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ASUS VK246H --> 24" LCD Review ** Final Update **

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a b Ĉ ASUS
a c 195 C Monitor
December 16, 2008 7:53:38 AM

The review has been updated to include DVD playback. A more detailed analysis of chapters used in the playback analysis will be posted in a couple of days.

*** Updated 1/21/09 - Detailed analysis of movies used to evaluate this monitor has been posted. ***

In case people are interested, the ASUS VK246H is selling for $310 (including free shipping) over at Newegg:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Enter coupon code: EMCBCBBBA for an additional $30 off, but it expires on 12/17. $280 shipped. * * * EXPIRED * * *

I purchased it basically to monitor some processes on my HTPC. My two primary displays are my 26" NEC 2690WUXi and my good ol' 19" Planar PX191 from 2002.

Like all 24" monitors selling for less than around $550 (excluding sale), this monitor uses a TN panel. The benefits of a TN panel are:

1) inexpensive price - $280
2) low response time; this has 2ms GTG

My expectations for this monitor are relatively low, but I will just be using it to monitor some functions and surf with it from time to time. My low expectations are basically due to the inexpensive and "inferior" TN panel technology.

1) At best the Asus will have adequate color accuracy. The average person should not have many issues with this. This is basically due to 6-bits of data used to represent each primary color. To cut to the chase, that means 64 shades of each primary color (Red, Green, Blue) can actually be produced. That equates to only 256k real colors can be produced. Thru a process called dithering the remaining 16.2m - 16.7m colors can be reproduced; but are at best "estimated" colors.

My NEC 2690WUXi will blow this Asus out of the water when it comes to color accuracy, then again it does cost over 4x more than the Asus. My old Planar PX191 will have no problems blowing this thing out of the water too since it uses a S-PVA panel.

2) I expect this monitor will be using temporal dithering or FRC (Frame Rate Control) as opposed to spatial dithering (older tech). Basically spatial dithering means if the panel is trying to create a color that it cannot actually produce (remember a TN can only produce 256k real colors) it will try to re-create the desired color by blending colors in a mesh or checker board pattern to estimate the color. For example, assume the pixels in a TN panel cannot display purple, to do so the panel will display alternating colors of red and blue. Zoomed in it will look like a checker board. Normal view you will see purple in general, but you may also notice that some "patches" look more blue or red than the rest of the purple area.

Temporal dithering (FRC) is a newer dithering tech. Taking the above example, instead of alternating pixels displaying blues and red, each pixel will rapidly flash between blue and red to fool the brain into thinking that a solid color of purple is being displayed. There are a couple of drawback to this: 1) some people may experience eye fatigue or headaches after prolonged use. While you may not notice the flashing, your brain will on a sub-conscious level and some people may be vulnerable to this. 2) While technically this type of dithering will allow for more colors (16.7m opposed to 16.2m) the colors will not be accurate enough for those who demand the absolute best color accuracy they can get.

3) This monitor's 2ms GTG response time should generally mean that there will be little ghosting when playing games. Since I generally don't see much ghosting on my NEC 2690WUXi which has 6ms response time, I would be surprised if I were to see ghosting in the Asus in the same gaming environment.

It should be noted that response times are not absolute values. Response times can change depending on what is being displayed on the screen. Those 2ms, 5ms, 6ms, 8ms, etc listed as part of the specs are simply the response times under the most ideal situation (if one actually existed). I've seen some tests which measured response times as high as 40ms for a monitor who's specs claimed "2ms".

Response time of my 19" Planar PX191? Well back in 2002 GTG (grey-to-grey) response time was not used. Instead the harsher BTW (Black-to-White) response time spec was used. Response time is 25ms for BTW, I would expect if it were to be rated using the more recent GTG methodology it would be around 16ms and yeah, there is ghosting.

4) Viewing angles will suck compared to my NEC and Planar, but then again this is a known issue with TN panels. I don't expect colors to wash out to bother me too much at more extreme angles since this monitor will have limited usage. Some TN panel monitors are particularly bad where the mere turning of your head will cause your eyes to see a shift in colors.

5) Backlight Bleeding - All monitors will display some level of backlight bleeding no matter how expensive it is. That is simply the limitation of LCD itself. However, based on my personal experience it seems TN panels are prone to displaying a lot of backlight bleeding. This could be due to trying to keep production costs low and the fact that for most probably will not notice bleeding under normal circumstances. At work the vast majority of LCD monitors are made by NEC (not a cut-rate manufacturer by any means). When stopping by co-workers' cubicles for a friendly chat or for an impromptu meeting I do happen to notice that the backlighting looks uneven. Hell the backlighting on my monitor at work is uneven. I can even notice it with a white background.

I expect the Asus to be no better or worse than my monitor at work. I just hope it works out that way.

==================================================================

I will post a review of the monitor before the end of the year and maybe before Christmas assuming I do not deep-six this piece of crap.

Since my HTPC has an nVidia 9600GT I will load up Fallout 3 to judge how well it can display graphics. I find the game to be pretty immersive on my NEC monitor. Then again it is 26" and has 1200 row instead of a mere 1080 rows. I don't play many games.

I'll also preview some DVD movies to look at action scenes, dark scenes and very colorful scenes. I don't have a blu-ray player or movies yet.

Lastly I will not post any pictures since I do not have a camera.
a b Ĉ ASUS
a c 195 C Monitor
December 16, 2008 8:05:51 AM

The following picture are not mine, but others who decided to show off their Asus:







a b Ĉ ASUS
a c 195 C Monitor
December 21, 2008 2:16:40 PM

Just an update.

The monitor was supposed to arrive on Friday, Dec. 19th. It seems it will not be delivered until Monday, Dec. 22nd.

I did receive the $42 rebate in my PayPal account so the purchase price has dropped to $238.
(There was a 15% discount for using PayPal to purchase that monitor which expired on Dec. 16th)

I'll try to post a review before the end of the year. Again, no pictures since I do not have a camera.
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a b Ĉ ASUS
a c 195 C Monitor
December 30, 2008 1:38:33 AM

Introduction

This is a review of the Asus VK246H 24” LCD monitor with a resolution of 1920 x 1080; aspect ratio of 16:9 (same as HDTVs). This monitor is similar to the ASUS VW246H, but has a webcam. I have no need for a webcam, but the “VK” model was actually cheaper after all the discounts have been applied. This is my 3rd LCD monitor since 2002 and it is also by far the least expensive ($238).

The box the monitor came is quite slim measuring 25-3/8” wide, 18-1/2” tall and a mere 7-1/8” thick. The box has a plastic handle which allows for easy transport. The weight of the entire package is 17 lbs. The monitor itself is around 12 lbs. The size of this box pales in comparison to the box my 26” NEC 2690WUXi came in which is basically a monstrosity. The box my old 19” Planar PX191 was packed in is over twice a thick as the box the Asus came in. The Asus seems to be fine, I noticed no damage or blemishes to the physical monitor.

Included items in the package:
- The monitor (duh!!!)
- Power cord
- DVI-D cable
- VGA cable
- Speaker cable
- Monitor base
- USB cable for the webcam (will not be reviewed since I will not be using it at all)
- Very basic multi-language quick start guide (English is covered in a mere 5 pages)
- ASUS “VIP Member Notice” – basically a warranty card.


Being such an inexpensive monitor, it is no wonder that the entire casing and the stand is made from plastic. The front half of bezel is shiny plastic, fingerprints doesn’t seem to be an issue. However, I’m sure dust will love it. The monitor comes with plenty of stickers already attached and the entire front bezel is taped to prevent scratches. The base is made of lightweight plastic and very easy to install. It took less than 30 seconds to install the base to the monitor; the inside flap of the box has a graphic that shows you how to do it. The base it is wide enough to give the monitor sufficient support; a hard tap to the monitor will not cause it to tip over. The base only allows you to tilt the monitor; hey can’t expect too much from an inexpensive monitor.

The OSD Menu

The onscreen display menu is pretty basic as well as the controls. The buttons are as follows starting from the right corner.

1. The Power button is the right most button on the monitor and has a little blue dot light to indicate the monitor is on, not distracting at all.
2. To the left of the Power button is Input Selection button to choose between DVI-D, HDMI and VGA.
3. Brightness button comes next and doubles as the Increase button.
4. To the left of the Brightness button is the Menu button.
5. Next is the Sound button doubles as the Decrease button.
6. Lastly, the left most button is the “Splendid” button.

“Spendid” is provides 5 preset settings for different scenarios. Each “Splendid” setting is a different combination of Brightness, Contrast, Sharpness, Saturation, and ASCR (dynamic contrast on/off) options. The listed modes are Scenery, Standard, Theater, Game and Night View. Since this monitor has dynamic contrast each of the modes has a certain baseline contrast level. More on these modes later on.

Pressing the Menu button brings to you to the Splendid tab so you can scroll up/down and choice the best for your tastes. The next is the Image tab which lists all the options mentioned above. I will assume all are fairly easy to understand so I won’t explain anything other than the fact that Sharpness doesn’t seem to affect anything (images or text), unless the monitor is not being used at it’s native resolution. The Color tab allows you to change the color temperature (red, green, blue), and skin tones; useless unless you like to see people with more reddish or yellowish skin tones. The next tab is the Input Select (DVI-D, HDMI and VGA). The last tab is System Setup which includes Volume, OSD Setup, Language, Information, All Reset (to reset all your changes) and lastly Aspect Control which is grayed out when using native resolution. This option only become available when using less than native resolution.


Physical Dimensions

The monitor is roughly 16-1/2” tall, 22-5/16” wide, and 2-3/16” thick (excluding the base). The height is measured from the bottom of the base to the top of the webcam. The base itself is more or less circular with a diameter of about 9”. The base only raises the monitor 2-5/8” above the table. There is no height adjustment or swivel, and for get pivoting. Like all basic monitors, the Asus does have tilting. On the bright side, you can buy a 3rd party stand since this monitor complies with the VESA 100mm standard. I will probably do so in the future to get height adjustment.

Sound

This monitor has speakers however they do not face forward. Instead the speakers are located behind the monitor and they face upward. The sound emanates from the exhaust grid where heat rises out of the monitor. There is nothing spectacular about the speakers, they are just 2 watts and they sound rather flat, hallow and there is no bass. The speakers are good enough if you are in a pinch, but even $20 for a pair of speakers will outperform what’s included with the monitor. I would not bother setting the volume to be higher than 50 since distortion can occur (depending on the music).

Image Quality

As mentioned in my first post, this monitor uses a TN panel which can only produce 256k actual colors. Using temporal dithering (pixels flashes between multiple colors) the monitor can reproduce up to 16.7m colors (at least that’s what the manufacture claims). This newer method of dithering should allow for better color gradients which should reduce color banding errors. Dynamic Contrast (called ACSR) is reported to be 20,000:1. The claimed 2ms response time should mean there be very little ghosting.

1. Backlight Bleeding

This monitor exhibits some backlight bleeding across the top of the screen which is noticeable when looking at a black or dark background. When viewing a black background in a darkroom I can easily tell that the backlighting is not uniform throughout the entire monitor. I noticed patches of lighter areas across the monitor; however during normal usage this should go mostly un-noticed. A more irritating annoyance with my particular Asus VK246 is the faint blue glow at the bottom of the screen just to the left of the Asus label. It is about 1” wide, it is not noticeable under normal circumstances even with a black background because the Windows XP taskbar is blue itself. Even when the taskbar set to auto-hide I did not notice it initially because there is still a thin blue line at the bottom of the screen when the taskbar is hidden. However, once I spotted the blue glow I can spot it very easily no matter what the background is (unless it is blue). I first noticed it when playing Fallout 3 to put this monitor thru its paces. There is another blue glow area about 1.5” to the right of the Asus label; this patch of blue glow is also about 1” wide, but is much less noticeable than the patch to the left. Meaning I need to pay attention to see it whereas I can spot the blue glow to the left with just a casual glance.

2. Color

I did not like the default colors of the monitor and it seems very difficult for me to adjust the monitor to my liking even after fiddling around with the OSD for well over an hour over the course of my brief ownership. Maybe it is just me, but I found balancing the right combination of Red, Green, and Blue is a bit tricky and also balancing the right amount of Brightness and Contrast. I see some “crushed blacks” where the very lowest shades of black all looked like the same “black”. I don’t have this issue with my NEC LCD2690WUXi or my Planar PX191. When dealing with white saturation, it is also kinda difficult to find the right balance of Brightness and Contrast to notice subtle changes in grey and white.

With regards to color banding, I do not really notice any issues at the moment so it seems temporal dithering is doing what it is supposed to be doing. In the past TN panels had issues displaying underwater scenes properly due to subtle colors changes caused by sunlight shinning down into the water, movement of aquatic animal life, and the water they displace when they swim. That led to color banding and image artifact issues (where the monitor could simply display blocks of colors because it could not blend together the right colors to create the color that is supposed to be displayed). Unfortunately, I do not have any footage of an aquatic environment like the Blue Planet documentary series. Movies like Jaws and Deep Blue Sea do not count since Jaws is relatively old and the transfer from film to digital format is that great. Deep Blue Sea has CGI involved so that’s out.

3. Viewing Angles

Like all TN panels this monitor has limited viewing angles. Simply moving your head can cause colors to shift. Using a white background and turning my head I can see the white starting to shift to light gray with maybe a hint of yellow involved; basically it looks like the contrast level is changing and I can see some subtle color changes as well and at worse I can begin to a low level color banding when sink tones are involved. For the average user the shift is not too bad from left to right.

Looking down at the monitor from a standing position the contrast shift is even more pronounced and it actually seems to negate some of the color banding I see, but overall images seems darker than they should be and have less details. Looking at the monitor from a small child’s prospective, looking up at the monitor, reveals the worse shift in color, contrast and brightness. This is only an issue for small children though as I really doubt most adults will be looking at this monitor from such a position.

4. Splendid Modes

As I mentioned before, the Asus VK246 offers Splendid which is similar to MagicBright found on Samsung monitors. There are 5 available modes and they can all be adjusted and reset to their default settings if necessary. Since the monitor has Dynamic Contrast, it appears a certain baseline level of Contrast and Brightness are assigned to each of the modes. This can then be adjusted upwards or downwards to the user’s liking. However, it is not possible to use one mode to mimic another. For example, initially I decided to adjust Night View Mode so that it would like more like Scenery or Standard; no dice. While all the adjustable Brightness, Contrast, Sharpness, and Saturation could be set to the same level, the “dynamic” Brightness and Contrast could not be altered. Also note that the same Color Temp is used for all modes so whether Cool, Normal, Warm, or User Mode is selected in the OSD, it will be applied to all modes. It would have been nice to be able to assign different Color Temps to each mode.

As a basis to look at colors and image quality from a gaming perspective I loaded Fallout 3 and Far Cry (the original) as a basis to judge overall image quality in games. I’m using Fallout 3 because it is the current game I am playing and Far Cry because the jungle offer a lot of bright colors and foliage. The two blue glows that I mentioned before at the bottom of the screen are very apparent in Fallout 3. In low light conditions or when the ground is relatively dark, I can easily see the left blue glow. In low light conditions I can see the right blue glow because it appears where the hand carrying the weapon is. The glows cannot be easily seen in a brightly lit environment.

Scenery Mode – This mode seems to offer one of the better balances of the four adjustable setting. This is the mode I am current using and it seems to add a good depth to colors in games. The colors are vibrant (actually a bit too much for me so I reduced Saturation a bit) and the level of contrast seems to bring out a decent amount of details in games. In Fallout 3 it brings a nice level of detail and “grittiness” to the game. Since the game takes place in a post apocalyptic era most of the colors in the game are grays and browns. There is a decent amount of saturation (I lowered it) by default so that it gave players that “pop” they are looking for I suppose. In Far Cry colors seems to be a bit over exaggerated, but otherwise I don’t find any faults with it.

Standard Mode – Colors are not as saturated as in Scenery. Brightness and Contrast are set a little higher so that colors seems to be a little washed out. This causes details to be lost because it seems like some of the depth is lost and it is apparent in both games. But overall, this also offers a good balance of the four settings since it is a bit more natural. I would decrease Brightness and Contrast a little bit though. Whether for gaming or web surfing Standard is a good choice, but I think Scenery is better.

Theater Mode – This definitely increases the Brightness and Contrast level; too much for my liking whether in a dimly or well lit room. Also, this mode also uses warmer colors so everything takes on a reddish hue in Fallout 3 which I do not like. On the other hand this mode doesn’t seem too bad in Far Cry, the green foliage looks greener, and the water looks quite nice. I suppose this game looks good because the game mostly takes place outdoors in a very sunny environment so the extra Brightness and Contrast seems to help in this situation. The reddish hue is not really noticeable as well. I am sure this will change once indoors as lighting conditions will be different.

Game Mode – Not sure why this is an option because quite frankly; it doesn’t really look good. In Game mode colors seem to be muddied and don’t seem to blend in very well with each other in both games. Green is definitely overstated in this mode and since Far Cry has plenty of foliage it makes it painfully more obvious. Perhaps some tweaking will make it better, but I think adjusting Scenery or Standard mode will be easier.

Night View Mode – Man, way too bright, by a long shot. Colors in Far Cry looks if they were neon. Imagine foliage that is glowing green from nuclear radiation. This make both games look like they were in cartoon land. This mode also brings out color banding issues and image artifact issues which are the worst traits TN panels have. Avoid using at all cost.

5. Interpolation

As I initially indicated at the beginning, the Aspect Control option I the OSD is only available when using less than native resolution; forget about 1:1 pixel mapping since it is not offered at all. Thus, if you want to play an older game which does not support widescreen format, then it would be necessary to go into Aspect Control and select 4:3 mode so that images will not appear to be stretched; Diablo II would be such an example.

Decreasing the resolution to 1600 x 900 reveals a significant decrease in text clarity; it’s painful just looking at it. The Sharpness control in the OSD can help, but not much. Gaming wise, the decrease to image quality is not as bad as text quality, however game graphics do appear softer; which is no surprise. Bumping it up the resolution to 1680 x 1050 makes text look a little easier to read, but this is 16:10 aspect ratio, not 16:9 so everything will look a little stretched. My advice is to absolutely do not use less than native resolution in desktop mode. You have been warned!

6. Gaming [Edit: I left this section out]

I noticed no ghosting while gaming on this monitor in both Fallout 3 and Far Cry. The exception is when I swing my mouse very rapidly from side to side like a wildman. Makes it kinda hard to hit your target though. Fallout 3 has native support for 16:9 aspect ratio resolutions and in Far Cry 1 1920 x 1080 was an option so no tweaks were necessary. Additionally, Galactic Civilization II had no issues with using native resolution as well. I noticed no perceivable input lag on this monitor and I find it reacts similarly to my NEC LCD2690WUXi which has been tested to have an average input lag of 32ms (not bad at all); that's about 2 frames of lag. Supposedly there is a 24" Hazro LCD monitor with nearly zero input lag, but it is not sold in the US; however for the most part I think 1 to 3 frames of lag should be acceptable to most average gamers for first person shooters. True hardcore gamers who want zero input lag should stick with CRTs.

Overall, playing games on this monitor is very enjoyable. However, I don't consider myself a hardcore gamer since 32ms of lag does not bother me and the fact that I do not use a mouse specifically designed for gaming. Colors are a bit exaggerated and not very accurate in my opinion, but in games that does not really matter too much as long as the colors are not grossly off like displaying pink instead of red. The Scenery mode should provide most people with the kinda "pop" that they. If not, then there are 4 other modes however Game and Night Views modes are totally unacceptable to me.

Using less than native resolution (image scaling) in games is not too bad as I mentioned before (unlike in desktop mode for general use). This is a limitation of all LCD monitors due to the fixed number of pixels; even my NEC LCD2690WUXi which has additional built-in electronics for image processing suffers some degree image quality loss when using lower resolutions. Graphics do look a bit softer than at native resolution, but I noticed no distortion of shapes.

7. DVD Playback

Sigh… It seems the DVD drive in my HTPC has decided to fail on me. The drive can only read the first layer of all my DVDs. This section of the review and my final conclusion will have to have to wait until I find a replacement. Therefore, this review may not be completed until January 2009.
a b Ĉ ASUS
a c 195 C Monitor
January 11, 2009 6:30:30 AM

7. DVD Playback (brief review)

I am using PowerDVD v7.3 for DVD playback and my HTPC has a ECS 9600GT that is passively cooled by an Arctic Cooling Accelero S2. While watching the various chapters I am sitting approximately 40" away from the monitor. The DVDs I am using to analyze the monitor are: The Dark Knight, Appleseed: Ex Machina, and Iron Man (last minute review). An extended playback analysis will be posted for each DVD later. I am sticking with using Scenery mode while watching the DVDs. I dislike the shades of color Theater mode displays.

The Dark Knight is a 2:35:1 aspect ratio movie, therefore watching this on any LCD monitor will result in black bars on the top and bottom of the screen. Unfortunately this means the backlight bleeding on top and bottom of the screen does shine through which is quite distracting. Watching The Dark Knight on an IMAX screen was great. Watching it on the Asus was not so great. There were a bit too many instances video artifacts and color banding for my tastes. These things don't occur throughout the entire movie but, it happens enough for me to only give a Fair rating as low light level scenes tends to bring out the worse in this monitor.

Appleseed: Ex Machina is a Japanese anime based on the Appleseed manga and it is completely computer generated. Since the movie is 16:9 aspect ratio, it fills up the entire screen which helps mask the backlight bleeding along the top and bottom. Overall playback is a better than The Dark Knight but it still suffers from some color banding here and there. In darker scenes the blacklight bleeding does appear a little bit, but at least it is brief and not constant like in The Dark Knight.

Since The Dark Knight performed so poorly, I decided to add in Iron Man, but my analysis is not as extensive as with the other two DVDs. This movie is also presented in 2:35:1. Iron Man fared pretty well, yes there were instances of the typical color banding and video artifact appearing on the screen, but they were far less frequent an thus less annoying.

If more than I person is going to watching movies on this monitor, then I suggest that the other person be your "significant other" since watching anything off center on a monitor with a TN panel will cause colors to shift a bit.


Conclusion

The Asus VK246H should satisfy most people who are looking for an inexpensive monitor for web surfing and general office usage. On the gaming front, the monitor's 2ms response time should give "ghost-less" game play for most people most of the time. Input lag seems to be no worse than my NEC 2690WUXi which is 32ms.

I wouldn't bother using this for any professional photo or graphics work since the limitations of TN panels are quite evident. Black is definitely not displayed in a uniform manner on this screen and colors shifts too much as well.

DVD playback seems to be adequate. While Appleseed: Ex Machina and Iron Man displayed quite well, The Dark Knight was somewhat poor. While it some of the issues could be due to the dark and low level light scenes, there were some issues in well lit environments as well.

a b Ĉ ASUS
a c 195 C Monitor
January 22, 2009 12:44:14 AM

Detailed analysis of the 3 movies used as part of the review:

Been pretty busy at work and I forgot to post the detailed analysis.

- The Dark Knight; I will assume this movie will require no introduction. This movie has an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, therefore black bars will be on top and bottom to maintain the correct aspect ratio the movie.

Chapter 4 will be the first scene to be reviewed which takes place in the courtroom. The wooden veneer walls seem to bring out the worse trait of this monitor; there are obvious color banding issue in the texture of the grain which makes the walls look “patchy” and unrealistic. While Harvey Dent and Rachel Dawes are walking out the courtroom to the windowed hallway, there are obvious video artifacts all over the screen and the ones that stand out are on the characters themselves who seems to fade in and out of focus. Blocky patterns appear very noticeably on their suits as they are walking. Video artifacts appear around the face. Overall quality… poor.

Chapter 7 is when Dent, Gordon and the Batman are on the roof of police HQ at night. This is actually worse than chapter 4; panning the night skyline there are lots of video artifacts and some color banding and a very grainy picture. Over at Wayne Enterprise, as Luscious Fox and Bruce Wayne are walking in the R&D department it is painfully obvious that there are video artifacts around both men from afar. In more close up shots these artifacts have diminished, but some are still there. Later in the chapter where some punk kids bring a “dead” Joker to Gambol, I noticed nothing really to bad in this scene.

Chapter 20 and 21 are action sequences where Harvey Dent is being transferred to a more secure location after he “confesses” to be the Batman. The scene takes place at night where the armor police transport is being attacked by Joker’s gang in the under section of a throughway. Seems kind of grainy in the darker parts of the some scenes which is probably due to the monitor’s inability to differentiate darker blacks on the screen. I think most people will not notice since it is a fast pace action sequence. But unfortunately I can make out some of the “blocky” patches of non-uniform blacks. Once the police transport emerges from under throughway onto the streets with some street lights providing ambient lights the scene clears ups. But every now and then in low light settings the “blocky, patchy” graininess returns. Overall, the quality is not bad and should be acceptable to most people unless they are picky like me.

In the beginning of Chapter 30, the Joker blows up Gotham General Hospital. As the Joker walks away from the exploding hospital in a nurse uniform there are noticeable color distortions and video artifacts on the Joker’s bare arms. During the explosion itself when there are clouds of black/grey smoke and dust, there are obvious blocky shades of various grays. Other than that, I won’t be too picky about the quality in Chapter 30; I would rate this as acceptable since the color distortions and video artifacts do not overwhelm most of this chapter.

Overall I would rate the playback of the Dark Knight on this monitor to be fair.


I watched the same scenes on my NEC 2690WUXi (H-IPS panel) and there were far less video issues on that monitor. I am thinking the transfer of the Dark Knight to DVD was rather poor. I would suspect the Blu-Ray version to be much better since that has 3x the storage capacity.


========================================


- Appleseed: Ex Machina is a Japanese CGI anime which takes place after the first anime simply called Appleseed. People can Google for the back drop of both animes. This movie is 16:9, thus the entire screen will be filled.

Chapters 1 and 2 basically open up the anime where a law enforcement squad call E-SWAT, assaults a cathedral where terrorists are holding hostages. The main characters of this anime are Deunan Knute and her cyborg partner Briareos. This is a fast pace action sequence with some sporadic use of “bullet time”. It appears that anime is agreeable to this monitor. For the most part there are no issues throughout most of the two chapters other than some instances where color banding is perceivable. Due to the fact that this amine is computer generate the outlines seems pretty clean, although you can tell in various segments that director wanted softer videos instead of well defined outline. Chapter basically ends with an explosion with dust and smoke. Unlike the Dark Knight, the smoke from the explosion does not have any perceivable video artifacts or “blockiness” to them. I find these two chapters display very well on the Asus VK246H so I will give a rating of excellent.

Since Appleseed is computer generate all objects are pretty sharp or well defined, of course software could be use to induce blur during production to give the animation more “realism”. Unlike The Dark Knight, there are no video artifacts when characters are walking against a bright background. This is computer generate after all. Expanding the DVD movie to full screen does soften the videos a bit, but this is to be expected since the movie is being scaled up.

Chapter 6 opens up with a transport flying above the city of Olympus; a futuristic utopian city built after the World War 3 ended. Some color banding could be seen on the structure the transport is about to land on. While visible, it is actually not very bad. The transport is ferrying Yoshino, who is a Poseidon corporation executive, to met with Nike, Olympus’ Chief of Staff. The back drop is the city’s skyline against a blue sky with “fluffy” clouds. There are no discernable color banding issues or video artifacts during the scene. This leads into the next scene where Yoshino discusses matters with Athena, Prime Minister of Olympus. There are some instances of color banding issues on Yoshino’s and her male assistant’s suite since they are of a dark color. Athena’s and Nike’s clothing are basically white and there were no signs of color banding.

Skipping to Chapter 20, this scene begins with transports on a cloudy night sky where some blue color banding could be seen. This eventually escalates into an action sequence as Deunan and Brioreos amongst others prep for combat flying to the “Halycon” structure. Things tend to look a little grainy from afar, and as the action picks up it would be difficult to determine of there are some video artifacts appearing on screen, or if it is just the many bits of debris flying around. Again, smoke from explosions shows no signs of pixilation. The graininess would actually due to storage space on a dual layer DVD. Perhaps the Blu-Ray version will exhibit less since there is more storage capacity, thus less compression would be necessary.

Overall video quality is very good for Appleseed: Ex-Machina and while there are a few color banding issues and video artifacts in some scene, when compared to The Dark Knight, they simply did not look very bad.


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Iron Man (since The Dark Knight performed rather poorly).

Let’s begin with Chapter 5, this scene takes place in the dark catacombs where Tony Stark is building his suit to escape, the terrorist knows something is up and is investigating. Since this movie is 2.35:1 aspect ratio, there are black bars on top and bottom. First off, the graininess is quite noticeable in this sequence as Stark makes his escape. No color banding issues though. When Stark emerges from the cave an starts torching everyone, there is nothing discernibly wrong with the flames themselves.

As the battle ensues there’s gun fire and smoke and roaring flames. Overall things look pretty decent, but when one of the terrorist opens fire on Stark with a .50 caliber anti-armor machinegun, the whitish-gray smoke does seem to bring out graininess. But overall the video quality is quite good.

In Chapter 8, Stark is in his lab/garage testing a design of what will eventually be the boots and gauntlets for his Iron Man armor. A little bit grainy, but not too bad. The walls are wood veneer and do not appear to show banding or artifacts other than the graininess. Eventually, Stark is encased on his proto armor as he takes it out for a spin at night. Nothing very distracting appears on the screen as he does his test run. While Stark is falling from the sky due to ice forming on the suit as he went just a little too high, there is a bird’s eye view of the city and some wisps of clouds, there are some patches of discoloration here and there which lasts for maybe two seconds.

Chapter 9, Stark crashes his own party. There are lots of people in suits and dresses. No color banding issues here. No artifacts to complain about which is not surprising since it is a slow scene.

Next up is chapter 10 which has a short action sequence in daylight in the Middle East. Iron Man saves people in a village from being killed by the villagers. There are no noticeable artifacts here. As Iron Man flies up into the sky looking for weapons made by Stark Industries, he is shot down by a tank. Iron Man shoots the tank with a mini rocket. The tank blows up in a fireball and smoke. Unlike The Dark Knight, there is no pixilation within the smoke itself.

Continuing on, Iron Man is engaged by two F-22 Raptors. Again, no artifacts during this short sequence even when he is shaken from one of the F-22’s belly and the wing tip of the other F-22 smashes into him. There is smoke and fire, but no discernable pixilation in either.

Chapter 14, this is the showdown between Stark and his former business partner; Obadiath Stane (a.k.a Iron Monger). This action sequence takes place at night in the middle of the street with lots of unsuspecting civilians. Despite lots of movements in a scene with low level lighting, there aren’t very many instances of pixilation. Iron Monger throws Iron Man at an idle bus then launches a missile into it. In the resulting explosion there is very little pixilation. The scene then turns into a chase as Iron Man launches into the sky with Iron Monger on his tail. The night sky has some faint clouds and there are some patches of color banding here and there, but I think for the most part people will not notice them especially since those segments are rather brief.

Overall playback for Iron Man is pretty good.


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As I mentioned at the end of my Dark Knight Analysis, I believe it was a rather poor transfer to DVD. Therefore, taking that into consideration I would say that the Asus VH/VK246H does a decent / good job as an inexpensive monitor for watching movies for an audience of one or two.

Needless to say all movies looked even better on my 26" NEC 2690WUXi, but that monitor is in a difference class and price point.

a b Ĉ ASUS
a c 195 C Monitor
October 20, 2009 12:50:56 AM

One final update.

Prad.de has a review of the Asus VK246H.

http://www.prad.de/en/monitore/review/2009/review-asus-...


Based on their tests this monitor has, on average, less than 2ms of input lag. That means less than 1/8 of a frame lag.

http://www.prad.de/en/monitore/review/2009/review-asus-...

Quote:

Input lag

Whilst all manufacturers provide details of response times for their own models, the oft-discussed input lag is never mentioned. An LCD can have an extremely low response time but be unsuitable for gaming because of its input lag.

The reason for this is an activated overdrive which allows the liquid crystals to react faster through an electronic impulse. However, for this solution, the image has to be analysed. Depending on how long the monitor needs to analyse the image, the image display is delayed by a few milliseconds.
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We were astonished at the result. Of 100 pictures, about 95 percent demonstrated no input lag. The remainder demonstrated an input lag of about two frames (~33 ms). This gives rise to an average input lag of 1,65 ms, which is an outstanding value, even for a TN panel. Despite this, however, there is still the 5 percent chance of a two-frame lag.
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