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Best LCD for movies

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April 21, 2005 1:41:34 AM

I have been searching and reading bucket load of reviews of many LCD monitors in the market and I can not find LCD monitor which is really GOOD for watching movies.

I don't play any games but I do watch DVDs exclusively and I do programming so I need LCD which can show sharp text and is really good for movies.

Don't care about the games at all so speed is fine as long as I don't see any ghost images and the colours are fantastic in all the movies.

I am not sure if I need to worry about interpolation here. Also in my search I found that not all the LCD panels show 16.2 million colours natively but show them by some doing something internally in circuit. Is this true..? If yes then how can I find which is a true 16.2 million colour panel.

Cheers :) 

More about : lcd movies

April 21, 2005 3:33:37 AM

You'll probably want to look for one with a good response time.

For LCDs, the main problem is a slow response time. This means that when an image changes, it tends to leave behind an afterimage, commonly called ghosting. For both games and movies alike, this can be very annoying, especially for games because it gets people killed (in-game, of course) when they can't see what they're looking at as well.

One problem though is that gray-to-gray response times can be many times higher than the published response time (which is black to white to black), due to the nature of the technology. However, because most games and movies tend to have darker settings, these are where it comes up most frequently.

Generally speaking, you can consider a response time of 10 ms or less to be pretty good. Of course, different people's standards vary.

Some LCD monitors are on an 8-bit system, and some are on a 6-bit system. 8-bit systems can show 2^24 or 16.7 million colors. 6-bit systems technically can only show 2^18 or 262144 colors. However, due to complicated interpolation (actually, dithering) algorithms and such, they can mimick 253 colors per subpixel (rather than the 8-bit's "true" 256 colors), so that ends up being 253^3 or 16.2 million colors. They do this by slightly varying the brightness of adjacent subpixels of the same color; the eye mixes them together, thus generating the other 15.9 million colors. They do not truly generate those colors though; each pixel is still limited to 262144 colors.

While a 6-bit can't generate as many colors as an 8-bit, its main advantage is that it has significantly faster response times, because there are fewer voltage levels for each subpixel to worry about. Its main disadvantage is that color reproduction may not be perfect. It really depends on your preferences. If you just want to watch movies and don't care if some shades look slightly off, then 6-bit monitors may work well for you. If you do photography work or other stuff that may need accurate color reproduction, go with an 8-bit.

Monitors which say 16.7 million colors are 8-bit. Monitors which say 16.2 million colors are 6-bit. Monitors which say 16 millon colors...well, you don't really know, so you can look at the response times for those. Really quick ones will likely be 6-bit.

So unfortunately, you'll have to look for a tradeoff, because color reproduction and response time are somewhat antithetical specs. Of course, the other tradeoff is to pay more money for a monitor with both.

Chuck Hsiao
Amptron
April 27, 2005 6:44:19 AM

Thank you for prompt reply Chuck :) 

I surely want the 16.7 million colour one since I went to a store with few DVDs where the colour theme differs a lot and I didn't like the result with 12ms panel. Actually part of my job is to write review for movies so I would prefer a LCD which gives me pretty close colour to natural.

I read some more articles and there is a mention of AU Panel and some other type. So can someone please shed some light on this please..?

I also do a bit of photography work so accurate colour reproduction would be required.

Cheers :) 
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April 28, 2005 5:22:12 AM

There are actually not that many LCD panel manufacturers worldwide. Most LCD monitor companies simply package the LCD panels together with circuit boards and casings and such, and then sell the integrated product. Even more companies simply do the brand name. For example, Dell doesn't actually produce any monitors. Instead, it buys them from another company who puts the "Dell" name on the monitor for them. This isn't to detract from Dell or any other company who does that, by the way, since it's very common -- Dell makes its name in customer service, not in original manufacturing. By AU panel, you're probably referring to LCD panels made by AU Optronics, the largest LCD panel manufacturer in Taiwan (and the third largest worldwide, I think). If I remember correctly, Samsung is the largest worldwide, LG.Philips is the second largest, AU Optronics is the third largest, and Chi Mei Optoelectronics (where Amptron gets its CMV and Polyview monitors) is the fourth largest (and is the second largest in Taiwan) in terms of LCD monitors. Chi Mei is the largest in terms of LCD TV's though, so it's not a straight-up correlation across different products and technologies (and why they all say they're the largest LCD manufacturer; it's technically true, depending on the industry). Samsung and LG.Philips are based in South Korea, and AU Optronics and Chi Mei are based in Taiwan, and together they make something like 80% of all LCD panels worldwide. So there's always a sort of game going on where whenever Dell (or any other brand name company) comes out with a new monitor, to guess (or actually know) which panel it uses, since the panel specs are publicly available. Many of Dell's monitors are made by Samsung, for instance.

If you want close to natural color, it may actually involve simply loading the correct color profile. Otherwise, it's hard to really look up the panel's specs, and what its chromaticity is. Even reviews IMO don't do that great of a job of LCD color performance, since it's largely subjective and based on things such as marketing buzz about the monitor in question, brand name, room lighting, etc. The best way to see what monitor is good for you is to simply go out and see for yourself. Of course, with the above, I just complicated choosing an LCD monitor a lot more by giving you color profiles to worry about. The reason why I mention color profiles by the way is because I recently found out that some monitors (including CMV and Polyview) come with them built-in, but I was able to see them only via a Mac, and have no idea how to access built-in color profiles using a PC.

Regarding what I said earlier about response times, I forgot to mention overdrive. Without going into too much detail (you can read about it on the Chi Mei website, as well as others such as http://www.extremetech.com/article2/0,1558,10085,00.asp for Mitsubishi's version), it allows 16.7 M color monitors to have quick response times; it also virtually eliminates the whole gray-to-gray reporting problem. The good part is that because it's just a circuitry change (and not a panel one), it shouldn't be that much more expensive. For example, I suspect (but haven't been able to confirm, so don't take my word for this) that our Polyview V17D (400 cd/m2, 450:1, 10 ms) is just simply the CMV CT-723D (400 cd/m2, 450:1, 16 ms) with overdrive circuitry instead of the regular circuit board, due to the similarity in the specs -- and it's only $10 more. So response times may soon be a thing of the past, as this kind of stuff becomes more common. I suspect (but again, haven't been able to confirm so don't take my word for it) that a lot of the "new" 8 ms and lower LCD monitors are really the same thing but with this same circuitry.

Here are the websites for these manufacturers:

Samsung http://www.samsung.com
LG.Philips http://www.lgphilips-lcd.com/
AU Optronics http://www.auo.com
Chi Mei Optoelectronics http://www.cmo.com.tw/cmo/english/ (its technology section has a nice overview of LCD technologies)

Chuck Hsiao
Amptron
April 28, 2005 10:50:06 AM

Thanks! Very informative. My view is that more info makes for more fun looking and ultimately a better choice. I do agree that seeing is the key in most cases.
I knew that, like lasers for CDR and DVDR, there were only a handful of manufacturers that produced LCD panels. I was familiarized with the concept while resarching the Hyundai Imagequest L90D+ and found that it actually used a Samsung panel <A HREF="http://www.samsung.com/Products/TFTLCD/Monitors_n_Indus..." target="_new"> this one in fact</A>. But I was never able to find all the manufacturers until you pointed them out here in this post.
So thanks again.
Oh, you may have seen some really positive posts for the new Sony 19" in the forums recently. Do you happen to know if they make there own panels or if Sony uses another manufactures part? Just curious.
April 29, 2005 2:46:23 AM

Well this is a "not sure". I know Sony and Samsung have a joint venture to make LCD panels because Sony thus far had been getting them from suppliers instead of getting their own. I don't know if that's up and running yet though. Also, Sony gets their LCD TV panels from Chi Mei I believe (Chi Mei is the world's largest LCD TV panel maker). So it's quite possible that Sony gets it from someone else -- but if that plant is up and running already, they might be producing them already. I'd more expect the former though.

Chuck Hsiao
Amptron
April 29, 2005 7:45:25 PM

Thanks again Chuck,

I will look around and see what I can come up with :) 

Cheers
May 4, 2005 9:46:12 AM

OK I have set my eye on

* Dell 20" UltraSharp 2005FPW
* Apple 20" Cinema Display

What do you guyz think..? Any other suggestion..?

Cheers
May 4, 2005 11:37:58 PM

thats very informative, thanks, Chuck!

Got a Question for you then.

if the 6-bit monitors are emulating 8-bits do any 8-bits use the same techneque to create a 10/12-bit?


BTW Congrats wrack on your graduation to newbie


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May 5, 2005 1:28:11 AM

Apple's prices are set artificially high because it's centralized pricing (they have to have the same prices nationwide, rather than each store deciding what the market worth should be and thus compete with each other with prices). However, the quality of their monitors tend to be pretty good, especially if you're getting a Mac, since they got lots of features that only work (far as I know) with Macs.

These two monitors though actually use the exact same LCD panel (LG.Philips LM201W01), so it's kind of up to you as to whether or not the price differential is worth the extra features if you're using them with a Mac. Best bet is to check out their specs and add-ons and see if those are useful to you. Otherwise, it's easy to just check out reviews that compare them if you're so inclined.

Yes, it's possible to use an 8-bit to emulate a higher bit using the same techniques. I would give an estimate, but I don't know why 6-bit can emulate 253 shades in the first place (i.e. what are the three shades that an 8-bit can do but a 6-bit can't). After all, it seems to me like any 6-bit can emulate an 8-bit: just take 4 pixels, and make their average brightness equal to whatever you want for an 8-bit. Anyway though, the thing is, would anyone notice the difference between 8-bit and a higher bit?

Chuck Hsiao
Amptron
May 5, 2005 2:43:22 AM

I did some research on what three colors a 6-bit monitor can't do. Here's what I found, partly based on some research about what these bits actually mean, and a dash of guesswork added for flavor:

Each RGB color is represented by a byte, which is 8 bits of information. Thus if the byte's value is 00000000 in binary (00 in hex), then it's black. If the byte's value is 11111111, (FF in hex), then it's white. This is how the color is stored in the computer.

So if we think of this in terms of fractions, we want 256 gradations, evenly spaced, going from 0 to 1. This actually means 256 shades that are spaced 1/255 apart, the 255 in the denominator (not 256) because you're counting from 1 to 255, along with 0, to get the 256 colors. Thus the shades are:
0/255
1/255
2/255
3/255
and so on of the maximum brightness (255/255).

Now, say you want to use 6 bits to represent this. You could try doing the same thing again, which means representing all shades as such:
0/63
1/63
2/63
3/63
and so forth. Once again, it's out of 63 (not 64) because you're counting from 1 to 63, then add on the 0, for the 64 different shades.

The problem with doing this is that 63 does not divide into 255 evenly (they have a 21:85 ratio, not a 1:4 ratio, even though it's 64 shades vs 256 shades) -- in order to truly represent say 148/255 brightness, you'd take the two closest values (36/63 brightness and 37/63 brightness), and make sure that they're distributed throughout the picture such that the average of all of them becomes 148/255 brightness. But this means that 37/85 of all pixels would be at 36/63 brightness, and 48/85 of all pixels would be set to 37/63 brightness. Much too unwieldy, considering you're basically trying to dither on an 85-pixel basis.

No, a much simpler method is to space out the color gradations as 0/255, 4/255, 8/255, 12/255, etc. This way, you only need a 4-pixel dithering. If you want to represent say 193/255, then you just take the the values closest to it (192/255 and 196/255). Then, for every 4 pixels, make sure that three of them are at 192/255 and one of them is at 196/255, and thus they average out to 193/255.

The problem then is that this gradation system only goes up to 252/255 (which is the highest value). In other words, the missing three shades are 253/255, 254/255, and 255/255. Thus, 6-bit color can only produce 253 shades this way, but it's a fair tradeoff, since you basically get 6-bit (faster) performance, and you get the vast majority of the possible colors, without complicated dithering schemes.

Now, if you notice, many computers nowadays support 32-bit color (true color). What this actually is, is simply the three 8-bit values for red green blue, plus a dummy 8-bit. The advantage of doing this is that each color takes up 4 bytes, which is convenient in terms of memory addressing. So while 24-bit (3 bytes) would be more efficient (take up less memory), 32-bit (4 bytes) is a lot quicker, at the expense of more memory needed. However, assuming you want to do some fancy dithering, you should be able to use that dummy byte to produce at least 10-bit color using 8-bit plus dithering. While this means 1.06 billion possible colors (1021 x 1021 x 1021) instead of the current 16.7 million, I'm pretty sure most people have figured that we already can't tell the difference between adjacent shades as it is, so I don't think people have done much research in this area. But, theoretically, it is possible.

Chuck Hsiao
Amptron
May 7, 2005 7:05:51 AM

How much money can you spend? They are expensive but I use a 37" Plasma.

:eek:  If I would have shot you when I had the chance, I would be out by now :eek: 
Intel P4 550(3.4)@<font color=green>5Ghz</font color=green>
May 7, 2005 2:32:03 PM

#mozzartusm

I can spend upto US$ 500 :) 

Cheers
May 11, 2005 3:23:04 AM

you'll have to look for a used apple Monitor then.

they just lowered the prices on those and its still 799US

amazing that for only an extra 3" its 1499US

is there some sotra big differance between them?

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May 11, 2005 10:44:40 PM

Thank I will look around.

But I am not really into buying second hand things when it comes to electronics.
May 12, 2005 1:04:33 AM

Wait for a deal on a 2005FPW. I've got one and it's fabulous for movies and all other things.

s signature has been formatted to fit your scr
May 12, 2005 11:10:48 AM

Yeah there's quite a difference.

Apple's 20-inch is 1680 x 1050, while Apple's 23-inch is 1920 x 1200. That means that the former has 1764K pixels while the latter has 2304K pixels, a 30% increase in number of pixels. Now that might not mean it's worth double the price (that's up to you), but it's quite an increase.

Chuck Hsiao
Amptron
May 12, 2005 10:35:32 PM

Quote:

Wait for a deal on a 2005FPW. I've got one and it's fabulous for movies and all other things


Sounds like a plan. Just a quick question. I got a Intel 915G mobo and I was wondering if it can support 16:10 resolution..?
May 12, 2005 10:37:20 PM

Quote:

Yeah there's quite a difference.

Apple's 20-inch is 1680 x 1050, while Apple's 23-inch is 1920 x 1200. That means that the former has 1764K pixels while the latter has 2304K pixels, a 30% increase in number of pixels. Now that might not mean it's worth double the price (that's up to you), but it's quite an increase.

Chuck Hsiao
Amptron


I am not going for 23" at the moment. Too less desk space and I also want to make sure that I am at a proper distance for the screen size.
May 16, 2005 3:52:08 AM

guess i disn;t realy look at it that way... 30% is more then i thought. still not realy worth that high a price tag...is it? Guess i'll have to See one and compare it

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May 17, 2005 3:35:01 AM

Allright I have ordered the 2005FPW so it should arrive soon.

Let hope it was worth the money.
!