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Small Flat-Panel Monitors Grow in Favor Among Users

Attention is focusing on compact and even portable monitors

To showcase their technological acumen while meeting the needs of their clients, the makers of flat-panel monitors have long been putting a great deal of emphasis on creating and manufacturing the largest and most advanced screens possible.

While the pushing of flat-panel monitor technology continues, there is growing attention being paid to the value of monitors that are compact and even portable. That is because manufacturers are able to pack a great deal into smaller, feature-rich and versatile units. An example of this a monitor produced by Blackmagic Design.

Tim Klausler — the producer for Lakeville, Minn., Government TV, the public, education and government channel for that city — was looking for a way to monitor the station’s feed to the local cable channel. He chose Blackmagic Design’s SmartView Duo, which features twin 8-inch screens.

In addition, Lakeville changed to all-digital in 2009, and the cost of a dual SDI monitor was, at the time, considered prohibitive. But Klausler was not comfortable relying on a single monitor, and the twin screens grew in favor with the producer.

 Blackmagic Design’s Smartview DuoThat the Smartview Duo is designed for broadcast and post- and field production also attracted Klausler’s attention. “Every setup is different for each government facility, but for us, in our transmission rack, this is what we wanted,” Klausler said.

The Smartview includes support for multiple SDI video standards, including SD, HD and 3G-SDI formats, and they support advanced video standards used in postproduction, including 1080 progressive HD rates and 2K over 3G-SDI.

All video formats can be connected and changed at any time since SmartView will automatically switch in less than a second to the new format. And the duo monitors can be combined with a larger monitor as part of a field production package. “It performs its function at a very, very reasonable price,” Klausler said.

Among offerings in this product class:


JVC Professional Products’ DT-F9L5UAnother small, but versatile flat-screen monitor is JVC Professional Products’ newly released DT-F9L5U, which was designed to be a viewfinder in the studio, or as a portable monitor on location, said Craig Yanagi, manager of marketing and brand strategy for JVC.

The DT-F9L5U features an 8.5-inch in-plane switching panel with a 1280 x 800 pixel array, mercury- free white light-emitting diode backlight, focus assist and a zebra function. Inputs include HD-SDI, HDMI, analog component and composite video inputs, JVC said. There are vector scope, waveform, histogram and marker functions. A front-panel headphone jack is tied to 16-channel audio level metering. The durable metal cabinet has a handle; front and rear tally lamps assist the camera operator and production team, according to the company.


Flanders Scientific’s BM210While a flat-panel monitor produced by Flanders Scientific, of Suwanee, Ga., is not as small as the Blackmagic Design or JVC monitors, Flanders Scientific says its 21.5-inch BM210 aims to provide quality and versatility at a low cost.

“What makes the unit unique is its balance of performance and price,” said Bram Desmet, Flanders Scientific general manager, who adds the BM210 is designed to cover various needs, ranging from field production and broadcast to postproduction monitoring. “The BM210 is an excellent field-monitoring option as it weighs less than most 17-inch broadcast monitors,” Desmet said.

The BM210 is equipped with 3G/Dual-Link, HD/ SD-SDI, component, composite and DVH inputs. It features a native 1920 x 1080 resolution panel, 12-bit processing and signal support and an advanced color fidelity engine that manages various color space selections precisely.

In addition, the unit has 12-scope modes that work across all inputs, an exposure check mode, advanced pixel-level measurement and audio disembedding. The BM210 “is one of the most affordable, native HD 21.5-inch units on the market with these types of inputs,” Desmet said. It is available with a variety of field-use options such as snap-on hoods, carrying bags with integrated hoods, hard-shell cases and battery plates.


ViewZ’s VZ-215LED-SAlso producing another 21.5-inch, high-resolution (1920 x 1080) commercial-grade, low-cost monitor is ViewZ, which offers its VZ-215LED-S. The unit operates at 60 Hz and uses 40-percent less power, the company said.

The VZ-215LED-S features HD-SDI/ looping BNC (NTSC/PAL), HDMI, DVI, VGA and PC stereo. Its contrast ratio is 1000:1 at 16:9.


TVLogic’s XVM-175WAnother workhorse designed to provide all-in-one performance is TVLogic’s XVM-175W. It is a 17-inch, full HD (1920 x 1080) addition to the XVM series that has a 12-bit video-processing engine and color-calibration technology. This is combined with 10-bit high-purity RGB-LED for standard video monitoring.

Features of the XVM-175W include focus assist, markers, closed captioning, fast mode, multiple color-space presets with internal 3D look-up tables that are used to calculate preview colors for a monitor, a digital projector and to show how an image will be reproduced on a final film print, the company said.


Plura’s SFP-3GReaching in size to a 32-inch version is Plura’s SFP- 3G HD monitor series, which, in addition to the 32-inch monitor, offers versions in 17, 21 and 24 inches. All those monitors share an array of features including an advanced waveform vector scope, four SFP slots HD-SDI, SDI with active loops and built-in 6 x 6 cross point switcher.

Also included SFP-3G HD series is an SDI to HDMI conversion with an optional SFP module. Users can utilize “picture-in-picture,” “picture and picture” or a “blend,” according to Plura, which emphasizes de-interlacing and scaling technology. There are also built-in stereo speakers and a 16-channel audio metering display.


Sony’s PVML3200 LCD HDAlso offering multiple versions of a monitor is Sony’s PVM series, which is available in 17-inch, 23-inch and 32-inch versions. The largest of that series, the PVML3200 LCD HD high performance monitor is equipped with Sony’s proprietary TRIMASTER technology.

It is also optimized for broadcast and video production applications with a 10-bit drive high precision professional LCD panel, a 12-bit output display engine and exclusively developed input/ output conversion technology.


Marshall Electronics’ Orchid Series OR-3210Squarely in the mid-size monitor market is Marshall Electronics’ Orchid Series OR-3210, which is a 32-inch monitor that is packed with functions, the company said. The OR-3210 is a high-resolution (1920 x 1200) liquid crystal display panel that supports most standard video formats.

In addition to producing an HD image, the OR-3210 is equipped with a real-time waveform monitor, color vector scope, 16-channel audio level meter, histogram and video analytics, according to Marshall. It has accurate white balance and precision gamma calibration. It also features a broadcast tally system, false-color filter and peaking filter. Stereo speakers round out its ability as a stand-alone monitor, Marshall said.


NEC’s V801 LCDOn the other end of the spectrum is NEC’s 80-inch V801 LCD, which NEC plans to target at the education market “and anyplace with a conference room that requires collaboration between meeting participants on site and at other locations,” said Rachel Karnani, NEC’s product manager.

Government applications include digital signage and command and control settings, said Karnani, who added, users can network the V801 to get emergency information across a government campus.

In addition, the V801 uses LEDs rather than cold cathode fluorescent lights, and the LEDs enable the display to be lighter, consume less power and avoid using hazardous materials, Karnani said. “They are more eco-friendly and that is certainly a tenet of NEC’s enlightened design philosophy,” she said.

Perhaps the one advance that sets the V801 apart is its built-in expansion slot that supports the Open Pluggable Specification, according to Karnani. Intel and Microsoft developed the OPS, and NEC is among the largest adaptor of the OPS and the first to employ a slot, she added.

Various options such as Intel or AMD processors, HD-SDI cards and even a tuner can be inserted into a VHS-size, stainless-steel enclosure that is placed into a slot to run the V801. Even if the enclosure is inserted or removed multiple times, the components of the accessory are protected. That enhances the display’s versatility and makes maintenance easier, for if the processor, or card, is in the expansion slot, it is a lot easier to pull that out and make changes than taking down an 80-inch display or video wall, Karnani said.


LG Electronics’ 84WS7oms-BAlso on the big end of the flat-panel spectrum is LG Electronics’ 84WS7oms- B monitor, which is an 84-inch, 4K monitor that can be mounted in either portrait or landscape mode enabling all the information to be viewed on a screen with 8 million pixels, said Dan Smith, LG Electronics’ director of signage sales.

Increased resolution is important to government users because in many applications the agencies have computer-generated information, which can exceed the resolution of a full HD screen, according to Smith. The 84WS7oms-B has a display resolution of 3840 x 2160 lines. “That many lines increases the screen’s ability to pickup detail when standing in close proximity to it,” he said.

In addition, the 84WS7oms-B has a different type of LCD technology, according to Smith. “It’s called ‘In Plane Switching,’ and this technology is much more accurate for color, gray scale and wide-angle viewing,” he said. Among the 84WS7oms-B’s features includes a temperature tolerance of up to 230 degrees Fahrenheit, which helps alleviate the problem of screens overheating and affecting picture quality, Smith added.

“When the accuracy of the image is as important as the resolution, this is the ideal panel for those applications,” he said.


Samsung Electronics
America’s UE46C
In June, Samsung Electronics America introduced its UE46C flat-panel device, which is under Samsung’s new C Series LED-backlit displays, said Allison Kohn, a public relations manager for the company.

The UE46C is a component of Samsung’s new UE – C series, which is designed with a narrow bezel — enabling the construction of video walls — and with edge-lit LED backlight technology for ultra-slim chassis depth, Kohn said.

In addition, monitors of the UE – C series have been outfitted with “Smart Signage Platform” functionality, which enables the distribution of content to a single screen if needed, according to Kohn. That function “can update content on the fly, making it more of a convenient approach to uploading content,” she said.

With the introduction of its new C Series LED backlit displays, Samsung continues to offer products that help make the transition to LED a more affordable and competitive solution, without sacrificing key features, according to Kohn.


Blackmagic Design

JVC Professional Products

Flanders Scientific

LG Electronics

Marshall Electronics



Samsung Electronics America