PC display considerations

Discussion in 'Professional Video Production' started by Chris F., Jan 30, 2011.

  1. Chris F.

    Chris F. Guest

    I've been using an old CRT monitor for years - an NEC FP2141 - and have
    been well-satisfied with it. I use it for a variety of things, including
    gaming, websurfing, and photo/video editing. But I recently added an Xbox
    360 to my gaming peripherals, and playing it on a CRT monitor is not an
    option due to its fixed 60Hz refresh rate. So for now I've got the Xbox
    connected to a cheap LCD monitor, which is better than nothing but the image
    quality just isn't cutting the proverbial mustard.
    So I'm considering replacing my old CRT monitor with a good LCD or LED
    flat-panel display, to which I could conveniently connect both my PC and
    Xbox. But letting go of my beloved CRT monitor will not be easy, and
    therefore any replacement display would have to meet certain criteria. This
    is where I need some advice....
    1. Black level / background. This is a problem I have with many LCD
    displays - the backgrounds are not totally black, and make games look lousy
    when playing in the dark. I want to be able to play games in the dark (well,
    a dimly-lit room) and have the black areas be as perfectly black as they are
    on my CRT.
    2. Brightness. Many LCDs are too bright for my liking, even at their lowest
    setting. If I'm going to buy an LCD/LED display, I have to be able to turn
    the brightness down as low as I like, especially if playing in the dark.
    3. Color fidelity. LCD/LED displays are getting pretty good in this area,
    but to sell me on the idea, it will have to meet or exceed the quality of
    color I currently enjoy with my CRT.
    4. Low-res upconversion. All LCD's lose at least some quality when
    upconverting from a non-native resolution, but are some monitors better than
    others at this?
    Finally, I'm wondering if LED monitors offer any advantage over LCD. The
    aforementioned factors all apply, but LED must also be easy on my eyes. I
    find the cheap LCD I'm using on my Xbox to be pretty good in this area.
    The monitor I'm considering is an ASUS LED type, of about 20-23" in size.
    I'm told these are excellent monitors.
    Thanks for any advice.
    Chris F., Jan 30, 2011
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  2. Why do this. You can use both the LCD ("LED" is not a panel type, but
    an illumination type for the panel, as opposed to fluorescent illumination type)
    and the CRT on a dual-head video card, moving between them for specific
    uses, or you can use one on the computer, the other on the Xbox.
    This will not happen - and LCD monitors with auto-black are useless for
    monitoring for photo or video work unless you can turn off that feature
    since otherwise you would have no constant reference monitor to work with.
    LCDs work best with some ambient lighting in the room...
    This is unlikely unless you are willing to spend BIG bucks, and then the
    screen refresh rate would likely be too slow to satisfy you for gaming...
    I'm not familiar with any monitors that up convert in a way that disk players
    and LCD/Plasma HD TVs can, but I may have missed something.
    See above on "LED" monitors...
    Panel monitors offer no geometric distortion, very high sharpness, freedom
    from color-conversion problems, and far lower heat and somewhat lower
    radiation compared with CRTs, but CRTs can offer more accurate color,
    better dynamic range, and somewhat faster refresh rate compared with
    panel displays (although the 60Hz of the panel does not look as bad as
    60Hz on a CRT). Another option may be a good upsampling "120" or
    "240" fps 1080p TV with defeatable auto black level...
    David Ruether, Jan 30, 2011
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  3. AFAIK all LCD monitors are basically a frame store at the resolution they have.
    So if you for example play 640x480 video on a 1680x1050 monitor,
    then the monitor electronics upconverts to 1680x1050.
    This always causes some aliasing, except perhaps if it is an integer scale factor.
    Some use better conversion hardware and algorithms than others.
    Jan Panteltje, Jan 30, 2011
  4. Chris F.

    Frank Guest

    Chris, just a very quick response since I'm pressed for time, but with
    regard to color accuracy, make certain to get an IPS type panel and
    not a TN type panel. AFAIK, only an IPS type panel will provide true
    8-bit (per channel) color. All of the TN type panels on the market are
    6-bit types, although some use a so-called Hi-FRC (Frame Rate
    Compensation) dithering algorithm in an attempt to compensate for the
    small native color space of the device. What this probably means is
    that you're almost never actually seeing truly accurate colors, which
    may be just fine for general business use such as word processing and
    spread sheeting, Web surfing, etc., and maybe even for gaming, but
    which is totally unacceptable for serious graphics and/or video work.

    Generally, I think that you'll find that most lower-priced monitors
    (under about $500) are TN types while most of the higher-priced models
    are IPS types.

    Note that many if not most of the newer monitors coming onto the
    market these days use an LED backlight rather than a CCFL backlight.
    In general, I think that you're better off with LED backlighting than
    with CCFL backlighting, the latter of which always seems to generate a
    bluish color cast over the image.

    LEDs should last longer than florescent tubes, too, and should provide
    more even illumination as well.

    As to upscaling, there are a few models where the automatic upscaling
    feature can be turned off in the monitor's options, but this may not
    always be mentioned in the manufacturer's published specifications.
    Instead, you'll have to download and read the manual prior to making a
    purchasing decision.

    BTW, if I were in your position, I wouldn't consider anything as small
    as "about 20-23" in size". I would go for something larger, say in the
    27-inch to 30-inch range. Size *does matter* when it comes to
    monitors, whether for computer use or television use and I think that
    once you've spent some time in front of a larger monitor, you'll never
    want to go back to a smaller model.

    Also, I assume that the old CRT that you're replacing is a standard
    4:3 aspect ratio device. Keep in mind that most of the newer models on
    the market are widescreen 16:9 aspect ratio. This is just something
    that you'll have to get used to.

    Dell offers a couple of decent IPS TFT LCD monitors and, of course,
    there's always the HP DreamColor LP2480zx 10-bit monitor.

    You may find some useful information at the following Web site.

    TFT Central - LCD Monitor Information, Reviews, Guides and News

    Good luck, and do let us know what you decide.

    Frank, Jan 31, 2011
  5. Chris F.

    ushere Guest

    viewsonic vp2365wb + spyder. chaep and accurate,
    ushere, Jan 31, 2011
  6. Yes, but the "neat trick" that the best upsampling disk players and TVs
    can do is to make the picture look almost as good as it would if it had been
    from a higher-quality source, which as you point out, a computer monitor
    does not do. Not that the upsampled image really has more detail - it just
    looks like it does, which may be good enough...;-) But that characteristic
    of upsampling in TVs may make them relatively poor for monitoring source
    material while editing...
    David Ruether, Jan 31, 2011
  7. Ignore my response above, and read Frank's, below...;-)
    David Ruether, Jan 31, 2011
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