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LED-Based LCD Display Tested 135

vrioux writes "Tom's Hardware reviews a pre-production NEC SpectraView 2180WG-LED, a new type of LCD display using LumiLED technology, which is a mixture of LED arrays and lightguides. The technology provides near-perfect (98% accurate) color reproduction and uniformity with no apparent downside. This new backlight technology seems like a clear winner for future LCD panels." From the article: "The 2180WG-LED's superiority is overwhelming. 98% of the colors were perfect; and all were at least correct. The result you see is for calibration for the sRGB standard. Unfortunately, the on screen display (OSD) on the model we got from NEC wasn't finalized, so we weren't able to test at other color temperatures. We've asked for a production model so that we can get a better idea of how it performs at 9300K and 5000K."
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LED-Based LCD Display Tested

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  • OLED? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Apotekaren ( 904220 )
    What ever happened to OLED displays? Or did I just miss out?
    • they exist. as far as i know they are production ready. my mom asked me to help her out finding out what type of mp3 player she bought, and how to make playlists work. I found the specs on the net since they didn't come with the player. noname production with OLED.
      They claimed OLED is viewable in all lighting conditions, but that's far from true if it truly was an OLED display. I might even go so far and say it was worse than regular tft displays. i don't know anything about the batterytime, though...
    • Re:OLED? (Score:5, Informative)

      by JanneM ( 7445 ) on Saturday October 29, 2005 @07:07AM (#13903972) Homepage
      They are in use, but still only for small displays such as phones and mp3 players. Expect to see the same trend for any new display technology, as it is much easier to manufacture small displays than large ones.
    • Don't they still have degradation problems? I believe the color blue was still degrading rather rapidly. They are used, but mostly for smaller displays that are supposed not to last that long or where color reproduction does not have to be perfect (such as phones / mp3 players). At least they are being produced, which means they are not solely a "could be" technology. And then there are patents apparently... []

      For free: []
    • Nothing happened to OLED. It's just that OLED has a short lifespan, especially in the blue channel, AFAIR, and that means that colour will not stay consistent through a reasonable lifespan, and gamut will decrease in that term as well.

      OLED is coming for cheap displays but not ready for colour critical work. Yet.
      • Considering that TFT isn't suitable for color-critical work I'd say they should hurry up with that because CRTs are getting raqrer and soon you won't be able to obtain any screens with good color reproduction anymore.
  • No screenshots? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by aapold ( 753705 ) on Saturday October 29, 2005 @06:40AM (#13903914) Homepage Journal
    well I know the old adage about showing TV displays on TV, I guess that would apply here, but I'd still like to see a screenshot of the thing with a display on it.
    • Re:No screenshots? (Score:4, Informative)

      by Sebastian Jansson ( 823395 ) on Saturday October 29, 2005 @12:25PM (#13904848) Homepage
      ACtually, you could have a meaningful picture, showing the screen in some sourounding, provided that the photo aren't editet it should show now natural like and bright the picture can get. A setup could be a plant in good lighting with the screen showing the same picture below. If you've ever tried photographing a screen you know that it's a major difference.
  • Perfect! (Score:5, Funny)

    by mrbobjoe ( 830606 ) on Saturday October 29, 2005 @06:46AM (#13903925) Homepage
    With no apparent downside... except of course for the $6000+ price tag.
    • Re:Perfect! (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Scoria ( 264473 )
      Give it about ten years.

      By then, of course, you'll be drooling over more advanced -- and therefore expensive -- technology!
    • A the first release of specialized product for specialized markets isn't going to hit Walmart pricing soon. I imagine it will go down in price soon enough.

      The article doesn't mention power consumption, which might need improvement before it goes to consumer use.
    • Re:Perfect! (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      ...and the 36ms latency. For some applications, that's a downside.
    • It's 8.3in thickness, 40lb weight, and difficult screen rotation are also definite design handicaps. If I want a monster with good color performance on my desk I'll just buy a CRT...
      • by jhoffoss ( 73895 )
        Uh...a 20" CRT is over 80 lbs, in my experience. And 20"+ deep.

        This LCD's depth is the base, the screen body itself appears similar to NEC's current LCDs, in that it's around 4" deep. The 8" base is necessary, unless you want your $6000 monitor to tip easily when you bump your desk. And at least the screen rotates...not to mention that this is still a pre-production model. I just hope it doesn't take five or ten years for this to become feasible for mere mortals.

      • If I want a monster with good color performance on my desk I'll just buy a CRT...
        But this has LCD's perfect geometry, stability, sharpness, and reduced power consumption in addition to color accuracy. And a 21" CRT only 8.3" deep?
    • From the article:

      The result you see is for calibration for the sRGB standard

      So, the colors were "perfect" for sRGB. That's great.

      Wake me up when they can reproduce a larger color space...sRGB is a tiny fraction of what the eye can see, and not considered anywhere nearly large enough a color space for print reproduction.

      In terms of arbitrary "area", AdobeRGB is twice as large as sRGB. For a $6,000 monitor, I'd expect more.
      • I quote: ...By the way, the "WG" in 2180WG-LED stands for Wide Gamut, and now we know why.... Its superiority is overwhelming. The SpectraView 2180WG-LED covers more colors in the reds and greens, and it's just as good for blues. In fact, the SpectraView 2180WG-LED is one of the rare monitors that can claim to fully cover the Adobe RGB color space, which is much more demanding than the traditional sRGB. End quote. Most CRTs cannot handle the whole Adobe RGB.... pretty good for a 6,000 lcd! LCDs that coul
  • by baryon351 ( 626717 ) on Saturday October 29, 2005 @06:49AM (#13903929)
    Another promising technology for displays is SED. Essentially using the same phosphors as a CRT, but each element which is laid out the same as an LCD has its own electron emitter behind it. No vacuum 'tube' like current CRTs, thin, and without the colour issues around LCDs.

    Whether or not it becomes economically feasible is something else entirely, of course. More information on wikipedia []
    • Back in the day SED stood for Smoke Emitting Diodes.
      • All diodes can be converted into Smoke Emitting Diodes with the proper circuit. Simply conntect the diode in reverse to its manufacturer's recommendations and provide sufficient voltage and current.

        If done properly, this method can yield large quantities of smoke. If done enthusiastically, this method can also yield micro-lightning (sparks. If done to excess, this method can yield fire.

        Unfortunately, this connection method also turns the diode into a one-shot.
  • by Signal_Noise ( 801973 ) on Saturday October 29, 2005 @06:56AM (#13903944)
    ...that my next monitor will be from the makers of Lite-brite?
  • One thing is for sure it doesn't have the same viewing angle aslcd or plasma ;) -Mark
  • These are amazing (Score:5, Informative)

    by Keeper ( 56691 ) on Saturday October 29, 2005 @07:09AM (#13903974)
    I've seen one of these in action before; color reproduction/quality was amazing. It was the first time I'd seen a non CRT display that I'd be willing to use for photo work.
  • by ben_rh ( 788000 ) on Saturday October 29, 2005 @07:12AM (#13903980)
    Nice to see a bit of ASR Redundancy every now and then.

    (That's Acronym Suffix Redundancy)
    • Redundant Acronym Syndrome Synd... uh, oops
    • I am so going to buy one of these.

      i just need to remember my PIN number and take a trip to the ATM machine...

      Got nothin'...
    • I downloaded some GPL licensed code and burned it onto a CD disk. After, I went to the ATM machine to get some money, and it asked for my PIN number. Things picked up later on when I went to the grocery store to buy some KD dinner and found it was on sale! The next morning at work, I soldered some LED diodes onto an IC circuit. My boss asked me why I was late handing in my TPS specification report, and I told him to cram it up his ass. After that he fired me and I had to prematurely withdraw money from my
  • No matter what the device, moving to LEDs is always an improvement in my book -- they're low power, last basically forever, and all the rest of it. This is pretty nice technology from NEC. Now all we need are a few other manufacturers to get in on the LED action and drive the prices (and the thickness of the display) down.

    At the same time, I can't help thinking that the whole design paradigm of using a light generation source, with a filter in front, is sort of non-optimal. All the work that has to be done
    • What, exactly, do you think DOES the backlight job in cellular LCDs?
      Those use LEDS for _AGES_.
    • LEDs are low power, true, when compared to filament lamps and so forth.

      LCDs are supposed to be even lower, however.
    • by MoonBuggy ( 611105 ) on Saturday October 29, 2005 @10:46AM (#13904511) Journal
      It'll be interesting to see where display tech goes in the next 15 years -- maybe some sort of sheet of micro-LEDs that emit light for individual pixels.

      You just fairly accurately summarised the way OLED [] displays work. They've been used in phones and MP3 players for about 2 years now, so real-world use in standalone displays shouldn't be more than 5 years away.

      There's also SED [], a sort of hybrid of CRT phosphor technology with LCD-style individual pixel control, which was mentioned by another poster. Again it emits light from each pixel rather than shining a backlight, which is, as you said, sub-optimal. Looks like it's a much longer timeline before they hit the market though.
      • Wasn't the point to use LEDs instead of OLEDs? Everywhere it says that OLED is cheaper because is organic substrate, blah, blah, blah, but why not use regular LEDs? Is it really that expensive, more so that this 6K thing? It would be easier to manufacture at least...
        • You wouldnt be able to produce a display like this in oled-style but with normal leds for 6_0_k$.
          The problem is: you cant make one master and put red/green/blue diods on it for normal led processed, because those different colours need different dotations, and base substrates.You cant produce them together. Thus a "LED" display would only work if you would assemble and wire millions of individualy produced diods... And thats not economic in ANY scale.

          Thats why oleds are so nice: with organic substrates emit
  • Better than it seems (Score:3, Informative)

    by imsabbel ( 611519 ) on Saturday October 29, 2005 @07:42AM (#13904031)
    The big thing of the this is not that its as good as CRTs (every manufacturer has high end LCDs with integrated colour correction that are as good, no matter what ignorant ./ groupthink people always claim without anything to back it up).

    This particular device blows CRT out of the water. Due to the fact that it uses indepentend sources for reds/blues/green, it can shift the colour temperatur without any need for recalibration the lookup tables.
    Because the light source is solid state, it can cover more then the whole adobeNTSC colour space (while CRTs CANT. There is a limit to what you can make phosphor emit by hitting it electrons in terms of spectral cleaness and range)
    • by Keeper ( 56691 )
      every manufacturer has high end LCDs with integrated colour correction that are as good, no matter what ignorant ./ groupthink people always claim without anything to back it up

      Accurate color display isn't the issue. The issues are limited gamut and contrast. Additionally, blacklevels and colors shift with your viewing angle AND based on where you're looking at on the screen.

      You are incorrect about the display gamut CRTs are capable of. You don't have to look very hard to find professional wide gamut CRT
    • Funny you should say that stuff, I would expect a $7000 computer monitor to have good picture quality.
    • Oddly enough, you are incorrect. LCDs have a much smaller color space than CRTs. For example, did you know that most of the LCD displays on the market have 6-bit per channel color? Not nearly enough for color work, sorry. Also, there is nothing inherently different from producing light from solid state sources as there is from analog sources to support any of your statements about the size of the color space. Additionally, you can't get deep blacks from an LCD because you are relying on the ability of the L
      • Well, whats your definition of "most" displays?
        Of course those gamer screens with 12ms or so advertised refresh times only have 6 bit precision, and not very good angle-dependence of the colours, too.

        But whoever has brains doesnt buy a TN-display, but a PVA or similar design-> better viewing ables, 8bit per colour channel, with good display even internal 10bit lookup tables, ect.

        Your comment about the black level is true, but when working, there is usually a lot of ambient light in the room, so the contr
  • by Belseth ( 835595 ) on Saturday October 29, 2005 @07:44AM (#13904035)
    Pretty exciting for CG artists. My current monitor is an NEC 1970 GX. It's not a CRT but it still has one of the best images I've ever seen for a computer screen. The conrast and saturation is amazing. I can't wait to get a look at the combo monitor. Seems to solve the problems inherent to both systems. Also has the potential for once of a decent laptop screen. Most are pretty mediocre. My current laptop has a bad blue grey shift making it useless for color work. The price tag is daunting at this point but the price will drop. If they can get it down to a third of that price I'd buy. In truth I'd get mighty interested at half that price. Barring a lottery win it's out of my league for now. At least it's good to see things headed in that direction. The progress in LCD displays or the last five years has been remarkable. I still remember my first notebook 15 years ago. It had a passive matrix. I was impressed at the time but having the cursor disappear when you moved it too fast was a real pain. Also the video games of the time looked pretty terrible unless you used an external monitor. Personally I got tired of hauling 19" montors around. The new LCDs look amazing and are a fraction of the weight. The last Viewsonic CRT I had was a piece of junk. Sad to see Viewsonic fall. Their LCDs just can't compete with the NECs and really don't look any better than ones selling for dramatically less. The biggest problem I see with LCDs is the text tends to ghost badly. Mine looks good but some were so bad that you couldn't even read fine print. People have gotten spoiled by cheap equipment. 20" plus pro level monitors used to run 5 or 6 grand back in the mid to late 90s. It's not for the average game player at this stage. Professional artists and photographers will happily pay the money for the quality. After a while the prices will drop and they will be approachable to gamers and the budget minded graphics people. The turnaround time has compressed in recent years. I bought a DVD burner four years ago. I paid $550 and was quite happy with the purchase. A month later the same one was $450. Three months later I saw it for $350. Now you can get one for $50 or less. It might have made sense to wait but A: I didn't know they would drop that fast and B: I got a lot of use out of it in those three months. Hopefully a year from now the new monitors will drop to half their initial price.
  • This thing looks more like a Dell branded iMac G5 than it does state of the art monitor tech from NEC
  • by DavidHOzAu ( 925585 ) on Saturday October 29, 2005 @08:17AM (#13904091)

    From what I've read, I'd like to know what their warranty is on stuck pixels. With a certain manufacturer (samsung Samsung SAMSUNG) you can get LCDs with a warranty so good they'll replace your entire monitor if ONE pixel gets stuck. As for this new NEC monitor, with all that new, extra technology I'd say the chances for stuck pixels would be high until a few more models down the line. Then again I might be saying nonsense since some later bits in the article could say otherwise.

    The technology provides... uniformity with no apparent downside.
    Yup, the monitor is so uniform in fact that its feature article keeps on crashing FirefoxB2. This is the first time in my experience that an article covering NEC monitors could crash my browser if I'm not using an NEC monitor. Not that I'm paranoid, (my tinfoil hat is in the mail as-we-speak,) but I think they must have something against Samsung.

    we weren't able to test at other color temperatures
    Just put a bunsen burner under it and I'm sure you'll see some pretty colors in no time.

    • Note that the panel apparently comes from another proven NEC model.

      The things that are different on this one are the backlight system (an LED array instead of a flourescent bulb and reflectors) and the LCD controller.
  • It's a start... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by jcr ( 53032 ) < .ta. .rcj.> on Saturday October 29, 2005 @08:24AM (#13904104) Journal
    Personally, I'm much more interested in this technology []. These guys vary the brightness of individual LEDs in their backlight array, which results in a vastly higher dynamic range. (Near-infinite contrast ratio, basically.)


    • I read about this recently myself. The biggest downside I see to this is that the array of leds is a MUCH lower resolution than the LCD itself. They use software algorithms that take advantage of the bloom effect to compensate, but that has its limits. I imagine this display would be very poor for use as a computer monitor, especially in the console.

      • Perhaps they could incorporate a second LCD, in front of the backlight LED array, which would be identical to the color LCD
        except lacking the R, G, and B bits - it'd be greyscale, but each pixel would still have three sub-pixels.

        The middle LCD would help compensate for the low resolution of the backlight array, by darkening pixels and
        subpixels where necessary.

  • Some issues. (Score:2, Interesting)

    So the basic LCD panel itself isn't anything noteworthy. I've seen people make their own LED backlighting for car installs for extra brightness using ultra bright LEDs with reflective materials and another material for absorbing the light and deflecting it. If you used a faster refresh panel and made your own backlighting that would sound optimal, of course their lighting was white only, and I'm guessing from the article that this uses multiple color LEDs.

    The only thing I see to make up for this crazy hig
  • by Thagg ( 9904 ) <> on Saturday October 29, 2005 @08:50AM (#13904162) Journal
    While this is a great display, that addresses many of the problems of flourescent LCD displays, there's a more exciting one that I've recently read about that unfortunately I can't find the link to at this time.

    All color LCDs up to this point use a matrix of black-and-white LCD shutters behind an array of color filters. This means that for any spot on the screen, two-thirds of the light is always blocked (a red pixel will always block all of the green and blue light). It also means that a 1280x1024 display really needs to have 3x1280 or 3840 pixels across. (This is not completely a bad thing for computer displays -- current text display drivers take advantage of this to give higher resolution)

    This new LCD panel uses no filters, but instead flickers the backlight R/G/B very quickly. The LCD shutters turn on and off in sync with the backlight color, so if a part of the image is red, the LCD pixel shutters are only clear when the red backlight is on.

    This allows a much lower-power display, as you are only using 1/3 of the light.

    Conceivably one could use more than three colors of LED, too, to get wider gamut -- although that's not part of the product that I recall seeing.

    Anyway, I'm still holding the torch for SED displays mentioned above, but these LCD advances are looking very strong indeed, and could surpass SED brightness, flatness, color purity, and low-power characteristics before SEDs can be mass-produced.

    Thad Beier
  • but a display using LEDs is by definition not an LCD, correct? LED is "Light Emitting Diode" and LCD is "Liquid Crystal Display". LEDs are not LCDs.
    • Re:Not to nitpick (Score:4, Informative)

      by Jonny_eh ( 765306 ) on Saturday October 29, 2005 @09:19AM (#13904234)
      It's still and LCD because that is the technology that displays the picture. In this case, the LEDs replace the lightbulb that sits behind the display. LCD crystals do not generate light, they need a light generator behind, or in front of them. Using LEDs instead of light bulbs is better for: less heat usage, less power usage, longer lasting, and apparently better colour representation.
      • Hey dumbass.

        Do some research before you respond.

        the liquid crystal diodes within an LCD display work to block specific frequencies of light depending on the voltage applied to each pixel. The crystal for each pixel mutes all the frequencies of light from the white light except for the desired colour which passes through.

        How is this the same as using a light guide to pipe light to the display from an LED of a specific colour?

        I'll make it easy for you ...

        ITS NOT.
  • by Psykechan ( 255694 ) on Saturday October 29, 2005 @09:34AM (#13904269)
    Aren't we supposed to be doing our duty and demanding [] HDCP on our monitors? I mean who wants to spend $6000+ on a monitor that would not let Windows Vista display HD content on?

    Personally, I would just fix that in software. ;)
  • Refresh Rates (Score:3, Interesting)

    by shoemakc ( 448730 ) on Saturday October 29, 2005 @11:07AM (#13904581) Homepage
    I know I'm going off on a bit of a tangent here, but an above post got me thinking. How many average computer users are currently running their CRT based monitors at a 60HZ refresh? I know I can pick out a 60Hz refresh from a distance however your average person doesn't seem to notice...except for their eyes hurting at the end of the day. I know even back in the day when i was working in a computer store and there would be two monitors with different refresh rates next to each other, even when pointed out half the time the customer couldn't tell the different.

    Which raises another question...If the display settings are set at 60Hz, and then locked out so you couldn't even change it if you wanted to, is that grounds for a protential lawsuit?

    Just some thoughts...

    • Which raises another question...If the display settings are set at 60Hz, and then locked out so you couldn't even change it if you wanted to, is that grounds for a protential lawsuit?

      I don't even know you, and I can tell you're American!

    • Which raises another question...If the display settings are set at 60Hz, and then locked out so you couldn't even change it if you wanted to, is that grounds for a protential lawsuit?

      I would atleast ask if you could have the refresh rate changed before you sue. If they say no, then try asking for a LCD.
    • "How many average computer users are currently running their CRT based monitors at a 60HZ refresh?" A lot probably but it is very monitor dependent, on my monitor I can notice 60hz but on newer CRT's it became more difficult to recognize, also for any moving images (games, etc) the 60hz refresh is definitely unnoticable / not eyestraining at all. It's mostly to do with static work environments you see in windows where 60hz begins to become and eyesore. Also with the advent of Plug and Play monitors some
      • Plug and play sometimes fails to work if you boot a system without turning on the monitor first. Some people power up their computers, forgetting the monitor was not on, and end up in 60hz, even when the monitor supports > 75hz.
  • by fnj ( 64210 )
    Hasn't anyone else noticed how crappy the specs are? Brightness 230 nits, contrast 430, viewing angle 176 degrees. I have an ancient Samsung 213T 21.3" - 250/500/170 - and an ordinary 204T 20.1" - 300/700/178. The new 214T 21.3" will be 300/900/178. Any of these cost 1/10 to 1/6 as much as this overpriced clunker.

    The colors look perfectly fine to me - far better than a CRT where the 3 color guns quickly wear at differential rates.

    Sheesh, I thought this thing was supposed to IMPROVE brightness and contra
    • Sheesh, I thought this thing was supposed to IMPROVE brightness and contrast.

      With the way the LCD manufacturers like to fudge and plain out lie when it coms to their specifications, I wouldn't be so quick to judge this new technology. I would wait until you see it side by side with a current LCD monitor.
  • Whatever happened to those displays that were under development that would basically be able to duplicate luminosity? Like....if you were playing a flight sim and flying into the sun, it would actually be very bright like an actual light source in reality. Whatever happened to all of that?

  • M Article text M
    S S
    F F
    T More article text T

    A A
    D PAGE 2 of 9 D


    Offtopic, but man. I understand that the site's free for me to view (or not v
  • This reminds me of a /. article a few years ago about how they were about to start manufacturing flat CRT screens. The screens would be made using two panes of glass sandwiched together. One pane would have the individual phosphor pixels, while the other pane had some device to stimulate the phosphor on the other pane. Each individual pixel was to have its own stimulator. The circuitry and phosphors were to be printed on the glass with ink jet printing technology.

    I've searched but cannot find the article.

  • The color range may be good, but why the poor contrast ratio?

    The technology sounds similar to Brightside's Extreme-Dynamic Range Display []. Both are LCD monitors backlit by an array of LEDs, but Brightside claims a 200,000:1 contrast ratio because backlights can be turned off entirely for black pixels. The SpectraView clocks in with a 448: 1 contrast ratio... it seems like they should be able to do the same thing.
  • "it has been impossible to get a true white display on TFT"


    I was buying Sharp industrial grade TFT back in 1999 which had the original backlights removed and replaced with high intensity 1500 candela jobs by a company called Landmark in the states, to this day at native resolution it blows away EVERYTHING else, even my 21 inch Sony G520's, people just go "WOW!" when they see it...

    know what the secret was?

    not the backlight, that just gives you paper white when you want it.

    the true secret was a 300 do
  • Lifespan (Score:2, Informative)

    by Sockatume ( 732728 )
    The one major drawback with OLED monitors at the moment is their lifespan. The blue OLEDs have historically had a tendency to die before the others, which isn't a problem for a MP3 player screen but pretty much ends a video display. That said, what's the oldest display you've got?
  • by k4_pacific ( 736911 ) <(moc.oohay) (ta) (cificap_4k)> on Saturday October 29, 2005 @06:42PM (#13906467) Homepage Journal
    I have one of these, and with my blast furnace, I was able to test it at 5000K. At 5000K, it burst into flames almost instantly, and all the plastic parts either burned or melted then boiled. All that remained was a charred steel frame and some cinders. At 9300K, the steel frame also vaporized and very little of the remains were recognizeable from the original monitor. All told, I do not recommend using this monitor for such high-temperature applications.

Garbage In -- Gospel Out.