Broadcast News

Bookmark and Share

A Brief Guide To Choosing Picture Monitors...

News Image
15 years ago, buying a CRT picture monitor was simply a case of buying the latest version of your favourite brand in either Grade I or II. The advent of the LCD, HDTV and the demise of the CRT means we have now to try and decipher all the marketing jargon to work out which display best fits our needs, writes Steve Hathaway, Managing Director, High Performance Media.

To help de-mystify the process, here are some guidelines that'll stand you in good stead when trying to decide what you need. Firstly, as a principle, always buy one 'level' above what you think you need as having a good quality picture monitor will always impress clients and, in a competitive world, it separates 'the men from the boys'. Don't be a 'cheap skate' and buy a TV for less important monitoring as televisions are designed for a different purpose and give over saturated colours with accentuated detail and higher brightness. From a practical perspective, you need to know if the HD-SDI signal is good or otherwise, particularly in a world with so many signal formats and increasing complexity of cameras and their respective sensors. Picture quality is king in monitors and you'll get to know the 'look and feel' of your (higher quality) monitors and therefore be able to make a judgement about the signal just by looking at the screen.

Monitors for different applications
In a production environment, ruggedness can be as important as functions and facilities; after-all, you don't want to be caught out in the middle of a field miles from anywhere not having the right connectivity or perhaps even being able to check signal level on a waveform. For editing you need a monitor that you can rely upon to tell you whether the material that you're editing is good enough. A grade 2 level monitor might suffice unless you are also doing grading when there's no substitute for a high quality, grade 1 display. In an OB or SNG, the whole purpose of camera racking is to make sure that your camera is set up correctly, which includes colour and detail so a grade 1 is essential and preferably a 1920x1080 resolution with a minimum size of 21.5", so you can see detail.

In an engineering area, it really depends upon the quality of racking monitors and how much you can trust them as to the quality of engineering monitors. Essentially, a grade 2 minimum, but preferably a grade 1 as picture stability is often better in grade 1s and they are less prone to 'drift'. For this application it is useful to have signal format display, a colour waveform monitor, vectorscope, audio meters (with selectable scale) and time code display so that you can check a wide range of parameters of the signal. Some monitors can show two pictures simultaneously, called PIP or PAP, which is useful to monitoring a programme output and an off air signal together. In a production gallery, picture quality is very important too and you wouldn't want rows of monitors giving different colours, for example.

The trend for OBs in mainland Europe is to go for high quality reference monitors with a colour calibration facility which allows operators to ensure that all monitors have the same, accurate colours. Whilst these monitors are initially more expensive they are much better value as they last twice as long (7-8 years instead of 3-4 years) and directors and producers like to see true quality picture for their productions.

Interoperable television standards
The technical standards for monitoring are prescribed by the EBU and are set out in documents EBU TECH 3320 and EBU 3325 which are available online. These set out the guidelines for broadcast grade 1, grade 2 and grade 3 broadcast LCD displays whilst ITU-R Recommendation BT.709, more commonly know by the abbreviations Rec. 709 or BT.709, sets out standards for colourimetry. Theoretically, everyone in the industry should be working to these standards to ensure interoperability.

LCD and OLED technologies
LCD technology is a mature +10 year old technology, with panels available in all sizes from 1" to +80". OLED technology is relatively new, still 'bedding in' and available in limited sizes and has quite different display characteristics to LCD. Most home TVs use LCD technology and by using LCD for picture monitoring removes one potential problem from the production process. LCD gives a 'truer' broadcast picture with more accurate black details whilst the OLED gives super crisp, high contrast/colour pictures with blacks deeper than you get even at the darkest parts of this planet.

Research has established that OLED picture monitors can degrade colours quickly and the overall life cycle is much shorter than LCD technology. They are not recommended for use with multiviewers, in-vision UMDs as well as long term use with safe area markers as they suffer from 'burn-in'. Whilst OLEDs monitors have become widespread, user experience suggests that they are not a panacea and very careful consideration needs to be given to the application to which they are used.

Choosing a picture monitor
The choice of picture monitors is ever increasing and can become bewildering, especially as there is quite a variation in quality. Using the 'mass market' brands means that you're mostly going to get 'middle of the road' performance. It is worth spending some time finding specialist companies like High Performance Media Technology Solutions who develop their own displays and work with some of the best monitor manufacturers in the world. They have an enormous range incorporating over 70 different models so, not only do you get more choice but more appropriate monitors which more often than not, do more and cost less.

Solidmate Ltd Memory Card Hire London

Top Related Stories
Click here for the latest broadcast news stories.

LynTec To Display New Lighting Control Product Line-Up At InfoComm 2021
LynTec is to showcase its new lighting control product lineup with the LCP Lighting Control Panel Series and Narrow Profile Panelboards in Booth 6049
TAG Video Systems To Display Monitoring And Visualization Platform At NAB
TAG Video Systems has announced plans to showcase an enhanced version of its monitoring and visualization platform at NAB 2021. The leader in realtime
Evertz To Display A Range Of Solutions At NAB 2021
Evertz has announced it will displaying a range of innovative solutions that address the significant changes taking place throughout the broadcast ind
DPA's New Mobile Studio-Quality Audio To Be On Show At IBC 2017
DPA's new d:vice MMA-A Digital Audio Interface will be on show at IBC 2017 (booth 8.D70). It will give European broadcasters their first opportunity t
Cerberus Tech And ATEME Bring Broadcast-Quality Compression To Its Live IP Video-Delivery Platform
Cerberus Tech Ltd and ATEME has announced the integration of ATEME’s TITAN video-processing solution into Cerberus Tech’s Livelink IP delivery platfor
Cuescript Presents European Debut Of IP-Enabled LED Monitors At IBC2017
CueScript has announced that it will present the European debut of a range of IP-enabled CSM LED monitors at IBC 2017. The new range, which was first
New TVLogic 4K & OLED Monitors For NAB
At NAB Show 2017, TVLogic will introduce a number of new 4K HDR and OLED monitors, including the LUM-310R, the LEM0550R, the VFM-055A, and the LVM-171
Hitachi HDTV Cameras Improve Production Quality As Lighthouse Church Rebuilds after Hurricane
Lighthouse Church is a non-denominational, spirit-filled church in the beach community of Panama City, Florida. Building a new sanctuary and video pro
Genelec Monitors Nominated For TEC Award
Genelec has revealed that its 8331 and 8341 Compact Coaxial Monitors have been nominated for a Technical Excellence & Creativity (TEC) Award for Outst
Penta Gold Ref Monitors Arrive
Oxygen DCT has announced the introduction of its Penta Gold Series of 10-bit LCD reference picture monitors. Whilst not the most renowned brand, Oxyge
JVC To Demo Latest Monitors At MPS
On show at the Media Production Show this month are the latest monitor ranges from JVC Professional. Now available in the market, the latest models of
Oxygen DCT's IPS-LCD Picture Monitors Wow Visitors At
Visitors from broadcasters and post houses were wowed by the image quality of the IPS-LCD picture monitors from UK-based equipment manufacturer and di
New TVLogic Reference 4K And OLED Monitors At 2017 NAB Show
TVLogic, designer and manufacturer of LCD and OLED High Definition displays, is introducing several new 4K HDR and OLED monitors at the NAB 2017 that
Oxygen DCT To Roll Out New Monitors
One company is set to unveil a host of new monitors at the upcoming Broadcast Video Expo (BVE). Oxygen DCT will showcase their new monitors for broadc
Oxygen DCT's Penta Series LCDs Cover Lions Tour
Dimension TV Facilities, South Africa's largest independent OB operator, has equipped its latest HD vehicle with Oxygen DCT's Penta series of LCD moni