheats itself into more colour depth. Manufacturers sometimes make rather obscure references to this.
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