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The TV for TV producers - hands-on with Sony's OLED reference monitors

Tom Morgan
20 Feb 2012
Sony OLED reference montitors
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OLED reference kit shows almost perfect colour reproduction

We're used to seeing high-end TVs costing several thousand pounds, but it's not often we get to take a look at the reference monitors used to produce the films and TV programs we watch at home. When Sony showed off its TriMaster BVM-E250 reference monitor to us on a recent trip to Tokyo, we were rightly blown away by its image quality.

Unlike a TV, which processes the image before displaying it on-screen, a reference monitor displays exactly what data is recorded in the input image. Sony's latest models use OLED, rather than the CRT and LED sets previously used by the television industry, for more accurate colour and black levels than ever before.

A CRT monitor can accurately display black levels at 0.01 cd/m2, but because of their environmental impact, Sony replaced them with LCD models. These could only display accurate blacks at 0.10 cd/m2, significantly less than a CRT, so an alternative was required. Enter the OLED, capable of accurate blacks with zero additional light output (0.00 cd/m2) and colour accuracy regardless of luminance.

In a direct comparison, CRT looked a lot better than LCD, but we were amazed at how the OLED panel looked. With the lights off, the screen looked completely black, with no indication of where the screen began and the bezel ended.

The display automatically adjusts its colour output to account for decay in any of the three primary colours, and has an average lifespan of around 30,000 hours. This is significantly higher than the 20,000-25,000 hours of the average CRT monitor, which is significantly more power hungry than OLED.

If this all sounds too good to be true, it is - a 25in screen will cost upwards of £25,000 - these are strictly for professionals right now, but they give us a good insight into what Sony is working on for the future. In a few years time, we can expect some of the technology seen here to filter down into consumer products that should be a little more affordable.

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