Tag: monitors

Large LCD display shipments fall

Samsung LCDImport tariffs on large displays is discouraging people from buying big TFT LCD displays. Currency fluctuations have also had an effect on the figures.

IHS Technology said in a report that shipments will fall by about five percent for the whole of 2015.

However, the decline in shipments will be offset by the manufacturers by growth in the amount of panels that can be built – that will grow by five percent in 2015.

IHS said that year on year shipments of displays for tablets, notebook PCs, and PC monitors will fall by 12 percent in 2015.

Yoonsung Chung, a senior analyst at IHS, said that maintaining TV panel production is the most important to use the full capacity of the fabrication plants that build the panels.

He said: “To consume this added capacity, TV panel makers must produce more panels, whch means the industry could end up adding excess panels to inventory, leading to sharp TV panel price erosion in the second half of this year.”

He said prices are also likely to fall in 2016, meaning the cost of 55-inch and bigger TVs will fall – and that may stimulate demand.

Panel market hit by notebook slump

Samsung LCDManufacturers of LCD panels for the IT and other markets are feeling despondent because there are precious little signs that people are buying.

Generally speaking, the second quarter of the year is a healthy one for the manufacturers as companies gear up their offerings for the third and fourth calendar quarters.

But, according to a survey from Trendforce, that doesn’t seem to be happening.

The survey showed that for the notebook sector there’s no demand for panels even given the traditionally healthy back to school sales. Nor has the industry see demand for Windows 10 generate additional orders.

In fact, there’s a glut of inventory in the channel, meaning that prices for panels have actually fallen in June.

Sales of monitors are not helping the panel manufacturers either. Trendview said there was a “significant” decline in shipments in the first quarter this year, and the second and third quarter look to be gloomy too. Here too prices have dropped.

The other sector that generates profits for the manufacturers are TV panels but there’s a price war there, particularly on the popular 32-inch size.

Flat panel shipments hit

Dell TabletSales of Taiwanese manufactured TFT LCD screens amounted to 60 million in the first quarter of this year, but that’s down marginally over three percent compared to the same quarter last year.

Digitimes Research (DR) said that of the four sectors it watches – TVs, monitors, notebook and tablets only the first showed positive growth – up 13.5 percent year on year.

Korean flat screen manufacturers LG Display and Samsung both opened next generation fabrication plants in the quarter and concentrated on switching production in the old fabs to churn out TVs and monitors.

But demand for notebook panels and monitors was weak in the first quarter, with DR reporting that Taiwanese manufacturers saw a nine percent sequential decline during the quarter.

Tablet panels fared worse – shipments for these gadgets fell 17.5 sequentially, said the research company.

TweakTown top picks

Hello TechEye viewers, this is TweakTown’s Content Editor reporting back with another weekly update of all the highlights over at TweakTown recently. This past week has seen another good dose of activity that covers multiple market segments.

The week started off with a look at one of Dell’s latest entries into its UltraSharp family of LCDs. Despite the model name being indicative as a replacement to the popular U2410, the new U2412M is a lower priced offering with its E-IPS (Economy) versus the more expensive S-IPS used in the former. It still proves to be a fantastic quality monitor, though, and could be a great alternative to help make Eyefinity (3+ screens) a possibility without breaking the bank.

If you frequently carry around a fair amount of precious data with you, but find yourself often getting paranoid with your choice of portable storage against the elements and want the ultimate peace of mind, we looked at one of the best options on the market this week from ruggedized specialists, ioSafe in the Rugged Portable. The primary purpose of the ioSafe Rugged Portable is to keep your data safe and secure no matter where you are. At CES we shot one with a shotgun, threw it on the concrete floor as hard as we could and the unit kept on running perfectly.

Do you find yourself using your notebook around the house more than your desktop? Or perhaps it’s even your desktop replacement of choice; you would be one of a very large group of users that do if so. I think you would also have found that heat buildup from most laptops that have been on for prolonged periods of time can get a little discomforting after a while, especially when simply resting on your lap.

We separately looked at two NotePal series solutions from Cooler Master this week to help combat that; the multi-tilt capable NotePal U Stand and the more nimble NotePal X-Slim, both of which faired quite well in our tests when it comes to helping keep those temps at bay.

Thinking of building a nice compact mini-ITX based rig? Motherboard manufacturers are really nailing it these days with multiple options on the market that pack a wealth of features and power, also using some of the latest desktop chipsets on the market. We looked at one such model from ASRock this week, the A75M-ITX which uses an ideal chipset for mITX, the new Fusion based A75. It could be that perfect candidate for your next HTPC or workhorse build.

Aside from the motherboard above, another of the primary decisions to make when planning your mITX build is of course the case you’re going to house it in. Lian Li graced us this week with one such unit in its Mini-Q series, the PC-Q25; a clean looking small form factor chassis which thanks to its compact box like stature and conservative, quiet design cues, should do rather well to blend into most any environment.

This week we also took a closer, more detailed look at Intel’s new Smart Response Technology found on their latest consumer level chipset, Z68. If you aren’t too sure what that’s all about, the basic idea is that you can use a smaller SSD drive, say 20GB, and combine that with a larger traditional mechanical drive whereby the SSD would act as a super fast cache, thus increasing the overall storage performance without having to invest in a high speed, high capacity SSD.

With GIGABYTE’s new 20GB mSATA SLC SSD equipped Z68XP-UD3-iSSD motherboard in hand, we covered the board in two separate articles this week – this first one looking at how effective Intel’s SRT is and another that gives a more detailed look at the overall board itself.

And that wraps up the major happenings from our neck of the woods over this past week. Until next, adios folks!

Emissions? Manufacturers don't give a damn about them

In the 80s, computer monitors churned out horrible emissions so Sweden’s Tjänstemännens Centralorganisation decided to do something about it. If you’re at all familiar with technology, the chances are that you’ve run across a TCO Certification sticker on a monitor. It means it has been approved to the organisation’s high standards.

There was a TCO sticker sitting on a huge Sony CRT got eating up desk space, unused, so TechEye gave a specially customised, one of a kind business card to TCO’s Birgitta Halvarsson when we met her for lunch at Chez Gerard, Soho this week. 

The origins of the TCO Certification were to reassure businesses that they could buy low emission, safer hardware with a reassurance on good image quality. By the mid nineties, it had introduced restrictions for harmful substances such as some flame retardants and been acknowledged by DisplaySearch for image quality. TCO spread beyond Sweden and became international very quickly thanks to the global nature of the IT industry. 

Now TCO is moving a step further,  Halvarsson tells us, into the realms of social responsibility.

This adds to other categories prioritised on TCO’s list, usability, performance and envrionment. At the moment social responsibility conditions aren’t as stringent as they would like but it’s a step in the door.

Social responsibility means companies must assure and prove to TCO that workers on the supply lines adhere to legal policy and that they are looked after. Indeed it has close ties in East Asia, such from panel manufacturers in Taiwan through to consumer electronics  companies in South Korea such as Samsung, and Lenovo in China. When questioned about manufacturer involvement with Foxconn Halvarsson was slightly nonplused but said it was something to look at – but Apple isn’t big on TCO anyway. More on that later. 

Halvarsson admits that social responsibility is difficult to police and certify but it’s a step in the right direction. It has successfully pushed for better monitors and the removal of harmful components for electronics and doesn’t see why it should stop there.  The idea is that certification makes it easier, whether a business buyer or consumer, to pick products that are good for you and the environment, both physically, and now, socially. 

Bizarrely, we’re told, manufacturers such as Dell give TCO Certification on laptops a wide berth, though this is true for much of the industry, not just Dell. Why? It’s dosh, they don’t want to pay more, and consumers are buying into laptops, notebooks and netbooks regardless though there is both space and demand for certified portable computing. Companies are more willing to get their desktops, monitors and all-in-ones certified, but not laptops.

People don’t ask about image quality on laptops because they’re pretty and well marketed, and if they are not having this dicussion, there’s no need for companies to eat into profits by raising it.

Some exceptions are Samsung and Lenovo, both of whom are always keen to work with TCO. 

To go further on portable computing, what about smartphones? iPhones and their ilk are essentially ultra portable computers, too, so what about their emissions? Rags like The Daily Mail will run a phones and cancer story every couple of months if ideas are low, but the fact is a link cannot be entirely ruled out. It’s been a consumer issue since the emergence of phones and there are so many conflicting points of view and experiments that we can’t be sure.

But because the point is so controversial, manufacturers want to do anything they can to avoid talking about it. If it’s likely to impact sales or worry consumers they don’t want to market products from a health perspective. The brands have agreed amongst themselves not to. And that’s why TCO hasn’t had luck with phones.

Though with the explosion in the smartphone market it is something TCO may approach again. 

Back to Apple – don’t necessarily believe its green company claims. Greenpeace has acknowledged that Apple has made some real improvements, but aside from international policy such as the WEEE directive, it monitors and regulates its own green production lines. Aside from a few monitors many moons ago, Cupertino has not gone to TCO for emissions certification. One reason is that TCO stickers don’t complement its sleek design department.

Speaking on the proper recycling and disposal of harmful substances, Halvarsson agrees with us when we suggest that it too is incredibly difficult to police. The nature of some economies, for example the waste disposal problem in Chennai, India, makes it testing to ensure safe disposal especially at the end of the logistics chain. But the cost of recycling in Sweden could be around 15 dollars for a monitor, compared to only one dollar in parts of India – the difference is clear and profits drive decisions, as usual.

As with harmful substances, the United Kingdom’s National Measurement Office has something called the RoHS Directive which places a ban on proven, dangerous or environmentally unsound materials. We and the industry know, Halvarsson says, that waste is being exported to other countries and not disposed of properly. It’s something we’ll have to tackle as a unified planet for any real difference. 

However, TCO says RoHS, while an admirable attempt, falls short by missing the bigger picture. Materials are identified on a case by case basis which means the process is long and newer substances may be missed – there can be workarounds.

What’s in line for TCO? There’s a chance with smart and embedded televisions on the way the TV display market will be next.

Monitors lag behind graphics cards

Monitor manufacturers are holding back the industry and have been for years. Take one look at ATI’s EyeFinity feature and you’ll know that modern graphics cards are able to output an incredible number of pixels. Take a look at the specification for almost every monitor on the market for the last thirty years and you’ll find hardly any that beat 100 DPI.

There really aren’t many reasons for staying at 100 DPI on the desktop other than history. It’s about time the monitor manufacturers moved to 300 DPI.

Up until this summer, nobody had really noticed. Then the iPhone 4 came along with its Retina Display and changed everything. The move to high resolutions in mobile phones is now a certainty and it needs to happen on the desktop too. Everyone we’ve asked who has used a Retina Display for more than a few hours finds desktop displays ugly and blocky.

Moving to 300 DPI on the desktop would give the graphics and display industry a much-needed shot in the arm. Just about everyone in the industry would benefit.

IT workers win because they’ll get less eye strain. Both Windows and OS X do text smoothing to hide the blockiness and make text more legible. A move to 300 DPI would mean that text smoothing was no longer necessary.

Monitor manufacturers win because, although stuck pixels are relatively few and far between these days thanks to improved manufacturing processes, plenty of LCD panels never escape the factory because of them. At 300 DPI, stuck pixels hardly matter because a speck of dust on the screen is bigger. So there’s a good chance that manufacturers can push all of the panels they produce out of the door.

Monitor manufacturers also win because 3D has, at least temporarily, turned out to be a lemon. They need something to push the boundary again. Preferably using technology that doesn’t mean building an entirely new production line.

Graphics chip manufacturers win because there would be a new high point to hit. Memory manufacturers would win because those graphics cards would need more, faster memory.

Marketing departments win because there’s something new to sell and it’s tangible. The customers can see the difference.

Moving to 300 DPI on the desktop is long overdue. Everyone in the industry has something to gain from it. The big question is, will it be Apple to move first yet again or will another firm have the courage?

IDT launches chip to connect four displays

Integrated Device Technology has launched what it says is the world’s first DisplayPort based device which allows users to connect up to four monitors to a single DisplayPort connection.

The IDT VMM1400 multi-monitor controller is compatible with the VESA DisplayPort v1.1a and HDMI v1.3. It uses one DisplayPort input port and four HDMI or DVI output ports.

It also lets users connect up up to four monitors from a single digital output port. The output can be configured to be in expand mode or clone mode across four displays, which means users can shift between apps such as gaming, graphics design or spreadsheet analysis. Users can also dedicate each monitor to a separate application.

When configured for expanded resolution, the IDT VMM1400 can treat all attached monitors as one single monitor. When the user selects a display resolution that is the same or smaller than the original monitor’s native resolution, the IDT VMM1400 will send identical PC screens to each attached monitor.

In hub mode, the VMM1400 supports four HDMI or DVI outputs that can display on up to four monitors. In “daisy chain” mode, the ViewXpand device supports a connection to downstream devices – for example, another VMM1400 – to form the daisy chain of monitors compatible with the current DisplayPort standard. It is also said to automatically detect the number of monitors connected and adjusts the resolution accordingly.

Ji Park, vice president and general manger of the Video and Display Operation at IDT, said: “When you spread a PC or consumer platform across up to four screens, you can see more, toggle windows less, make clearer decisions, accomplish more work in less time and generally have an improved user experience.”

Samsung releases display with 1ms response

Samsung has a couple of new LCD displays out this month.

The first is the SyncMaster P2770FH which according to Samsung has a response time of just one millisecond – getting rid of motion blur and ghosting in the process. That means clearer performance for faster refresh rates. It’s 27 inches and operates at a full HD 1920 x 1080 resolution.

It has a viewing angle of 170 degrees and 70,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio. Inputs are HDMI, standard VGA and DVI-I. It’ll be available this month for $399.99. 

It has also put out the 31 series LED backlit monitors. Samsung claims that they’re eco friendly and stylish. The latter is subjective. The main idea though is that the 31 series will find displays using 40 percent less energy, on average, on the same-sized CCFL backlit monitors – and they won’t contain any mercury or halogens.

They’ve apparently already been rated the Energy Star 5.0 rating. The 31 Series have a slim 19mm design, HD 1920 x 1080 resolution, a 2ms response time, contrast ratio of 5,000,000:1 and two HDMI inputs. The cheapest model has VGA and DVI-D but no HDMI.

The 31 series should be available this month too. The BX2031 – with no HDMI – will sell for $169, the BX2231 will go for $199, the BX2331 for $239 and the top model, the BX2431 will sell for $279.

Samsung’s website for details, Google will get you there. 

Dell ordered to send out kit to hacked-off Taiwanese consumers

Dell’s Taiwan web store screw-up last year, when it accidentally advertised products for as little as a third of the proper price, has turned out to favour the Taiwanese consumer with a court ordering the company to deliver the kit for the gaffe price tag.

Eighteen laptops and 76 flat-panel monitors must be sent on to 31 consumers in the region for the advertised price tags. The products include the Latitude E4300 notebook, which was mistakenly put up for NT$18,558 ($579 USD) instead of NT$60,900 ($1,870 USD).

The Taiwanese government , in accordance of Taiwan’s Consumer Protection Law, last year fined Dell NT$1 million after consumer complaints about pricing problems. The company offered coupons to the affected but that didn’t fly. 

It seems the Taiwan consumer is sick of apologies and coupons and just wants its cheap kit. Dell has so far not offered comment on the matter, though it did apologise on its website. 

This is the first of seven similar cases that Dell has actually lost out on so far. It’s only a small victory – while Dell must send out 76 flat-panel monitors, it is thought that up to 200,000 had been ordered.