Broadcasting Forum
LCD Broadcast monitors versus domestic monitors
LCD Broadcast monitors versus domestic monitors
by Robin Seymour on Oct 9, 2008 at 2:49:00 pm

Hi Walter and everyone

Was reading with interest your comments regarding broadcast monitors - HD LCDs especially.

I need to get a BM for my set up - mac quad into Black Magic Multibridge pro 2 in order to effectively monitor HD sources (as well as SD) and grade occasionally.

Considering the HDMI output from the MB Pro 2 I'm wondering how much more I'm getting by spending 3.5k on a JVC 24" broadcast monitor in comparison with a consumer LCD screen.

I took a look at a Samsung 32" LE32A556P which is 1080p and has a quite dazzlingly good picture, the 40" series 7 version is even more breathtaking. at £569 and £1200 respectively, I'm wondering if I can get away with using one of these monitors or similar to grade.

Apologies if this sounds like a bit of an amateur question, but I wonder if anyone else has considered this and if what practical advice is out there.

Really appreciate your feedback, thanks.


Re: LCD Broadcast monitors versus domestic monitors
by Bob Zelin on Oct 9, 2008 at 10:08:02 pm

Hi Robin -
can you "get away" with a Samsung consumer monitor - OF COURSE you can. To many people, the Panasonic TH-50 series is "breath taking".
Breath taking does not define a critical monitor, used for color correction. If you cannot tell the difference between these consumer monitors, you should ABSOLUTELY buy the Samsung. Save money, please yourself and your clients, and fully understand that you are not qualified to do an on line conform for broadcast, or get thru a color correction session.

Many of my clients have monitors much worse than you have specified, and are in business.

bob Zelin

Re: LCD Broadcast monitors versus domestic monitors
by Robin Seymour on Oct 10, 2008 at 12:15:04 pm

Thanks Bob,

This may seem like a bit of a basic question, but what I'm trying to get to the bottom of is in practical terms what the difference is between a pro broadcast and a domestic. You know I've graded stuff on a Final Cut set up that has had top post houses amazed by the results. The high end expensive route isn't always the answer. It just occured to me that perhaps with calibration a really good domestic might be imperceptible from a broadcast monitor. So I wanted to pose the question to see if anyone had any experience of comparing them.

When you said:

"understand that you are not qualified to do an on line conform for broadcast, or get thru a color correction session. "

What is it that the pro monitors give you that the domestic ones don't, and are there definitely no 'workarounds' to attain the required results?

I guess the question I'm asking myself is - do you have to have a broadcast monitor because it says 'pro' on the box, or is there a very valid practical reason why it is not possible to achieve acceptable results on a domestic monitor.


Re: LCD Broadcast monitors versus domestic monitors
by Bob Zelin on Oct 10, 2008 at 12:49:14 pm

one day soon, you should go to a trade show, like IBC in Amsterdam, or the NAB show in Las Vegas. There you can see countless professional monitors (and cheaper monitors) side by side. Companies like Sony, JVC, Panasonic, and higher end companies like eCinema, CineTal, and TV Logic. When you look at the accuracy of a CineTal monitor (about $8000), you can tell instantly the difference between these monitors and regular plasma displays (which are all over the NAB show).

No one can deny that plasma displays like the Panasonic TH-50PH10UKA make a fantastic looking picture. I found this monitor (when it was the 8 series) when Panasonic first released it, and it appeared at almost every booth at NAB (except Sony's booth !). Everyone from Apple, AJA, Blackmagic and Adobe all had the same Panasonic plasma display. So it's professional, right ? It sure does make a nice picture, and tons of my clients own this very monitor. But it is NOT a critical monitor, for observing noise, artifacts, and critical color. For years, most of my post production clients used the Sony PVM series CRT monitors - these monitors were great -but they were not BVM series monitors, and could not be used for color grading or critical color correction. These cheaper monitors (which were the #1 monitor that I would recommend for an editing system) were tough to see noise and compression artifacts.

This is similar to critical speakers. When you get a flat pair of monitoring speakers, you dont' want some "cool sub woofer" shaking the room. You want to hear the actual sound, so you can hear, noise, clicks, hiss, air conditioining noise, buzzes, and other problems. Critical monitors (like critical speakers) are used to conform and finish products. Does this mean that countless people don't use cheaper LCD's and Plasmas (and cheap speakers) to finish shows - of course they do. You can use anything that you want. And probably get away with it.

The JVC DT-24 series for $3500 is a fantastic product and a great purchase. It is accurate, and will give you a great accurate image for standard def, as well as hi def. It does not do well off axis, but is one of the best for accurate black reproduction. Is the JVC DT-24 as good as the CineTal - absolutely not. but I don't have one client that can afford $8000 for a monitor, so this is a non issue in my world. Most of my clients currently use the Panasonic BT-LH series LCD monitors. But everyone also owns some sort of Plamsa for client display (including consumer ones like Sony Bravia series,and Samsung).

Confusing, isnt' it ?

Bob Zelin