The next wave
You’ve probably heard about or even seen a new monitor technology called OLED. These super-thin emissive displays have wide color gamuts, wide viewing angles, high dynamic ranges and super-low black levels.
OLED research and development has been going on for several decades, and these displays are only now reliable enough to bring to market. Unfortunately, OLEDs are expensive to make as manufacturing yields are still low. A 25in BVM E-series OLED monitor from Sony has an SRP of $26,000, while the PVM version (some minor panel defects) still fetches $6400. In contrast, you can buy a 26in WUXGA LCD monitor with all the bells and whistles for about half that amount.
At NAB, a new crop of 4K (3840 x 2160 pixels) video monitors took the stage. Most of them employ LCD technology as well, but they’ll set you back a pretty penny. Unless your facility is supporting high-end cinema production or experimental 4K shoots, you should just pass these by, but you won’t have to wait long for prices to drop. JVC announced at NAB that its 84in 4K pro monitor would retail for less than $15,000, and it’s expected that some of the 32in 4K monitors seen in Las Vegas will be tagged well under $10,000.
Thanks to the Internet, you can easily window shop monitor specifications and compare one brand to another before you buy. Some LCD monitors serve double duty and can work in the field from battery power; that could be a handy option. Likewise, small LCD and OLED monitors are available that attach to camcorders for studio use or sit on desktops for reviewing footage.
You can also buy large TV-sized monitors for green rooms, lobbies and edit suites at reasonable prices in the $50/in range. These displays come with modular video and audio input slots and also provide picture calibration tools. Some use plasma technology; the rest are LCDs. Individual features (support for AES digital audio, markers, blue screen, real-time video/audio waveform displays) are up to you and your facilities’ needs.
—Peter Putman is president of ROAM Consulting LLC of Doylestown, PA.