As electronic imaging becomes a mature technology, the requirements of hard copy output systems become more demanding. Currently, color hard copy output is required with a 3- or 4-bit tone scale. However, many present and future applications will require a 6- to 9-bit tone scale. Current electronic imaging systems requiring this extended color tone scale include "high-end" computer graphics, remote sensing and medical imaging. Bimodal hardcopy output systems that use dithering to achieve a tone scale will not be able to meet the requirements of these new electronic imaging systems. In order to minimize the complexity and cost of a new hardcopy output system it is desirable to have an electronic interface rather than an optical interface (as in a photographic film recorder). Thermal dye transfer hard copy (TDT HC) meets the demanding requirements necessary for affordable, high quality "continuous tone" electronic imaging output.