ICDM Special Session: A Visionary Standard

The new guidelines contained in the Display Measurements Standard (DMS) developed by SID's International Committee for Display Metrology (ICDM) are designed to flexibly address the pace of change in the display industry by using a common language rather than specific tests. And those guidelines will grow with technology. "We anticipate that this will be a living document," says Joe Miseli, Chair of the ICDM.

by Jenny Donelan

METROLOGY AND HEROISM are not words that often show up in the same sentence, but in the case of SID's International Committee for Display Metrology (ICDM), the pairing is apt. Over the last decade, the members of the committee have labored, for the most part, without compensation, and, in addition to their day jobs at different companies throughout the world, to create a comprehensive metrology standard for evaluating displays. Though it might not sound especially heroic to ensure that all display measurements are made on the same baseline for fair and honest comparisons, this was a difficult and complicated task that no power-that-be ever mandated. A group of visionaries simply knew that displays were sometimes being measured with error and bias and set about to put that situation to rights.

The fruit of their labors, a 400+ page book that will be available for the first time at Display Week 2009, is unlikely to turn heads in the same way as, for example, an OLED television or a flexible display that can be worn as a bracelet. But its long-term impact may be just as great. The Display Measurements Standard (DMS), Version 1, is also noteworthy because it is the first standard ever to be sponsored by the Society for Information Display. And the ICDM is the first standards-development committee ever to exist within SID.

The Display Measurements Standard (Version 1), on sale at Display Week, consists of a 400+ page book and a DVD containing extras such as test patterns for multiple resolutions. Included in the book will be descriptions for measuring performance for all types of displays – LCD, PDP, OLED, projection, 3-D, flexible, and even CRT. There will also be a technical section, a metrology section, and many different references and guides, including glossaries and tables. "The scope of this is boundless – it is not limited to any type of display or state of development of display," says Joe Miseli, Senior Staff Engineer for Displays at Sun Microsystems and Chair of the ICDM. The Standard is also designed to be accessible to anyone involved with displays. "It can be used by manufacturers, OEMs, and even end users," says Miseli. In order to ensure consistency of style and clarity of language for the project, all content is being overseen by a single editor, Ed Kelley, Senior Scientist for Display Metrology at NIST, who is the ICDM Editor-in-Chief.



A sample page from the Display Measurements Standard, Version 1. Included in the book will be descriptions for measuring the performance of all types of displays.


What the Standard will not do is describe what constitutes good or bad image quality. Rather, it will ensure accuracy in measurement of the image quality by describing methods for measurements so that results produce accurate numbers. The emphasis is on proper methodology and reducing ambiguity through a clear and common language.

Answering a Need

One of the driving forces behind the creation of the ICDM was the dearth of a common language for the evaluation of displays. Though there was the VESA (Video Electronics Standards Association) FPDM2 (Flat Panel Display Measurement) standard, developed by many of the parties now involved in the ICDM, the FPDM2 standard was last updated in 2001. "Displays have been changing so quickly that standards have not kept up," says Miseli. The new guidelines are designed to address the pace of change flexibly by using a common language rather than specific tests. And those guidelines will grow with technology. "We anticipate that this will be a living document," says Miseli.

Another driving force was that measurements for certain aspects of display performance are notoriously easy to manipulate. This made it easy for manufacturers to engage in what is commonly called "specsmanship." Therefore, chief among the goals of the Standard were, in the words of the committee, "to establish standard setup and testing conditions to assure accuracy in testing and work to eliminate such 'wiggle room,' so that those who test displays cannot skew conditions in order to demonstrate favorable results."


ICDM: Where and When

Special Session: Focus on the ICDM

The session, consisting of five 10-minute presentations and a 30-minute panel discussion, takes place Wednesday, June 3, from 10:40 am to 12:00 pm in Room 214A/B of the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center.

Featured papers include:

• "Gamma and Gray-Scale Measuring Methods for ICDM Standards"Don Gyou Lee, LG Display Co., Ltd., Kyungbuk-do, Korea

• "3-D Stereo-Display Standards"Adi Abileah, Planar Systems, Inc., Beaverton, OR, USA

"Projectors and Front-Projection-Screen Measurements"Michael Rudd, THX Ltd., San Rafael, CA, USA

• "Luminance and Contrast"Jens Jorgen Jensen, Delta, Hoersholm, Denmark

• "Viewing-Angle Measurement Methods"Thierry Leroux, ELDIM S.A., Saint Clair, France



The Display Measurements Standard, Version 1, will available for sale at Display Week 2009 in San Antonio, Texas. A DVD containing extras such as test patterns for multiple resolutions is included in the price of the 400+ page book.


The experts who came together to address this situation hail from a wide range of fields relating to displays, including display metrology, color science, vision science, human factors, display engineering, physics, and many others. The ICDM now has more than 150 active members. Many of them have been working together in various capacities toward a unified display standard for a number of years, but the ICDM was officially founded in 2007.

Visitors to Display Week 2009 will have several opportunities to buy, view, and learn about the new Standard. It will be on sale at the SID Membership Booth, and a special ICDM session will feature presentations on different aspects of metrology — and, in a way, on a bunch of visionaries quietly making history.

Presentation: Introducing the ICDM

Standards Chair Joe Miseli will present "Introduction to the ICDM Display Measurements Standard" as part of the Display Measurements Methods and Standards session scheduled for Wednesday, June 3 from 9:00 to 10:20 am in Room 214A/B of the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio, Texas.

Visit the ICDM Web site at www.icdm sid.org. •


Jenny Donelan is the Managing Editor of Information Display Magazine. She can be reached at jdonelan@pcm411.com.