Sony have backed
out of the TFT monitor business in the desktop range and will now be
concentrating solely on their LCD TV range. This will effect all sizes below
24" according to Sony and USA and Japan ranges were already on the decline as
of a couple of weeks ago. The main Sony TFT monitor stock is supplied from
Asia, but with the shipments now being stopped, the remainder of Sony monitors
across Europe are declared as 'end of life' and will be sold off. A
representative of Sony sited the reasons as heavy competition (especially in
the USA) and decreased market share. Sony assure consumers that any monitors
purchased until stocks are depleted will still be backed by full service and
support for 3 years.
Viewsonic have showcased their new range of "ViewDock" screens at this years Apple Expo. The screens offer a built in iPod dock which allows you to quickly and easily display your iPod's video content and menus on a larger screen. The monitors also come equipped with other connectivity options including several USB 2.0 ports and an 8-in-1 card reader. Add to this integrated stereo speakers and a subwoofer and you have an all purpose multimedia screen which could well be a big hit which ties in with the growing iPod popularity. The screens obviously come with Viewsonic's latest technology offering fast response times, high brightness and contrast ratios and the usual performance you would expect from modern TFT's. Mel Taylor, vice president of marketing said:
to take desktop viewing to the next level is evident in our being the world’s
first manufacturer to truly expand the connectivity possibilities of LCD
displays. These products will fill a gap in the iPod accessories market,
delivering users around the globe the quality and excellence of the ViewSonic
The release of the new ViewDock screens is
expected later this year, possibly as early as mid October but pricing is
unknown at present. 18" and 22" models are expected to be the first released,
and they will also be available without the ViewDock functionality and naming if
required. More information available in
Viewsonic's press release.
TCO Certification is used to classify standards of display devices and is used primarily for LCD-type screens. The requirements in TCO'06 Media Displays build on the requirements in TCO'03 Displays but some requirements are modified to conform to function and the modes of functionality. Three new requirements have also been introduced that measure picture quality in the moving picture and three requirements have been eliminated. The differences between TCO 03 and 06 can be found here but as a summary of the key points the TCO 06 standard is:
- Less strict on luminance
Samsung, BenQ and Eizo are some of the first manufacturers to use the new certification. Each of the manufacturers has had a monitor approved according to the new criteria. Features of TCO’06 Media Displays include ergonomics, e.g. picture quality and colour rendering, energy consumption in standby position, emission, i.e. electrical and magnetic fields and ecology, e.g. how the monitor is prepared for recycling. The labelled screens are the Samsung 215TW, Eizo Flex Scan S2110W, and BenQ FP241W.
More info on TCO standards available here: http://www.tcodevelopment.com/
Hyundai have released their new 19"WS offering into the market with the very attractive looking N91W. Featuring a Samsung TN Film panel, the N91W offers 5ms response time, 800:1 contrast ratio, 300 cd/m2 brightness and 170 / 155 viewing angles. The screen also offers both VGA and DVI interface, something which is left off some of the 19"WS models which are already established (Acer AL191W and Viewsonic VA1912W for instance). The screen also has an integrated speaker and is available in the very nice "Black Colour Edition".
The Hyundai N91W is available for ~£165 now
September sees BenQ Global release information about their new gaming orientated range, with the aim to satisfy growing market need for faster performance. The line up is head-lined by the eagerly anticipated FP241, in both the regular "VW" version and the Black Frame Insertion (BFI) supported "WZ" version. There is a lot of talk in their press releases about their Advanced Motion Accelerator (AMA) technology and the addition of HDMI interface on this new model:
"As the official display partner to gaming conventions WCG (World Cyber Games) 2006 Japan Tournament, CPL (Cyberathlete Professional League) Winter Championship in the US and 2006 NGL Gaming League at the Games Convention in Germany, BenQ's LCD monitors – featuring AMA Z and HDMI technology, will be used in all competitions respectively, setting a new gaming standard worldwide."
There is also a new 19" gaming screen due, the FP94VW, but little information is available yet. Full press release about the new gaming range available here. BenQ are also soon to release a new "Snow-White" design model, the FP93VW. This is a 19"WS model with 5ms response time, 700:1 contrast ratio and 300 cd/m2 brightness. Press release here. Last but not least is their new 22"WS following in the footsteps of the Viewsonic VX2235WM and hoping to break into this size sector as well. The FP222W offers 5ms response time, but is limited as with the other 22" models in the market to only 1680 x 1050 resolution. More details here
With another release of an update from Dell
potential buyers and current owners are left wondering whether it will have
fixed any remaining 'issues'
which some are still reporting from their 2407WFP screens. The A01 revision
certainly offered some fairly drastic changes from the original A00 release,
including fixes for the text blur problem and colour banding issue (in desktop
mode) which many users reported. The A02 was accompanied by very little
information from Dell but users still seemed very eager to jump on the band
wagon and assume this offered more improvements and that A02 > A01. In reality,
users found that there were still some slight issues with colour gradients to
some users which still remained the main gripe with the screen. As I've said in
the past, I think it is debatable as to whether you would notice such issues in
normal day to day use and I'd question whether this slight banding is really a
problem to the average user. Regardless, people will continue to test these Dell
models in this area and look for new updates to help eliminate the problems.
Recently users have begun to start receiving the new A03 revision, and again this seems to be accompanied by almost an hysteria about its possible improvements and updates. The firmware has been updated to V1B20 and the panel is now strangely listed as HN208 as you can see from the OSD factory menu. Don't be alarmed by the panel name change, I am pretty certain Dell are still using the Samsung S-PVA panel, but the OSD is just listing it differently and probably referring to an internal Dell reference code.
Some users of the Dell support forums have reported on the following:
RadXGe: "I have both A02 & A03 revision and I confirm that the banding is gone with A03. I repeat: The banding is DEAD with A03. The only issue I have right now is with the incapacity to set the fixed aspect ratio when applying the 1600*1200 resolution."
He has also posted the below image of the vertical gradients from A02 (left) and A03 (right). However, other pictures show that banding is still slightly evident in some cases and remains unchanged since A02.
My advice with the situation is to be very wary of the hype surrounding these new releases. There have been some pretty sweeping statements I have seen across forums, including on Dell's support forum, which include things like "HDCP via DVI has been fixed now supporting full 1080i/p". These kind of statements are unsubstantiated and as with the A02 release, I'd suggest you don't bank on any massive changes. Chris M who is the moderator of the Dell forums conducted meetings with Dell about the 2407WFP and clears the whole thing up with the following:
"The only changes made to the 2407WFP A03 were
language fixes in the OSD (On Screen Display)"
More information has been released about
Viewsonic's unusual 22"WS VX2235WM model. This screen features a design not like
may of their other range and a new diagonal size not yet explored in the market
really. The specs for the model have been released and can be seen below.
Release in the UK is imminent really, with some US residents already purchasing
the screen from their stores.
It looks likely that this display is using CMO's 22" TN Film panel, the M220Z1-L01. More information and spec sheets available from Viewsonic:
Originally unveiled at CEBIT 2006, the specs for the L203WT have always looked a little confusing. It's hard to tell from the specs alone what type of panel technology is being used in this model, with viewing angles in particular looking too low for an S-IPS panel, but perhaps too high for TN Film. The original specs from the LG display stand at CEBIT are shown below:
There has been some discussion across the web as to which panel is being used in the L203WT and whether it is TN Film or S-IPS based. A good place to have a read about this is in this review at Widescreengamingforum.com. Some people claim that the L203WT behaves like an S-IPS screen, and others that it behaves like TN Film (note: Be wary of the pictures posted at WSGF there as they don't really show anything conclusive). The USA and Canadian LG sites even list viewing angles as 160/160 which further adds to the claim that the screen is based on TN Film technology. I spoke with LG technical support including the assistant product manager for monitors in the UK. It was confirmed that the L203WT IS using a TN Film panel, which is from Chunghwa Picture Tubes (the CLAA200WB01). This is the information I received:
I will be checking whether there are different versions in other countries but so far I've not seen much evidence that the L203WT uses S-IPS. More details as I get them.
UPDATE: 2/9/06 - I have
had the following response from LG product management about the supposed S-IPS
version of the L203WT: "The
L203WT-BF will have the same panel world wide, if there is a change in
specification the model name would change slightly. For example, you may find
the same monitor with a different panel called ‘L203WTE’. As far as I know
there is just the TN version of this model though. I certainly don’t have
information on a S-IPS based panel for this model."
There isn't much information available yet about this TFT, but this is part of Hyundai's new range coming soon. Early reports suggest this could be one of the first TFT's in the market to offer a 1ms response time. Almost certainly this will be a TN Film based screen, but perhaps one for the gamers out there. More info as it becomes available.
The eagerly anticipated 24" BenQ FP241W has sadly been delayed til September in the UK market. BenQ confirmed there was a massive demand for the new model, which is being heavily marketed for its HD support and impressive spec. The 'Z' edition will also be the first of BenQ's range to use their new BFI technology.
More information about the FP241W can be found
Originally announced at CEBIT 2006, the 917P from Samsung offers a very unique design and functionality. The 917P offers 180 degree swivel and 135 tilt functionality and comes in two 'mirror-finish' colours, white and black. The spec of the Samsung PVA panel used offers 6ms G2G response time, 1500:1 contrast ratio, 250 cd/m2 brightness and 178/178 viewing angles. The screen features DVI and VGA as you would expect along with a single USB connection. Most importantly with a screen of this design, the included Samsung software automatically rotates the image on your screen in line with any adjustments you make. Whether this functionality of the model is useful depends on your use, and may be more gimmicky than anything.
The 917P is expected in August 2006 in Europe
LG have recently released their new 20"WS L204WT to the US market, with the UK sure to follow soon. Retailing at ~$370 at the moment, the L204WT is the first to use LG.Philips new LM201WE3-TN panel with a 5ms response time, 2000:1 contrast ratio (thanks to DFC) and 300 cd/m2 brightness. The monitor also features lockable OSD with touch buttons on the rear right hand corner of its thin bezel and Adaptive Colour and Contrast Enhancement (ACE) offering preset modes including 'movie', 'text' and 'photo'. The screen looks like it should be well priced on its release in the UK as well, and should hopefully offer some good responsiveness for the gamers out there. More info as it becomes available.
The marketing states that "after nearly two years of monumental R&D effort and stringent testing, BenQ offers a monitor that finally meets the most demanding requirements of professional designers." For once the manufacturer has concentrated on users who aren't looking for the latest and greatest response time for gaming, and have opted to use an 18ms S-IPS panel from LG.Philips. The panel offers wide 178/178 viewing angles, 700:1 contrast ratio and 250 cd/m2 brightness. Clearly this screen is aimed at professional photographers and those who require very accurate colour qualities. Some key aspects which BenQ detail in their description here are:
Spec and features available here
After a long
time without any update, LG.Philips have finally released specs from their
updated range of monitor application panels. Their collection is available
here. For ease of use and cross referencing I have compiled the below
table based on the new specs from their website, and from the specs listed in
their product catalogue. Please note, specs can vary without notice, but this
should hopefully give an idea of their current range:
Catalogue detail on panels available here
Philips have released the unusual looking 190G6 monitor, a TFT dressed as a multimedia centre! The screen has 4 speakers built into the monitor on the sides capable of 3D virtual sound, and it also comes with an external subwoofer (20W). Each speaker has a cup shaped acoustic enclosure behind it which adds to the thickness of the screen when viewed from the side but helps improve sound quality. The monitor also includes its own sounds card with a USB interface to the PC, HDTV support (720), component, scart and S-Video connections and various audio interfaces.
The screen offers a 1680 x 1050 resolution which is the same as the 20"WS range. Some users may not be keen on this since the extra 2 inches of screen size might seem a little unnecessary if resolution is staying the same. Dot pitch will also be larger and some may argue that text and images might be too big since the resolution is not matching the screen size. On the reverse side, others who find the text and image on a 20" to be a little too small would benefit from this. However, the extra screen size adds immersion in gaming and also offers a larger screen size for home theatre use. The VX2235WM looks from its pre-release specs to be using a 5ms (G2G) TN Film panel from Chi Mei Optoelectronics. The panel offers 16.7 million colours, 700:1 contrast ratio and 300 cd/m2 brightness. The monitor has DVI and VGA connections and built in rear speakers. The design may not be to everyone's taste, but at a great price, many might find the larger screen size a real benefit.
The VX2235WM is expected un August 2006
LG have announced their new 19" model, the L1970HR, featuring one of the best specs to date. Remember, this is only a spec on paper, but it is certainly impressive. It features a 2ms G2G response time which will no doubt be attractive to gamers and LG are obviously hoping this will compete with the other "fast gaming" models out there like the Viewsonic VX922 and Samsung 940BF for instance. The record breaking contrast ratio is achieved using LG.Philips' Digital Fine Contrast (DFC) and LG's "F-Engine" chip which is also designed to improve brightness and reproduction of colours. The ergonomics are good, with tilt and height adjustments as well as the ability to fold the screen flat. The model is still fundamentally a TN Film panel however and so while being a good choice for the gamers out there, it doesn't offer the all round performance of VA and IPS models available.
Sony have announced their new 'E' range which features a new design aimed at office users. These feature a section at the bottom designed for post It notes and pens as described by Yoshiro (Josh) Honda, Display Marketing Manager, Sony Europe:
Quote: “Post-it notes have become an everyday part of life both in the office and in the home. Sony engineers noticed that people often stick them to their computer screens as reminders - a habit which persists even in this electronic age - and so designed a computer display with an integrated area designed specifically for Post-its. We believe this will be a very popular model as its appearance is striking while its shorter depth and unobtrusive cabling make it ideal for keeping desks clear.”
BenQ today announced their new 24"WS monitor, the FP241W. There will be two versions of this, the FP241W and the FP241W +BFI. Both models are the same except one version uses BenQ's "Black Frame Insertion" technology which was unveiled at CEBIT 2006, and reported by TFT Central at the time. As discussed, this technology is designed to help reduce ghosting effects by 'cleaning' the eye every few frames with the insertion of a black frame. Early reports about this BFI technology were promising and this looks to be the first model BenQ are releasing which utilises it.
The FP241W also supports a HD 1080p input signal and has an HDMI interface for multimedia connections. The spec seems to have changed a little since early reports about this screen suggested it would be 8ms G2G response time, 1000:1 contrast ratio and 500 cd/m2 brightness. This was the spec listed over at Prad.de as well, and it was anticipated that it would use the Samsung LTM240M2 S-PVA panel, as used in several other models including the Dell 2407WFP and Acer AL2416W. However BenQ list the spec as 6ms G2G, 800:1 and 300 cd/m2 which is different to the spec Samsung list for their panel. There is a reasonable amount of speculation as to which panel is used, and it is quite likely that it may still be the Samsung S-PVA panel. However, given BenQ's affiliation with AU Optronics, and the presence of their 24"WS P-MVA panels (M240UW01 variants), it could possibly be their panel. CMO also have an S-MVA panel at 24" whose spec looks potentially similar, the M240J1. We will have to wait and see, although my money is on the Samsung S-PVA at this stage. It is possible that they have used a different backlighting structure and so brightness rating (and therefore contrast ratio) is now lower. This is reasonably common, with the panel still fundamentally being the Samsung S-PVA, but then altered a little thanks to BenQ's panel construction and electronics.
News release at BenQ's site
UPDATE: (23/6/06) BenQ have confirmed that the FP241W is using an AU Optronics 'VA' panel. They have not been able to provide any further information, but assuming this is correct, it looks like the monitor will be using the P-MVA M240UW01 panel. This would make sense since they have been producing the BFI technology, but specs listed on BenQ's site still do not match those of the panel. More news as its available.
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