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Blocky/Pixelatted video parts on my new LCD computer monitor

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February 6, 2007 5:39:53 AM

Yesterday, I bought a new 19" Samsung SyncMaster 931BF LCD TFT monitor
(http://www.samsung.com/nz/products/monitors/tft/931bf.a... ; 1280x1024) to replace my dying old 17" Samsung SyncMaster 463MB CRT monitor. I have been watching HDTV recordings for over a year on the old screen (1152x864 resolution).

I noticed on my new monitor, there were more blocky and pixelated parts in the videos, especially with the action/fast scenes. I notice them more with high definition (HD) instead of standard definition (SD) [like TV commercials]. A few good examples are the last episodes of Smallville, Heroes, and Super Bowl XLI. I kept Smallville episode recording that I saw the episode on my CRT before I got my new LCD monitor. I rewatched some parts and saw blocky/pixelattd parts.

Is this normal to notice these flaws? Are these MPEG-2 ompressions by design? I assume this is not related to the the ghosting effect. It shouldn't have this problem with 2 ms speed. FYI, I use over the air (OTA) for my digital TV feeds and I am in Los Angeles, CA, USA area.

Thank you in advance.
February 6, 2007 7:18:09 PM

Quote:
Is this normal to notice these flaws? Are these MPEG-2 ompressions by design? I assume this is not related to the the ghosting effect. It shouldn't have this problem with 2 ms speed. FYI, I use over the air (OTA) for my digital TV feeds and I am in Los Angeles, CA, USA area.

Thank you in advance.

It sounds like compression, though I can't say for sure... and yes it is normal for computer users to notice the compression, but may not be for non-computer users. For example, I saw someone watching satellite TV on a regular TV screen and the compression artifacts on it were atrocious.

BTW, that 2ms response time is likely wrong anyways; LCD monitors all show motion blur to some degree (except maybe for some very special models).
February 6, 2007 7:31:54 PM

Quote:
Is this normal to notice these flaws? Are these MPEG-2 ompressions by design? I assume this is not related to the the ghosting effect. It shouldn't have this problem with 2 ms speed. FYI, I use over the air (OTA) for my digital TV feeds and I am in Los Angeles, CA, USA area.

Thank you in advance.

It sounds like compression, though I can't say for sure... and yes it is normal for computer users to notice the compression, but may not be for non-computer users. For example, I saw someone watching satellite TV on a regular TV screen and the compression artifacts on it were atrocious.

BTW, that 2ms response time is likely wrong anyways; LCD monitors all show motion blur to some degree (except maybe for some very special models).Well, Samsung's Web site and manuals say 2ms. I have also seen 4ms out there.

I forgot to share a screen capture of Super Bowl XLI (post game with lots of stuff going on) with the problem: http://img2.freeimagehosting.net/uploads/ce00ee0809.jpg ...
Related resources
February 6, 2007 8:32:36 PM

Quote:
I forgot to share a screen capture of Super Bowl XLI (post game with lots of stuff going on) with the problem: http://img2.freeimagehosting.net/uploads/ce00ee0809.jpg ...

The boxes say 4ms and 2ms, but it is just an outright lie. The fastest monitor that I am aware of (the VX922) is listed as 2ms, but has a real response time of 8-10ms!
February 6, 2007 8:41:59 PM

Quote:
I forgot to share a screen capture of Super Bowl XLI (post game with lots of stuff going on) with the problem: http://img2.freeimagehosting.net/uploads/ce00ee0809.jpg ...

The boxes say 4ms and 2ms, but it is just an outright lie. The fastest monitor that I am aware of (the VX922) is listed as 2ms, but has a real response time of 8-10ms!Uhh, I think you misquoted the wrong post. :)  Or is the speed related to my MPEG-2 video problem?
February 6, 2007 11:49:15 PM

Quote:
I forgot to share a screen capture of Super Bowl XLI (post game with lots of stuff going on) with the problem: http://img2.freeimagehosting.net/uploads/ce00ee0809.jpg ...

The boxes say 4ms and 2ms, but it is just an outright lie. The fastest monitor that I am aware of (the VX922) is listed as 2ms, but has a real response time of 8-10ms!Uhh, I think you misquoted the wrong post. :)  Or is the speed related to my MPEG-2 video problem?
I removed the wrong part of the post, sorry. It should read like this:
Quote:
Well, Samsung's Web site and manuals say 2ms. I have also seen 4ms out there.
The boxes say 4ms and 2ms, but it is just an outright lie. The fastest monitor that I am aware of (the VX922) is listed as 2ms, but has a real response time of 8-10ms!

In other words, there is no such thing as a 2ms or 4ms LCD monitor. The box specs are lying to you.
February 7, 2007 12:03:39 AM

Quote:
I forgot to share a screen capture of Super Bowl XLI (post game with lots of stuff going on) with the problem: http://img2.freeimagehosting.net/uploads/ce00ee0809.jpg ...

The boxes say 4ms and 2ms, but it is just an outright lie. The fastest monitor that I am aware of (the VX922) is listed as 2ms, but has a real response time of 8-10ms!Uhh, I think you misquoted the wrong post. :)  Or is the speed related to my MPEG-2 video problem?
I removed the wrong part of the post, sorry. It should read like this:
Quote:
Well, Samsung's Web site and manuals say 2ms. I have also seen 4ms out there.
The boxes say 4ms and 2ms, but it is just an outright lie. The fastest monitor that I am aware of (the VX922) is listed as 2ms, but has a real response time of 8-10ms!

In other words, there is no such thing as a 2ms or 4ms LCD monitor. The box specs are lying to you.How can I determine the true speed? My LCD monitor at work is 16ms. I have not tried gaming yet so I hope it is not that high for my new Samsung monitor.

I did find a sneaky trick. Best Buy and a few Web sites say 2000:1. I found out this was a DYNAMIC value. The true value is 700:1 (at least Samsung says this). Sneaky punks!

What else in specifications are misleading?
February 7, 2007 1:07:48 AM

Quote:
What else in specifications are misleading?

Pretty much everything is misleading in terms of being useless or being an outright lie.

Response time: Nearly always a lie (lower than in real life). The only places that have actually tested real response times are xbitlabs.com and tomshardware.com (though the latter is less accurate). So, that limits only to the monitors that they have tested.

Viewing angle: Nearly always a lie. What matters in viewing angle? color shift? loss of brightness? what? fact is that most panel types will start showing a slightly off shade (bad for image editing) at even minor viewing angles; this results in one part of the screen showing a slightly different shade than another part of the screen. All the while, manufacturers list some insanely high and pointless number.

Contrast: as you noted can be misleading if it includes dynamic contrast. A better spec might be to list the black level, so you know how dark a shade the monitor can produce.

Brightness: accurate, but pointless after a certain point. Your eyes can only take so much brightness on a computer monitor; and you will have to lower it anyways.


Curently, the real way to shop for LCD monitors involves 2 things:
1) Finding out real response times from places that test it like xbitlabs.com
2) Finding out the panel type (TN, MVA, IPS, etc...) which will immediately tell you the quality of the panel in terms of viewing angle.

Auxiliary items to check for:
1) Choice of glossy or matte finish screen
2) 6-bit or 8-bit colors

In the future, things that might be important in choosing a monitor might include:
1) Type of backlighting used
2) Inclusion of BFI or 120Hz
February 7, 2007 1:25:21 AM

Quote:
What else in specifications are misleading?

Pretty much everything is misleading in terms of being useless or being an outright lie.

Response time: Nearly always a lie (lower than in real life). The only places that have actually tested real response times are xbitlabs.com and tomshardware.com (though the latter is less accurate). So, that limits only to the monitors that they have tested.

Viewing angle: Nearly always a lie. What matters in viewing angle? color shift? loss of brightness? what? fact is that most panel types will start showing a slightly off shade (bad for image editing) at even minor viewing angles; this results in one part of the screen showing a slightly different shade than another part of the screen. All the while, manufacturers list some insanely high and pointless number.

Contrast: as you noted can be misleading if it includes dynamic contrast. A better spec might be to list the black level, so you know how dark a shade the monitor can produce.

Brightness: accurate, but pointless after a certain point. Your eyes can only take so much brightness on a computer monitor; and you will have to lower it anyways.


Curently, the real way to shop for LCD monitors involves 2 things:
1) Finding out real response times from places that test it like xbitlabs.com
2) Finding out the panel type (TN, MVA, IPS, etc...) which will immediately tell you the quality of the panel in terms of viewing angle.

Auxiliary items to check for:
1) Choice of glossy or matte finish screen
2) 6-bit or 8-bit colors

In the future, things that might be important in choosing a monitor might include:
1) Type of backlighting used
2) Inclusion of BFI or 120HzDang, good stuff to read. I only know about the million colors, the brightness ratio, and the response rate (well the lower, the better). I also read that seeing the monitors in person is another good way too. It was difficult to find good LCD monitors in person from this too. I even read reviews. I agreed on the brightness.

Questions:
1. Panel type: Which ones are the best and worse? I saw a-si TFT/TN for my LCD monitor: http://www.samsung.com/Products/Monitor/LCD_Digital/LS1... ... I hope it's decent.
2. I had a hard time finding 8-bit colors for low price for a 19" LCD monitor.
3. What do you think of DVI vs. VGA. Is DVI still superior in terms of colors over VGA? I read somewheere that they are almost identical. I have not see my monitor with pure DVI connection. I am hoping the colors are a lot better (richer) than what I see now (they're OK -- my Philips Brilliance 200P LCD monitor at work is way better in terms of colors and brightness).
February 7, 2007 2:02:34 AM

Quote:

Questions:
1. Panel type: Which ones are the best and worse? I saw a-si TFT/TN for my LCD monitor: http://www.samsung.com/Products/Monitor/LCD_Digital/LS1... ... I hope it's decent.
2. I had a hard time finding 8-bit colors for low price for a 19" LCD monitor.
3. What do you think of DVI vs. VGA. Is DVI still superior in terms of colors over VGA? I read somewheere that they are almost identical. I have not see my monitor with pure DVI connection. I am hoping the colors are a lot better (richer) than what I see now (they're OK -- my Philips Brilliance 200P LCD monitor at work is way better in terms of colors and brightness).

1. Panel type: TN - worst viewing angle; MVA & PVA - somewhat better; IPS, AS-IPS - best; ASV - supposedly better than even IPS, though not sure (ASV is very, very rare). What is really bad is that this spec is not listed for many monitors although it is perhaps one of the most important specs. Also, keep in mind that if you don't need the consistent color across the screen needed for graphics work, then TN may be just fine.
2. Most likely they were all TN panels then. You also should determine if you can even notice the difference between 6-bit and 8-bit. Only certain people who know what to look for can really notice it a lot.
3. I'd prefer DVI, though I have heard that VGA is nearly the same now. I doubt the connection will affect colors or brightness (unless your computer was setting up different brightness/contrast levels when using DVI).

If 6-bit is not an issue and you don't need absolutely consistent colors for image editing, then you are pretty much free to pick any panel type you like. If so, go for low response time and a size and picture that you like (the low response time ones should still be lower compared some higher ones, although the info is still not exactly true).
February 7, 2007 3:02:21 AM

Quote:

Questions:
1. Panel type: Which ones are the best and worse? I saw a-si TFT/TN for my LCD monitor: http://www.samsung.com/Products/Monitor/LCD_Digital/LS1... ... I hope it's decent.
2. I had a hard time finding 8-bit colors for low price for a 19" LCD monitor.
3. What do you think of DVI vs. VGA? Is DVI still superior in terms of colors over VGA? I read somewheere that they are almost identical. I have not see my monitor with pure DVI connection. I am hoping the colors are a lot better (richer) than what I see now (they're OK -- my Philips Brilliance 200P LCD monitor at work is way better in terms of colors and brightness).

1. Panel type: TN - worst viewing angle; MVA & PVA - somewhat better; IPS, AS-IPS - best; ASV - supposedly better than even IPS, though not sure (ASV is very, very rare). What is really bad is that this spec is not listed for many monitors although it is perhaps one of the most important specs. Also, keep in mind that if you don't need the consistent color across the screen needed for graphics work, then TN may be just fine.
2. Most likely they were all TN panels then. You also should determine if you can even notice the difference between 6-bit and 8-bit. Only certain people who know what to look for can really notice it a lot.
3. I'd prefer DVI, though I have heard that VGA is nearly the same now. I doubt the connection will affect colors or brightness (unless your computer was setting up different brightness/contrast levels when using DVI).

If 6-bit is not an issue and you don't need absolutely consistent colors for image editing, then you are pretty much free to pick any panel type you like. If so, go for low response time and a size and picture that you like (the low response time ones should still be lower compared some higher ones, although the info is still not exactly true).
1. Darn it. I got the worse panel type. When you say viewing angle, does that include vertical? I noticed the bottom part is like brighter than the top part of the screen. I haven't been able to adjust to make them even. Currently, the monitor is tilted back slightly. For example, my Windows XP's gray taskbar doesn't have rich colors.

2. Isn't 6-bit colors basically dithered colors? Like different colors mixxed into one? If so, then I don't see that and I do use 32-bit color depth on my video cards. CRTs still rule. Too bad it is phasing out. We really need SED now! [grin]

3. I have not done anything with DVI. It's all VGA since I don't even have a DVI cable. I *DO* have DVI adapter for my VGA cables because my video cards only have DVI connections. Does that make any differences?

Thanks for leaving feedbacks. :) 
February 7, 2007 4:14:51 AM

I checked out a couple 1080p movie trailers from Apple.com's QuickTime site. They don't have pixellated/blocky parts. However, I did notice color gradiants not being smooth that reminded me of 16-bit colors vs. 32-bit colors. So, I guess I can see the difference between 16.2 and 16.7 million colors.
February 7, 2007 8:01:41 PM

Quote:
1. .... I got the worse panel type. When you say viewing angle, does that include vertical? I noticed the bottom part is like brighter than the top part of the screen. I haven't been able to adjust to make them even. Currently, the monitor is tilted back slightly. For example, my Windows XP's gray taskbar doesn't have rich colors.
Viewing angle could be any of the 360 degree directions. I suspect each panel type has their own quirks as to which directions are worse than others. That brighter than the top sounds like what I've heard about TN panels.

Quote:
2. Isn't 6-bit colors basically dithered colors? Like different colors mixxed into one? If so, then I don't see that and I do use 32-bit color depth on my video cards. CRTs still rule. Too bad it is phasing out. We really need SED now! [grin]
...
I checked out a couple 1080p movie trailers from Apple.com's QuickTime site. They don't have pixellated/blocky parts. However, I did notice color gradiants not being smooth that reminded me of 16-bit colors vs. 32-bit colors. So, I guess I can see the difference between 16.2 and 16.7 million colors.
Dithering is one method that is used to simulate more colors; I'm guessing that is is probably the most common method now. The gradient you noticed is not dithering, but simply your seeing the steps in colors. Even on an 8-bit monitor you should be able to see each step down in color. Now, it is possible that the colors are off and some colors are merging with others and you are seeing more color gradients than you should. If you don't do image editing or pay particular attention to computer graphics, then you may never notice 6-bit dithering.

Quote:
3. I have not done anything with DVI. It's all VGA since I don't even have a DVI cable. I *DO* have DVI adapter for my VGA cables because my video cards only have DVI connections. Does that make any differences?
Probably not. Most DVI connectors have both an analog and digital connection built into the same connector. Your adaptor is probably tapping into the analog connection. (I do not know if it is the same quality or type of analog as VGA though.)
February 7, 2007 8:21:02 PM

Quote:
1. .... I got the worse panel type. When you say viewing angle, does that include vertical? I noticed the bottom part is like brighter than the top part of the screen. I haven't been able to adjust to make them even. Currently, the monitor is tilted back slightly. For example, my Windows XP's gray taskbar doesn't have rich colors.
Viewing angle could be any of the 360 degree directions. I suspect each panel type has their own quirks as to which directions are worse than others. That brighter than the top sounds like what I've heard about TN panels.

Quote:
2. Isn't 6-bit colors basically dithered colors? Like different colors mixxed into one? If so, then I don't see that and I do use 32-bit color depth on my video cards. CRTs still rule. Too bad it is phasing out. We really need SED now! [grin]
...
I checked out a couple 1080p movie trailers from Apple.com's QuickTime site. They don't have pixellated/blocky parts. However, I did notice color gradiants not being smooth that reminded me of 16-bit colors vs. 32-bit colors. So, I guess I can see the difference between 16.2 and 16.7 million colors.
Dithering is one method that is used to simulate more colors; I'm guessing that is is probably the most common method now. The gradient you noticed is not dithering, but simply your seeing the steps in colors. Even on an 8-bit monitor you should be able to see each step down in color. Now, it is possible that the colors are off and some colors are merging with others and you are seeing more color gradients than you should. If you don't do image editing or pay particular attention to computer graphics, then you may never notice 6-bit dithering.

Quote:
3. I have not done anything with DVI. It's all VGA since I don't even have a DVI cable. I *DO* have DVI adapter for my VGA cables because my video cards only have DVI connections. Does that make any differences?
Probably not. Most DVI connectors have both an analog and digital connection built into the same connector. Your adaptor is probably tapping into the analog connection. (I do not know if it is the same quality or type of analog as VGA though.)
2. Well, I do watch DVDs, HDTV, and play games so colors would be good. I do little graphic works. I can see the big differences between CRTs and LCDs. Hence, why I held off my LCD monitor purchase in the past because of this reason but I am forced to get one since CRTs are hard to find in local stores (avoiding the cheap ones like Compaq's).

3. Hmm, the DVI adapters came from my video cards (XFX GeForce 6800 AGP and EVGA 7950 GT KO) I believe. That would be about 1-2 years old. I am still using old VGA cables that came with my old 2-ports Belkin KVM switch from end of 2000 according to my history: http://alpha.zimage.com/~ant/antfarm/about/toys.html ;)  ...

I did notice somethiung about colors. My monitor doesn't have true black color. I notice it with dark scenes in TV shows and games. Black is like dark blue if the scene is dark. Would 16.8 million colors had fixed this?
February 8, 2007 2:02:16 AM

Quote:
2. Well, I do watch DVDs, HDTV, and play games so colors would be good. I do little graphic works. I can see the big differences between CRTs and LCDs. Hence, why I held off my LCD monitor purchase in the past because of this reason but I am forced to get one since CRTs are hard to find in local stores (avoiding the cheap ones like Compaq's).

I did notice somethiung about colors. My monitor doesn't have true black color. I notice it with dark scenes in TV shows and games. Black is like dark blue if the scene is dark. Would 16.8 million colors had fixed this?

Dithering won't affect the richness or contrast of colors. The issue you are referring to is the bleed through effect of LCD monitors. They are unable to completely block all of the light to produce a true black (though some can get closer). In addition, as you move from side to side, the bleed through becomes greater (greater viewing angle).
February 8, 2007 3:22:51 AM

Quote:
2. Well, I do watch DVDs, HDTV, and play games so colors would be good. I do little graphic works. I can see the big differences between CRTs and LCDs. Hence, why I held off my LCD monitor purchase in the past because of this reason but I am forced to get one since CRTs are hard to find in local stores (avoiding the cheap ones like Compaq's).

I did notice somethiung about colors. My monitor doesn't have true black color. I notice it with dark scenes in TV shows and games. Black is like dark blue if the scene is dark. Would 16.8 million colors had fixed this?

Dithering won't affect the richness or contrast of colors. The issue you are referring to is the bleed through effect of LCD monitors. They are unable to completely block all of the light to produce a true black (though some can get closer). In addition, as you move from side to side, the bleed through becomes greater (greater viewing angle).Ahh, thanks for the explainations. Yeah, bleed is annoying but more for vertical. Sheesh. Horizontal doesn't bother me I am always at the center. Vertical is trickier even if I don't tilt my monitor.
!