Marshall Electronics has made huge strides in the LCD picture monitor market, with a practical package that fits with many of today’s applications and circumstances. Its LCD panels are light and compact, saving space and weight – obviously very attractive for OB vans. The monitors are recognised for their value for money while frequently winning side-by-side technical shootouts. But none of this would be of importance if the LCD fundamentals were not right.
Five years ago LCDs were considered interesting but not suitable technology for serious picture monitoring; even though they consume a lot less power than the then traditional CRTs, and the colours do not drift over time – another CRT detraction. Since then LCD manufacturers have done much to address the remaining major criticism of poor off-axis viewing with varying contrast and colours. Today Marshall offers a 170-degree viewing angle – even better than CRTs – and a wide range of monitors with a choice of screen size and resolution to fit applications and budgets.
In most applications today’s video monitoring involves more than just displaying high quality HD pictures; production staff need to know more, at least where the pictures on the screen are coming from. And with video mixers and routers that is a dynamic situation! The traditional solution has been to use 1RU strip under-monitor displays (UMD) that are driven by the tally system. Now the pioneering Marshall Electronics claims an industry first with the IBC2007 introduction of its full line-up of LCD panels which include In-Monitor Display (IMD) functionality. This not only puts the typical tally information at the bottom of the monitor screen itself but also, by using a far more detailed display device (the screen!) driven by modern graphics cards, there is flexibility to offer much more – and so to be more than a UMD replacement.
An example is Marshall’s new HD 10.4-inch IMD picture monitor that can be mounted as a single or dual 19-inch rack set. The dual version is particularly space-efficient, occupying just 4RU. And with each having its own power supply, offers a highly reliable solution for video walls. It provides a cost-effective all-in-one monitoring solution not just for the space-and-power-limited conditions of OB use but also for post production houses and broadcasters. The video tally information is displayed directly within the flat panel monitor, so saving precious rack space. A variety of features are readily available including on-screen video timecode, three-colour “Soft” tallies, and an Audio Presence Indicator. The IMD displays also introduce RotoMenu™ that allows fast, direct, and easy menu navigation.
Marshall IMD monitors integrate with existing tally systems and controllers. The TSL Tallyman is widely used in the UK, and as each monitor has its own power, control can be looped through. With each monitor assigned a unique number it can be individually addressed. This has allowed Marshall to introduce a new 1RU network control box at NAB 2007. It can address each monitor individually, or globally to update any settings. So, if there was a requirement for 4:3 aspect ratio or a different colour temperature, all displays could be changed in one easy operation.
Marshall has addressed the fundamentals needed to make LCD a quality alternative to CRT, so the many advantages including cost space and weight can be realised without compromise. By adding IMD Marshall has increased the efficiency and value of monitoring to include a flexible dynamic information system that offers far more than traditional UMD. The LCD monitor range is large, covering 7” to 32” panels with a choice of resolutions, with the 7” dual and triple HD, 10.4”, 17” and 20” sizes being popular in the UK and Ireland. These have a single HDSDI/SDI input with active loop-throughs to each monitor. Features include adjustment settings memory, zoom, multiple ‘Frame Marker’ overlays, a pixel-to-pixel mode, blue gun, and direct access for adjustment and selection functions. Development continues apace with the recent arrival of a 17-inch HD-native monitor with IMD. For full details see http://www.cache-media.com/.