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Comparison Of 15" LCD Monitors - Part I

MVA (Multi-Domain Vertical Alignment)

Some manufacturers prefer to use MVA, a technology developed by Fujitsu. To hear them tell it, MVA provides the best possible compromise in almost all areas. Both the horizontal and vertical viewing angles are 160°; the response time is half of that offered by the IPS and old-generation TN screens (25 ms); colors are displayed much more accurately. So if MVA technology offers so many advantages, why don't all LCD displays use MVA technology? Easy there - the theory unfortunately doesn't make good on its promise in reality. But we'll get into that more once we get to testing displays based on MVA technology.

The technology itself was derived from a predecessor technology, VA, presented in 1996 by Fujitsu. In this system, any crystals that aren't under current are aligned vertically to the second filter. This means that light can't pass through it. As soon as voltage is generated, the crystals rotate 90°, allowing the light to pass through, thereby displaying a white dot.

The positive aspects of this system are speed and the lack of both a helical structure and the dual magnetic field. These improvements whittle the response time down to a mere 25 ms. The advantage is the same as that obtained with an IPS system: it produces a very deep black.

The main problem, however, rears its ugly head whenever users attempt to view their screen from the side. If they're trying to display a shade of, say, red (perhaps a light red) the transistor will produce half its maximum voltage. The crystal will then only rotate halfway and will remain in the middle of its maximum rotation. So if you look at the screen head-on, you'll see light red. However, if you look at the screen from the side, you'll be looking at some of the crystals head-on and others from the side. This means that, in the first case you'll see a pure red, while in the second case you'll see a pure white.

Hence the necessity of solving the viewing angle problem. And lo and behold, a year later, MVA arrived to solve the problem.

This time, each subpixel has been split up into several zones. Also, the polarizing filters are no longer flat but pointed. As a result, the crystals aren't aligned or rotated in the same direction. The pointed filters are where the term "ridges" comes from. This is also what gave rise to the term "multi-domain." The subpixel is divided into several regions in which the crystals are free to move, independently of their neighbors, in opposite directions. The goal of this technology is to create as many zones as are necessary so that users will only perceive one zone, no matter where they are in relation to the screen.