I just bought a HP w2408h 24" LCD monitor that was shipped from HP> Before it arrived, I read a review by someone who identified himself as a professional photographer, which is the use I got the monitor for too. He said he could not get a print that was "color accurate" from what he saw on the screen. When I hooked mine up yesterday, the colors on the screen were much different (more saturated) that those on my MacBook Pro screen. Is there a way to correct the HP screen colors, or do I need to return this monitor?
The HP 2408h uses a TN panel (6-bit) which can only produce 256k of actual colors. Thru a process call temporal dithering colors can be blended together to create the remaining 16 million colors. This is the main problem of TN panels which can lead to inaccurate colors, although I've read this particular TN monitor is better than most other TN panel based monitors out there. To get something much better and more suited for professional you will need to spend more money on an 8-bit panel which can truly produce 16.7m colors without any need to inaccurate dithering.
S-PVA, P-MVA, and IPS panels are all 8-bit panels and because they are more costly to manufacture, the also tend to carry a higher price. When shopping online, 24" LCD monitors using one of these panels tend to start at about $600 and can go beyond $1,100. If on sale and/or rebate, then the price can be closer to $500 - $550. My recommendation on the "low end" would be the Dell 2408WFP and the HP LP2408w. On the high end I would recommend the NEC LEC2490WUXi SprectraView (it comes with it's own specific colorimeter).
For better colors accuracy you could try the sRGB mode in the HP 2408w's OSD menu. To get even more precise color accuracy you will need to buy a colorimeter which can cost between $50 - $300+. All monitors needs a colorimeter for accurate colors.
One of the less expensive colorimeters out there is the SpyderExpress which you can probably buy for $60 - $75. Based on reviews it is very easy to use and does improve colors, but no where near to what a more expensive and advanced colorimeter can do. It's good enough for the average consumer.
The LaCie Blue Eye Pro is probably one of the best colorimeter out in the market, however this costs $300+ and I would only recommend spending that amount if you are graphics / photo professional or if you have money to burn and really want very accuracy colors even when simply surfing the web.
The HP 2408h has a color gamut of 92% which probably explains why colors looks more saturated than your MacBook. HP monitors also tends to use glossy screens as opposed to matte screens which makes colors even more saturated.
There has always been issues when trying to get "color accurate" material from the screen onto paper. That's because of the primary colors used to create all the available colors are different for each medium. LCDs (and CRTs) relies on RGB (Red, Green, Blue) while printers use CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black). Because of the difference in the baseline method of creating colors, it is extremely difficult to get a printout that matches the exact same colors that's on the screen. It's possible, but you will need expensive equipment that are not general sold at your local Best Buy store.