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RGB vs YCbCr: What are the Main Differences

Many would often get confused with RGB and YCbCr even when they come in different types of color spaces and how they are used for displaying video and images. Through this article, we shall feature and investigate the differences between RGB and YCbCr.

RGB stands for Red, Green and Blue. This combination of colors are used in displaying color images/videos wherein each and every pixel has the ability to hold 3 colors. Hence, when you choose RGB, you would need more storage compared to no color image.

YCbCr, on the other hand, stands for Luma – luminance, U – blue luminance, V for red-luminance. This one offers separate luminance from chrominance which is considered as something more effective than RGB color space.

What is RGB?

RGB are colors which are represented by numbers. They are often used for digital media. Though RGB might seem to be simple and is often times mentioned in articles, it is actually more to it and it is very interesting. In fact, RGB comes with a set of rules which would describe colors with numbers.

RGB, as mentioned earlier stands for red, green and blue. It is a combination which each pixel on your screen uses for its display of images and videos. RGB is the most common color space used for most displays.

Full RGB and Limited RGB

RGB has been developed by tech companies such as HP, Microsoft and Intel. Hence, if you are using an LED monitor for your computer or laptop, one important question would be if your monitor is using limited or full RGB. This information is very important as it affects the quality of the images of your LED monitor.

Limited RGB and full RGB is different from each other in terms of the range of intensity of lightness and darkness. Do not be confused as there is no really relation of RGB and color depth.

As for the scale of RGB, RGB comes with 255 levels wherein 0 represents absolute black while 255 represents absolute white. 1 to 254 represent different color combinations of red, blue and green.

Limited RGB comes with a range of 16 to 235. This means that its absolute black is 16 levels brighter compared to a full RGB while its white is 15 levels lower than full RGB.

Why Is Limited RGB Used?

As mentioned earlier, full RGB come with greater range of colors which is why it is more preferred than limited RGB. Though this is the case, many would wonder, why then have a limited RGB?

Limited RGB is very important to content creators, cinematographers and directors. With full RGB, flaws are easily observed in terms of color space and when you are creating a film, it would be very difficult to hide things when you use a full RGB. Furthermore, if you are using CGI in your film, full RGB would look less realistic and would be seen as overly exposed.

Issues with Limited and Full RGB

Most monitors sold in the market use full RGB by default. This means, if you would transform your full RGB to limited RGB, dark areas would not be very detailed and your image could appear darker. Hence, this would cause a challenge especially when you are watching movies or editing videos. Hence, it is suggested for you to move to limited RGB.

However, if you transform your limited RGB to full RGB, images would be washed out. The dark areas would be lighter.

How to Properly Use Limited and Full RGB

When you choose your monitor, you will have to ensure that your display and sources match. Ensure that your display has the ability to run full RGB if you are into gaming or doing some regular tasks. However,, if you are watching a Blu-ray format movie, it is better to ensure that your display could support limited RGB.

What is YCbCr?

Though RGB is best used for colored images and videos, it is not all the time ideal when it comes to storage and processing images and videos.

YCbCr is a color space wherein Y comes with luma color component. This means, it deals with light intensity of the color.

Cb is the blue component which deals with chroma component. CB on the other hand is blue component which deals with green component. Cr – red component which is related to chroma component which is red that is related to green component.

Y component on the other hand must be correct as it is sensitive to human eye.

Is YCbCr better than RGB?

Yes, YCbCr is better than RGB when it comes to storing image as it stores lesser compared to RGB.

RGB on the other hand is often used for gaming and regular tasks. YCbCr is for compressing image files and saving space.


Is YCbCr a color space?

Yes, it is.

What is RGB in gaming?

It is neon aesthetic which comes with primary red, green and blue.

Is RGB better than YCbCr?

RGB is used for computing task. However, YCbCr is perfect for watching movies.

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