RGB and YCbCr are two different color display formats for displaying videos and images. Choosing between these color display formats has been a contentious issue. Many avoid choosing between them by using the system's default color display.

However, in some cases, the default color display may not be the best output color format. Therefore, this article will analyze the RGB and YCbCr output display formats to help you decide which is a better choice for you.


What Is RGB?

RGB is a color space that constructs the colors you see by combining three colors - red, green, and blue. It is the best color output format for regular computer users and video gamers.

These colors use 8 bits each and have an integer value ranging from 0 to 255. They combine to give a total of 16,777,216 possible colors,  and each pixel in LED monitor displays contains a combination of these colors.

In this color space, Red takes charge of most of the output. When you set the Red pixel to 0, the LED is off, and you have a fully functional LED if you set this value to 255. Also, the Red pixel partially affects the LED light emission.

Features Of RGB

  • RGB is better for people who have eye problems because it reduces the strain on the eyes.
  • It is standard for video gaming and regular computing tasks.
  • RGB is the best for document scanning since most document scanners use the RGB color model.
  • RGB is the best for making movies as it has a shorter darkness range which does not show many details; that way, you can hide many things in these movies using less RGB.
  • RGB is perfect for videos without significant compression. 

What is YCbCr?

YCbCr is a color space like RGB, more sensitive to the human eye, and it has three components as stated below:

  • Y is the luma component of the color, which is responsible for its light intensity.
  • Cb is the blue component minus luma (B-Y).
  • Cr is the red component minus luma (R-Y).

YCbCr is also known as YUV, and the components here are

  • Y, which stands for Luma and luminance.
  • U, which stands for blue-luminance.
  • V, which stands for red-luminance. 

In YCbCr, the colors are compressed but are not in luma because human eyes are more sensitive to brightness or darkness than to colors.

YCbCr is the presentation of colors as a blend of bright signals and two colors. In the encoding process of YCbCr signals from RGB, the higher frequency signals are removed to compress the signals.

YCbCr has a specified value of 4:n:n, and digit 4 represents the sampling rate of 13.5 MHz, the standard frequency for digitizing analog NTSC, PAL, and SECAM.

Devices that use YCbCr video signals include cable boxes, satellite boxes, DVD players, etc. It suits these devices best because they have a limited bandwidth transmission and storage medium that makes them capable of handling compression.

Features Of YCbCr

  • It is the default format for videos. Its compression capability makes it suitable for DVD players, cable boxes, satellite boxes, and others.
  • Unlike RGB, which has only three color options, YCbCr has a wide color range, including yellow, cyan, and magenta.
  • It is the best color format choice for art items, printing, and designs.
  • YCbCr is better for 4K games or videos because it displays sharper colors.
  • It is the best for compressed displays.


RGB is good for gaming and handling computing tasks,  while YCbCr is the best for compressed images. Your choice will depend on your needs - what you do with your computer.

The main difference between RGB and YCbCr is that RGB can display darker and brighter scenes better than YCbCr.

However, you can use the default format if you have problems settling for either of the two due to complex needs or computer use.

The table below compares the general features of RGB and YCbCr:





R (Red)

Y (Luma) 

G (Green) 

Cb (Color blue minus luma) 

B (Blue) 

Cr (Color red minus Luma) 


Designed based on colors. 

Designed based on brightness.

    Eye Effect

Reduces strain on the eyes. 

It strains the eyes without a blue filter.


Not an industry-standard format.

Industry-standard format.


RGB shows off darker and brighter scenes better than YCbCr, which is their main difference. In addition, YCbCr is better for compressed images and watching movies, while RGB is okay for video games and regular computer use.

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