We will soon laugh at the old days when monitors and TVs were separate devices. LG is helping bring that day closer with some strong hybrid monitor releases. But the technology hasn't been perfected yet. TVs have traditionally lacked the brightness and resolution of monitors, particularly as they have become bigger. And monitors have lacked the onboard technology required to reprocess images, either properly (gaming) or at all (TV).
But now LG has raised the hybrid monitor bar by throwing 3D technology into the mix to offer all that's available in screen technology for consumers. But can one unit do all this at once without compromising performance? Let's take a look at the new Cinema 3D Monitor series and see.
FORM AND FUNCTION
Out of the box, the LG continues the simple but effective design parameters of its mid-range products. Both monitors _ 23in and 27in _ in the new series feature a 2.5cm bezel around the screen, a rounded base and smooth back to make for an unobtrusive if not smart design. A menu panel is available from the lower front bezel, but it's better accessed by the remote.
Although it looks standard from the outside, onboard is an impressive array of processing technology. This includes a built-in DTV tuner and a 2D to 3D converter. It also features passive 3D technolgy, meaning it avoids the flickering that has been blamed for promoting headaches, and it requires battery-free glasses that weigh 16g, which are comfortable for regular movie viewers or heavy gamers.
The new LGs offer an aspect ratio of 16:9 at a resolution of 1,920x1,080, but both can be adjusted to accommodate a variety of input that comes through the array of inputs _ two HDMI, component, RGB, RCA, USB, antenna. This means you can connect everything from a PC to a PS3, from HDTV to a HDD. It handled all file types and signals we threw at it, supporting its claim of being a true hybrid.
The screen offers more brightness (250 candela per square metre) than previous 3D monitors. Larger 3D TVs have struggled with brightness, even using LED tecnhology. The anti-glare surface means light sources behind the screen don't overly interfere with brightness, although direct light should be avoided. The sound quality of the monitor would suffice for casual TV viewing but could be improved for committed gaming or movie viewing with some external speakers.
If you are looking for a monitor/TV hybrid and are at least an occasional 3D user, then the LG series offers value for money. With its true hybrid functionality and strong connectivity options, it could be used as a media player, a gaming console and a TV, particularly in a confined space such as a bedroom.
LG has hit on the future of screen technology with this all-in-one-style screen, albeit at a price. Hopefully this will drop soon as it's already 6,000 baht cheaper in the US and UK.