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Philips BDM4065UC 40-inch Ultra HD Monitor Review

Why would you put the Philips BDM4065UC on your desk? Because it's 40 inches with Ultra HD resolution and a 5000:1 contrast ratio. Today we check it out in our lab.

Our Verdict

If you’ve toyed with the idea of using an HDTV as your computer monitor, the BDM4065UC fulfills checks all the right boxes – large screen, Ultra HD resolution, high-contrast VA panel and low price. Playing games on it is a total blast and you won’t find anything else that even comes close for the money. If you have the desktop space, go for it. If you don’t, then find a way to make room!

For

  • Screen size
  • Contrast
  • Sharp, clear image
  • Resolution
  • Value

Against

  • Calibration compromises
  • Brightness

Introduction

There is no question in our minds that playing games is more fun on a big monitor than on a small one. We've thoroughly enjoyed playing our favorite shooters on all the 34-inch ultra-wide screens and 32-inch jumbo screens we've reviewed. Filling your peripheral vision with a large image makes the experience far more compelling and engaging.

Gaming enthusiasts today are focused on two things: resolution and refresh rate. And we've seen plenty of screens that push the envelope in both areas. But we still maintain that the most important component of image quality is dynamic range; specifically the distance between the deepest blacks and the brightest whites -- otherwise known as contrast.

We're always pleased to see an IPS or TN screen top 1000:1 in our tests. That's a decent ratio but the more rarely-seen VA panels can deliver far better blacks, and the examples we've tested have measured closer to 2000:1. Today we're looking at Philips' 40-inch Ultra HD model, the BDM4065UC. Not only is it the largest desktop monitor we've ever tested, it boasts the highest contrast too -- on the order of 5000:1.

Specifications

Nearly every LCD panel on the planet is made by either Samsung, LG or AU Optronics. A few are also made by Innolux (formerly Chi Mei). But the Philips BDM4065UC is made by TP Vision, which is the actual owner of the Philips brand.

VA stands for Vertical Alignment and it's a distant cousin to the much more common IPS (In-Plane Switching). The main advantage it has over other technologies is greater contrast. In most applications you'll see at least twice the ratio of a similar TN or IPS screen, usually around 2000:1. Many HDTVs however, have achieved native contrast of 3000:1 and more.

It's all in how adjacent pixels, and their crystal lattices are aligned. You've heard us use the term "light valve" to describe LCD technology. VA simply provides a better valve, one that can almost completely shutter out the backlight.

Of course there are always tradeoffs but in this case, they are minor. VA panels are a little less bright than their TN or IPS counterparts. And in the monitors we've reviewed, off-angle image quality isn't quite as good.

But none of these things can distract us from the spectacular image displayed by the BDM4065UC. And its price tag is a nice bonus as well at around $800 at the time of this writing. If you're considering using an inexpensive UHD television as your monitor let me point out two things. This Philips has a DisplayPort input and it will accept a 3840x2160 signal at 60Hz. Many TVs can run at 120Hz but they'll only accept a 60Hz signal. And unless a display has HDMI 2.0 or DisplayPort 1.2, it will only allow a max input refresh rate of 30Hz at UHD resolution.

MORE: Best Computer MonitorsMORE: Display Calibration 101: Step-By-Step With Datacolor's Sypder4Elite

MORE: Display Calibration 201: The Science Behind Tuning Your Monitor
MORE: All Monitor ArticlesMORE: Displays on the Forums

Correction: This article was updated at 3:00 pm PT to clarify that the BDM4065UC is made and marketed by TPV under the Philips brand through a worldwide licensing agreement. Neither TPVision nor TPV own the Philips brand. Rather it is licensed by TPV.

  • Oleander
    Bought one back in january. Best decision ever!

    A lot of bad stuff were said about it in forums (for all the wrong reasons) so it's nice to see that for what I use it (non first-person gaming and all-round) this review vindicates it.

    Only remaining issue is the flicker of the backlight if brightness is not at 100%, but since the brightness is so low, it's not a problem to me.
    Reply
  • cats_Paw
    For professional use, absolutely.
    For gaming, probably not (Black levels are amazing for LED panel, and also contrast is amazing, but color delta and input lag... no way).

    Plasmas are still king for gaming in my books, too abd they are almost all gone by now.
    Reply
  • Maryland_USA
    A completely unique product? I don't think so. Several other 40-inch monitors are available that will drive a VA panel at 3840x2160@60Hz through both DisplayPort 1.4 and HDMI 2.0. They're sold by AMH, Crossover, Iiyama, MIcroboard, and Seiki. Step up to 43 inches, and you must add Wasabi Mango. All but the Seiki and Iiyama cost less than the Philips.
    Reply
  • Larry Litmanen
    I currently game on a 32 inch TV, honestly you can not go back to a monitor with a better resolution that is 24 or 27 inches. Once you go big it is just amazing.

    It's not just the width, you also need that vertical screen real estate.

    Reply
  • hotdogee
    "Nearly every LCD panel on the planet is made by either Samsung, LG or AU Optronics. A few are also made by Innolux (formerly Chi Mei). But the Philips BDM4065UC is made by TP Vision, which is the actual owner of the Philips brand."

    The panel is made by Innolux for TP Vision.
    Reply
  • Eggz
    Great to see this. Is tom's planning on reviewing the new LG 4K OLED displays? They would seem to score very well in just about every category that matters for professional use. I'd love to see it, and the reviewers would also probably enjoy playing with one. Consider it, please.
    Reply
  • QuadT
    If this had G Sync I'd order it right now.
    Reply
  • Xorak
    I used a 32" 1080p TV for a long time, so I completely get the appeal of a big screen with great contrast and vibrant color, even if it's not the fastest or most accurate. Now I'm used to my MG279Q and would not go back to a fixed refresh screen. I hoped that 4096x2160 would start catching on too, but it looks like it won't. In the next 2 years a single GPU should be able to make use of a true 4k panel with variable refresh up to 75 or 90hz and it would be a thing of beauty at 30+ inches.
    Reply
  • enewmen
    Can someone explain why not to use Ultra HD LEDs TV for computer work? (another dumb post) For small font text (using 1080p TVs) , the TVs did'n't look as sharp as PC monitors. But I don't see that as a problem for 2160p TVs. Yes, the TV must have HDMI 2.0 and the graphics card must also support that. But is that the only reason? Anyway, the Philips looks like an UHD TV made for PC work at a price similar to TVs.
    I also personally don't like Display Port cables because only the BEST cables won't give problems with recovering from sleep mode. Gave up on Display Port and currently using DVI Dual Link at 1440p.
    Reply
  • mavikt
    Great to see this. Is tom's planning on reviewing the new LG 4K OLED displays? They would seem to score very well in just about every category that matters for professional use. I'd love to see it, and the reviewers would also probably enjoy playing with one. Consider it, please.

    I too would like to see a proper technical review of said (TV) tech.
    In a home theater magazine I subscribe to they said that the latency was around 50ms (55EG960V), didn't say how it was measured though. Otherwise they said it was The Perfect TV.
    So it remains to be seen if LCD will "remain the dominant tech for the foreseeable future"
    Reply