As we reported a few days ago, there has recently been word across the internet that there would be a firmware update for the FP241W to fix the main gripe everyone seemed to have with the screen, the lack of aspect ratio options and 1:1 pixel mapping. We can confirm that UK management at BenQ have confirmed that this WILL be happening, and while there is limited detail at this time, BenQ have stated that the "24W series will have new firmware to phase in new functions, such as display mode//Windows Vista-DDC/CI". This confirmation only came on Friday, and more details will follow soon. This upgrade will not be possible by the user directly, and I would imagine screens would need to be sent to service centres for the update to be applied. New stock after a certain point (expected December) will have this updated firmware in place.
Samsung have announced the launch of their impressive 305T monitor, boasting a 30" screen size and some impressive specs. Designed for the commercial market, the 305T combines a 16:10 wide-screen design and high, 2560x1600 resolution, making it ideal for a variety of professional applications, including medical, engineering, control rooms, CAD, graphics and design, and desktop publishing. Other specifications include 400cd/m2 brightness, 1000:1 contrast ratio, 178/178 degree viewing angle, a fast response time of 6ms (G2G), and a 0.25 pixel pitch for clean, tight image reproduction.
The screen uses Samsungs own 6ms G2G S-PVA panel (LTM300M1) and offers functionality in the form of height, tilt and swivel adjustments. There is also an integrated USB hub. The screen is expected to appear in the US this December at a retail price of $1999.
Samsung Press Release available here
There have recently been reports across the internet of BenQ support telling customers that there is a firmware update for the FP241W planned very soon which will fix the aspect ratio issues which many have been widely discussed and criticised. This seems to be the main complaint about the screen, and if this is true, then it could well secure the FP241W its position as the 24" of choice for the LCD enthusiast. It has been suggested that this update will be available in December, but it is unclear how this will potentially affect existing customers. New stock will likely incorporate this feature, if it is true, but at what point, we don't know. Details are obviously sketchy, but reports seem to be stemming from the US support teams. We should have confirmation at TFT Central in the very near future so keep an eye on the news page!
More details about the FP241W are discussed in our article here
The BenQ FP93GX+ and FP93GS are the first in the industry to receive the "Works with Windows Vista" logo which ensures reliability, stability, security and proper installation. “We are pleased to be the first monitors certified by Microsoft to be ready for Windows Vista. BenQ monitors have always been about providing enhanced usability with the latest technologies to our users,” commented Conway Lee, BenQ Digital Media Business Group General Manager. “Both monitors are designed to take advantage of the latest Windows innovations.”
Both high-performance monitors are built with consumer’s usability in mind. The FP93GX+ is an extension of the FP93GX offering again a 2ms TN Film panel and BenQ's proprietary AMA technology. The FP93GS features BenQ’s Senseye Technology which automatically and dynamically improves image quality. Further specs are not released at this time. The FP93GX+ and FP93GS have been tested to meet high-quality standards and deliver a superior end-user experience when used with a PC running a Windows Vista operating system. Additionally, BenQ’s FP241VW is expected to receive the Windows Vista Premium Logo later this month that will certify it has the best in-class performance and features that are designed to enable new Windows Vista experiences.
Samsung have announced the launch of their new SyncMaster XL20 monitor. At 20" in size, the screen uses LED backlighting and can offer 114% of the NTSC colour gamut. Designed for colour critical applications, desktop publishers, video and photography editors and graphic designers, the XL20 supports users that demand extremely accurate colour temperature, linearly colour tracking, brightness uniformity and colour reproduction. Traditional LCD screens typically cover only 82 percent of the NTSC standard colour gamut (CRT covers 76 percent), while the new XL20 utilizes a unique light emitting diode back light unit (LED BLU), increasing the colour gamut up to 114 percent of the NTSC colour gamut.
press release available
Philips have released a new 7" photo frame designed to allow the quick and easy display of digital photos. Retailing at ~£150 in the UK, the frame doesn't come cheap. However, it will allow you to easily show off your digital photo collection in full screen browse, slideshow, and thumbnail modes straight from the internal storage or from a memory card. At a size of 7 inches, the screen utilises a small 720 x 480 resolution LCD display with 170 / 170 viewing angles, and an expected backlight lifetime of >20,000 hours.
The photo frame can be connected up to a PC with the included USB cable, or you can import photos directly from the built in memory card reader (SD, Compact Flash I, Memory Stick, Memory Stick Pro and Multimedia Card types supported). Pictures are shown in JPEG format with allowed sizes of up to 12 Mega Pixels. There is a brightness adjustment feature to allow you to match ambient light conditions, and an automatic timer function to switch the photo frame on and off at times to suit. The frame can also be run from its internal battery rather than plugging it in, but only with an expected life time of 0.8 hours without a power charge.
Details on Philips Site available here
Samsung, one of the largest panel manufacturers in the world, has recently stated it has begun to concentrate its panel production efforts on screens of 19", 22" and 24" size. They are leaving behind the 17" market since it has long since reached its saturation point anyway. 22" is a new diagonal, which some may find a little unusual. Other panel manufacturers are bound to follow suit, and Meko (monitor market research company) have predicted a large increase in models in this size. While offering another 2" worth of screen real estate, the panels still only offer the same 1680 x 1050 resolution of the 20"WS market. To many, this is off-putting, but in practice it is a similar situation to when 19" models began to take over from the 17" market. While the screens offer the same resolution as a 20"WS, the extra screen size is nice for immersion in gaming and movies, and in addition to this, some users also find the slightly larger pixel pitch and text to be a little easier to use.
At the moment, the 22" market is dominated by TN Film technology, and much like the 19" market before it, this is being used to help drive down prices and offer very competitive products but of a larger size. Some models are as low as ~£230 and this is tempting people away from the smaller 20"WS range, and into getting a larger screen. At some point, we may well see 22" panels using other technology to TN Film. AU Optronics are supposedly working on a P-MVA panel for instance. However, these technologies may find it hard to make an impact since the prices of TN Film models are incredibly low, and very hard to compete with on a price front.
Typically the 22" models offer specs with a 5ms or lower response time, contrast ratios ranging from 700:1 to 1000:1 and come with a variety of different designs, functionality and connectivity options. The models available at time of writing are shown above.
While other manufacturers are concentrating their LED backlighting efforts on high end monitors, expected with a high price tag, Acer are entering the market with what is expected to be a much more affordable offering. The AL1917L is 19" in size, and while featuring this interesting backlight method, features a TN Film panel. Interestingly the aim of LED backlighting is to provide improved colour reproduction and a bright and evenly lit image. However, it seems an odd coupling of this technology with a TN Film panel, not known for offering a god colour depth or particularly reliable colour accuracy as compared with other technologies. Still, this should offer an affordable screen for the masses and so those looking to use this new technology don't necessarily have to worry about the high prices LED backlighting was expected to bring.
The Acer AL1917L offers a 5ms response time, 700:1 contrast ratio and 250 cd/m2 brightness. Retail price is unknown at this stage.
There has been some talk across the net about the proposed new 24" models from LG and NEC. There is hope that the new 24" S-IPS panel from LG.Philips can deliver the kind of excellent performance that consumers have found from the popular LCD20WGX2 model from NEC. LG.Philips list the spec of their 24" S-IPS panel as:
LG have released news of their new L245WP, featuring this panel. Their specs differ a little, with 8ms G2G response time and 1000:1 contrast ratio (although DFC is featured). Strangely, while the screen does support HDCP and is set to include an HDMI connection, VGA and Component, it won't have DVI. An odd feature to leave off a new model?! The L245WP is rumoured for release in November 2006, but this is not confirmed yet.
The other model which is due to feature this 24" S-IPS panel is the NEC LCD2490 (remaining lettering tbc). There's less information available about this model other than its use of this panel. NEC have informed me that this model is not due to be released in Europe, instead they have opted to market the LCD2690WUXi. It should be released in the US at some point however.
Chinese Press Release about the L245WP (Translated - Oct 2006)
BeHardware have reported this week that Samsung have announced their first LCD TV to utilise their new 100Hz technology. This is designed to improve image fluidity and reduce the human eye's perception of afterglow and blurring. Unlike BenQ's Black Frame Insertion (BFI) method of removing this perceived blur, Samsung have opted to develop their own so called 'MPA technology'. This was originally announced at CEBIT 2006 and is based around the principal of image prediction. Extra images are calculated by an image processing chip and inserted into the image between frames to increase the number of frames the display will show. This prediction method looks very promising and BeHardware were certainly impressed with the initial testing. In gaming and fast TV, users observed reduced blurring and improved motion. However, in movie playback (due to frame rate of movies) this didn't perform as well.
For the full article, please see the first look at BeHardware here
The Samsung AMOLED TV was showcased for the first time at this years KES 2006 event as reported by Aving.net. The 17" TV set has a panel which is only 1.8mm think, with the TV itself being only 12mm in thickness! The screen features a spec of 400cd/m2 brightness, 1000:1 contrast ratio, viewing angles over 170/170 and most impressively a response time of apparently less than 0.01ms! The screen also offers a 1600 x 1200 resolution which is a new venture into the 17" diagonal. Colour depth is one area particularly lacking however with only 262,144 colours being produced, and no sign even of FRC or technologies to offer a wider colour palette.
The manual for the BenQ FP241W has been released by BenQ across some of their European sites (link here) and it confirms the settings and operation of the BFI technology from within the OSD. The following is taken from the manual:
As you can see there are 4 settings for the BFI technology ranging from:
It may sound confusing to you, but after we received the information from NEC about the upcoming LCD2690WUXi 26" WS LCD monitor, this was the first thought that came to my mind. As far as we can tell from the the specification itself, the LCD2690WUXi does look rather interesting! It does keep the 90 series legacy - evolved into the 26" bezel, and LG.Philips LM260WU1 A-TW-IPS (Advanced True White) IPS panel. Specifically, that legacy includes ColorComp™, Internal 12-bit lookup Table (LUT), Gamma selection, AmbiBright™ and SpectraviewII support. You may find more information about them at the following pages:
NEC was also kind enough to provide us with the preliminary spec sheet.
Surprisingly enough, NEC introduced few additional features too! 92% of the NTSC colour space ( 93.4% of the Adobe Gamut), better overdrive resulting in much lower G2G response time (7ms) and adjustable backlight. Such improvement in colour gamut may suggest that new type of the CCFL backlight is in place. According to the early reports, you can also adjust the backlight luminance and store this as preset next time when the monitor is powered on. So, for example, if you would like to work with 200 cd/m2, you will be able to adjust the monitor permanently to such luminance. In my opinion, any monitor or LCD TV with the ability to adjust the backlight, even if that's part of the power management, is a great advantage. Such feature may sound irrelevant, but in some situations it can even improve the picture quality and especially black depth. Reduced luminance is also nice option for the long desktop sessions. Apart from that, 7ms G2G and Overdrive Off/On are also in place.
We already featured the Overdrive Off/On existence previously in the LCD2090UXi. It would be interesting to see if this option is actually properly implemented this time as it may help reduce the video noise and other overdrive side effects. In essence, you can have the best of both worlds and use the overdrive whenever you feel like it. Interestingly enough, the LCD2690WUXi is the first 26" size panel - it's not an everyday sight and the question is: "is this panel size a proper middle ground between the 24" and 30"? - especially because you are still keeping the 1920x1200 resolution and that means less costs for the upgrade and no particular stress to the GPU. 30" is sometimes just too demanding and overwhelming. On the other hand, I'm slightly worried that keeping the same 24" resolution and adding the 2" more will introduce the 'chunky' pixels (and screen door effect) - but we can't tell for sure until first hand experience. With this screen size, keeping the optimal and ergonomic viewing distance is really important and with some clever adjustment you can probably keep the screen door and eye strain side effects on bare minimum.
Is this monitor capable to combine the colour critical work with the great gaming sessions on 26" screen estate in high colour fidelity? Well, we will tell you in November when we receive LCD2690WUXi sample from the NEC evaluation stock, as TFTcentral will feature the review of this monitor. We may have really superb all around high-end screen, perfectly capable for any task - ranging from gaming and movies playback to critical colour work. Unfortunately, this may come with the price as early estimation is in the range of $1750 (US), with prices hopefully being reduced after release. Release date is early November, although monitor will not be available for sale until December.
LG have released their new 19"WS monitor to compete with the other emerging models in this growing sector. The screen offers the usual 1440 x 900 resolution, but the rest of the specs are certainly impressive. The screen offers a 5ms G2G response time from it's TN Film panel as well as a 2000:1 contrast ratio thanks to the implementation of LG's DFC (Digital Fine Contrast). The 19"WS market is becoming increasingly popular with some nice screens offered at low prices. The L194WT is retailing for $249 in the US with a UK price tag of £160 - 170.
Full specs for the L194WT can be found here
While information is at this stage quite patchy,
Dell have announced a new budget model which will be the little brother of the
2007WFP. This trimmed down version looks to be based on a 5ms TN Film
20"WS panel. It is expected to retail for around £200 in the UK ($299 in the US)
and as well as the cut back in panel choice, Dell have apparently done away with
the extra connectivity interfaces like S-Video and Composite. More details as
they become available.
The eagerly anticipated release of the BenQ FP241W has been slightly delayed, with initial UK stocks expected now towards the end of October. The monitor has begun to emerge in the US market however, with some users now receiving the screen from the first stocks. BenQ have informed us that they don't expect any further delays, and the FP241WZ will still follow soon after the release of the regular (sometimes labelled FP241VW) edition.
FP241W is expected to retail in the UK at ~£640 - 650
AU Optronics have taken over their former rival panel manufacturing company Quanta Display Inc further strengthening their position in the TFT market place. Post-merger, AUO will rank as the world’s No. 1 maker of large-sized TFT-LCD panels with an estimated market share of approximately 20.9%. The following is taken from AU Optronics' press release:
"AU Optronics Corp. ("AUO" or the "Company") (TAIEX: 2409; NYSE: AUO) today announced the completion of its merger with Quanta Display Inc. (QDI). Following the signing of a merger agreement on April 7, 2006, the merger has been approved by the Fair Trade Commission, Executive Yuan, and by the shareholders of each of AUO and QDI. With approximately 20.9%(a) of the large-sized TFT-LCD market share, the post-merger AUO will be able to leverage its competitive power to not only integrate Taiwan’s TFT-LCD industry resources but also provide worldwide customers better products, technology and service."
Further information available here
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