They Can Finally Be Considered to Replace CRT Monitors

This year’s NAB show could be known as the first year LCD technology was seriously considered as a replacement for high-definition CRT monitors for critical preview, color correction and editing. LCD monitors offer the advantages of lower weight, lower power consumption, and reduced heat generation.
A number of companies-such as eCinema Systems, Ikegami, JVC, Marshall Electronics, and Sony-showed products that to most everyone’s eyes looked pretty good (e.g., the blacks held up well; the reds, greens and blues were not oversaturated; and the color adjustments were varied enough to have value in the edit suite). They also all offered native display of 1920×1080/24p and 60p and support for a wide range of inputs, which thus far has been lacking in some models.

Sony introduced its new generation of professional master monitoring technology and was confident enough to display it next to the company’s industry-standard BVM series CRT models.

One new model, the 22.2-inch BVM-L230 LCD video reference monitor, drew quite a few raves from convention goers. The unit features a high-precision backlight system and a new Trimaster display engine. The new LCD panel includes a 10-bit driver that Sony says produces 1,024 levels of gray scale.

Leveraging Trimaster technologies, the BVM-L230 also offers a newly developed wide color gamut panel, color management system, full 1920 x 1080 resolution, high gray-scale gradation, motion picture response, precision signal processing, and a calibration and feedback system. There’s also a new color space selection function, picture-in-picture display and a true interlace display mode, which helps to accurately reproduce interlaced signals.

Sony said it will offer larger screen sizes, including a 42-inch version (viewable area, measured diagonally) that’s planned for next year’s NAB convention. The BVM-L230 LCD video monitor will be available this fall for about $25,000.

Ikegami showed its HLM Series HD LCD monitors, from 22 inches down to 1.8-inch LCD screens on a single tilt-up rack unit. The new 17-inch model, the HLM-1710R HD/SD multi-format color monitor, offers a 600:1 contrast ratio, a 1280 x 768 display, and reproduction of over 16 million colors.

The HLM-1710R integrates a newly developed LCD panel with a viewing angle of 170 degrees. The monitor also provides better reproduction of flesh tones and other visual features that help with critical viewing of video signals.

A Valencia, CA, company led by former colorist Martin Euredjian called eCinema Systems has been working on “evaluation-grade” LCD monitors for several years. At NAB it showed its latest-generation DCM-class monitors with full-screen RGB LED (FS-RGB-LED) backlight technology in 24- and 40-inch models.

Euredjian said the monitors use thousands of LEDs (red, green and blue) to illuminate the LCD. Nearly perfect shading is achieved through multiple adjustable zones that are automatically stabilized with sensors that measure all three primaries in real time, thousands of times per second.

Among the benefits of FS-RGB-LED technology, according to the company, is that it can be calibrated without any loss of R, G or B grayscale shades. Image detail, particularly in the lowlights, can render delicate gradations a lot better than LCD monitors that use CCFL backlights (offered in most other LCD monitors at NAB).

JVC showcased its range of LCD studio technology, like the 9-, 17-, 20- and 24-inch Broadcast Studio Monitors that all incorporate the company’s digital 1080p 10-bit image processor for superior scaling, de-interlacing, and color processing. Along with wide viewing angles, high-speed LCDs, and precise color reproduction, they also offer area markers, tally, AC/DC power supply, and rotary images controls.

Marshall Electronics offers its own range of HD LCD sizes, from 3.5 inches to over 20 inches. Available as a rack-mount display or with a desktop stand, the company’s HD monitors feature an all-digital TFT-MegaPixel active matrix LCD platform. Emulation of SMPTE-C/EBU color and adjustable color temperature enable precise color representation.

The company’s proprietary digital signal processing used on all of its LCD monitors offers 10-bit A/D conversion of analog signals, with 4X over-sampling and super-adaptive 2D comb filtering of composite signals. De-interlacing is performed using a HyperProcess algorithm with motion-adaptive interpolation. It supports virtually every video format, including NTSC/PAL, 480i/p, 720p, and 1080i/p standards. There are also a number of aspect ratio settings, a variety of screen markers, underscan mode, blue-only mode, monochrome mode, H/V delay, and a pixel-to-pixel mode.

Marshall also offers a line of SunBrite Monitors, designed specifically for outdoor applications with high ambient light. SunBrite monitors feature a proprietary optical design that increases the efficiency of the backlight’s light utilization and minimizes the surface reflection of ambient light. The transmissive LCDs produce high-contrast images, even in challenging outdoor lighting conditions. This technology also features a much wider color reproduction range than typical transflective/reflective LCDs or LCDs with increased backlight performance, according to the company.

Panasonic showed its new 7.9-inch (BT-LH80W) 16:9 LCD monitor for studio and field applications. The low-power monitor doubles as a widescreen color viewfinder and delivers exceptional color reproduction and gradation for field production or live event applications.

For use in the edit room to the production truck, the BT-LH80W features low delay realized by an image processing circuit that converts interlaced into progressive signals with delay within one field; a built-in Waveform Monitor that graphically displays luminance levels from -5 to 108 IRE; and a Diagonal Line compensation that reduces the occurrence of jagged noise in the diagonal direction for improved response.

The 800 x 450 pixel resolution monitor reproduces up to 16.7 million colors-closely matching the chromaticity of CRT monitors-and is compatible with multiple HD/SD formats including 1080/24PsF, 1080i, 720p, 480p and 480i.

Two advanced focus-assist functions-Focus-in-Red and Pixel-to-Pixel Matching-address the need for critical camera focusing in HD acquisition. Focus-in-Red displays the edges of the focused area in red when sharp focus is achieved. Pixel-to-pixel mode allows the user to see an input signal without any resizing, effectively confirming an image in a size equivalent to a 19-inch widescreen display (with a 1080/60i input signal). Both functions can be utilized by the user at the same time.

The BT-LH80W joins Panasonic’s BT family of production LCD monitors, which includes the 8.4-inch, 17-inch and 26-inch models.

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