Eye to eye Picture displays and multiviewers 2009


The transition from cathode-ray tubes to flat-panel display devices for broadcast picture monitoring was a long time coming but is now almost complete. Grade 1 CRTs from suppliers such as Ikegami and Sony are still purchased in small numbers for monitoring in quality-conscious playout centres and post-production houses. For every other broadcast application, not least in OB vehicles, LCDs and multiviewer image splitters have almost entirely replaced CRT monitor walls. Flat-screens are cheaper, lighter in weight, less bulky, more power-efficient and a lot easier on the eye than CRTs. LCD images are flat rather than curved, devoid of the convergence, geometric, linearity and focus issues inherent in CRTs, and free from flicker. So what's new?

Latest addition to Miranda Techologies' range of multiviewers is the 1 U Kaleido-X16 which has 16 video inputs, two multiviewer outputs and an integrated 16 x 2 router. Video inputs can be displayed any number of times at any size all the way up to full screen in various display resolutions and orientation. Kaleido-X16 can be used with 3 Gbit/s, HD and SD video. Multiple multiviewers connected to a routing infrastructure can be operated as a single system under GUI-based or router-based control. Other capabilities include display of closed captioning, subtitling, XDS and Dolby metadata. The multiviewer can also be integrated with Miranda’s XSupervise application for automated signal monitoring and alarm management.

Redbyte Design's Decimator Quad is low-cost miniature 3G/HD/SD-SDI 4 to 1 quad split or downconverter with 4 to 1 input multiplexer. Introduced at NAB 2009, it includes 4 x 3G/HD/SD-SDI inputs with auto-detection (26 formats supported), SD-SDI and composite outputs, and variable aspect ratios per quadrant. Each quadrant is independent of the others, allowing any 3G/HD/SD format at any frame rate to be displayed simultaneously. All four inputs can be displayed simultaneously on a single output. Full-screen mode allows any of the four inputs to be selected for output. In full-screen mode, the selected 3G/HD-SDI input is downconverted to NTSC or PAL and a SD-SDI input is passed through untouched.

Samsung chose the Infocomm show (Orlando, June) to launch what it calls its 'Ultra-Definition' display system. Up to 250 UD monitors can be integrated as a single wall fed by up to 125 networked PCs and controlled by a single server. The combination is designed to work with live video and stored files. Screen sizes are up to 82 inches in the ubiquitous 16:9 aspect ratio. Screen resolution is 3,840 x 2,160 pixels, four times that of a standard 1080i LCD.

Vista's Spyder X20 multi-viewer incorporates a routing switcher and video processor for mid-size applications that have multi-windowing, multiple displays and processing requirements. New to the Spyder family is 20 megapixel resolution in the Spyder X20-1608 and the X20-0808. Both models support blending, windowing, mixing and scaling in any source format and then route the signal to any destination device. Multiple displays can be combined to generate an enhanced resolution that exceeds any single display's capability. The Spyder X20-1608 has 16 inputs and 8 outputs; the X20-0808 has 8 inputs and 8 outputs. In both models, any output can be rotated to display portrait images. Other common features include universal input/output capabilities and built-in conversion for analog/digital, interlaced/progressive, resolution, aspect ratio and frame. Users can also benefit from true, live preview, advanced auto-sync capabilities, as well as integrated source monitoring and online editing.

JVC will introduce at IBC 2009 a 46 inch 3D LCD monitor for professional use. The GD-463D10 incorporates an 'Xpol' circular polariser and comes complete with two pairs of passive filter glasses. It is compatible with line-by-line and side-by-side 3D formats. Whereas the left eye and right eye information switches back and forth on a shutter glass display, the GD-463D10 displays left and right images continuously on the screen. The display has three HDMI input terminals which are compatible with standard HD video signals, including 1080/24p, 50p, 60p, 50i and 60i. Input signals in line-by-line or side-by-side format can be displayed as 3D images (50i and 60i for side-by-side format only). Resolution is 1920 x 1080 pixels and contrast ratio is 2,000:1 (native) or 10,000:1 (dynamic).

Tamuz' Hawk 2 series OCM 107W HD is claimed to be first portable battery powered monitor to use an Organic Light Emitting Diodes display for SD/HD-SDI signals. Claimed advantages of OLED in relation to TFT LCD are full BT.709 or EBU color space; daylight outdoor usability without modification; no delays or response time in image presentation, no smear or latency effects; absolute deep black at video signal black; no issues with viewing angles. The OCM 107W HD has a looped SD/HD-SDI input, a looped analog composite input, an analog HD-capable component input and an HDMI input. The HDMI port is designed for professional use and will not accept HDCP coded signals from consumer electronics. The HAWK 2 monitor is available in 7.6 inch screen size with a panel resolution of 800 x 480 pixels. It conforms to EBU t3320 Grade-2 and EBU t3325. Brightness is set for the European market at 150 cd/m2 nominal but adjustable from 70 to 200 cd/m2.The display offers wide viewing angles (greater than }45 ‹ HV at 90% visible brightness level) and meets the requirements of BT.706 or EBU compliant colours.

Barco's new OL and OLF LED-based rear-projection video walls feature a guaranteed LED lifetime of 55,000 hours and a five-year service-free runtime. An integral sensor continuously measures brightness and colour, adjusting the colour space to provide an image described as 'most convenient' for the human eye. The OL and OLF video walls can be installed in confined spaces. OLF projection modules can be accessed from the front.

Although rear-screen projection technology was a popular choice in presentation suites for several years, they too are being superseded by direct-view LCD panels on the basis of higher picture quality and greater affordability. Projection looks an unattractive option unless a need exists for very large screen sizes, as in digital cinemas. Projectors could become marginally more attractive if the problem of short lamp life is overcome and this now looks likely to happen with the introduction of high-intensity LED lamps. Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Optics & Precision Engineering in Jena, Germany, have developed such a lamp using cylindrical lens arrays which combine the light into a beam with a homogeneous rectangular profile. Hand-held LED projectors such as the 3M MPro110 are already on the market at appropriately small prices but presuppose access to a convenient projection surface and reasonable low ambient light.

Given the huge popularity of portable MP3 audio players, I suspect that the combination of 3D video content and Apple's packaging skill will result in a large market for head-worn 1080i definition stereoscopic displays. I tried primitive examples in the future-technology area of IBC about three years ago and was moderately impressed by what could be achieved in 2D with essentially 625-line 4:3 miniature micro-screens. Might take another five years to materialise but it will happen and incidentally offer an interesting way of monitoring a PC. Just don't wear the things while walking, cycling or driving.

Tags: iss032 | crt | monitors | multiviewers | miranda | redbyte | samsung | vista | jvc | barco | mp3 | N/A
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