Going for big screen

Setting up my docking station at home, I ended up with terrible headache: staring at the tiny, super-sharp screen of Vaio Z31 from a distance is not something you want to do for several hours. Time to get a proper, bigger external display for the upstairs working den.

Looking at some reviews, and comparing prices, I ended up with Samsung SyncMaster 2494HS. It is a 24-inch, Full HD screen that appears to have been packed with a rather nice LCD panel. The ergonomics are not quite perfect: the “simple stand” it was shipped with has no up–down or rotation adjustments. Luckily, the small stand appears to fit my table and height. The touch-sensitive buttons are painful to use, and Samsung ships some software tools with the display, which supposedly make it possible to adjust the settings with mouse from GUI. Unfortunately the “MagicTune” only gave errors when I tried installing it. There is a restricted number of video cards it works with, and the nVidia 9300M that my Vaio is using is not one of the supported ones. No luck. But the image quality is great (you need to set the 1080p resolution for 50Hz though, not 60Hz like the instruction says). But finally there is enough real estate in the screen that you can actually get two A4 pages next to each other and continue working. Perfect!

Samsung SyncMaster 2494HS
Samsung SyncMaster 2494HS

Author: frans

Professor of Information Studies and Interactive Media, esp. Digital Culture and Game Studies in the University of Tampere, Finland.

13 thoughts on “Going for big screen”

  1. You mention setting the refresh rate to 50hz… I’ve been looking into getting one of these, and one thing i haven’t been able to find anywhere is definitive info regarding 50hz. For me to buy one, it MUST be able to do 50hz through DVI or VGA. Can you please assure me that it does 50hz through DVI or VGA? Thanks 🙂

  2. I think this was some kind of issue in the video card (nVidia 9300M) or monitor driver — I unplugged it, and changed the monitor from my Vaio Z31 laptop (HDMI) into workstation running nVidia GeForce 8800 GTS (DVI), and now it operates perfectly in its native 1080p resolution in 60Hz just like it should. You can get the picture also in 50Hz, but it is not as good as in 60Hz.

  3. Okay thanks for that frans. Funny that! I’ve got a laptop with 9300M graphics, and a PC with 8800GTS also. And now i’m about to get the same monitor as you. Never the less… thank you for your response.

    I’m well aware 60Hz is better than 50Hz for general use, the higher the better obviously…. smoooooooother… but here in Australia our digital TV is either 25fps interlaced (deinterlaced by software to make 50 frames/sec) or 50fps progressive…. and since the main reason for getting this screen is to watch digital TV from my TV card…. it MUST be able to do 50Hz to avoid judder… horrrrible judder. For example, my current monitor does 75Hz, and wont do 50….. so technically every second frame of a 50 frame video is displayed twice. makes it look blurry. If i run it at 60Hz (the only other option), the motion is horrible as it has to repeat some of the frames to get from 50 to 60.

    So you’re absolutely sure that if i get this monitor, i’ll be able to plug it in (via DVI on 8800GTS)… and 50Hz will be available??????!!!!!

    Sounds like it will from what you’ve said…. my monitor simply says “out of range” if i force 50Hz. Laptop does 50Hz, but what good’s that, it’s only 1280×800 and 15.4 inches!!! plus it doesn’t have the tv tuner in it anyway

    Anyway cheeeers mate, thanks for your help

  4. Talk about coincidences 🙂

    I tried to see whether AU version of Samsung.com contains the data sheet for this monitor, but could not find it (is it already available over there?) I could find it from the Finnish language version of the site, though, and you can also download the manual from there:

    http://downloadcenter.samsung.com/content/UM/200812/20081222090635234/BN59-00660E-Eng.pdf

    In page 82 of the manual it says the specs:

    Synchronization:
    Horizontal 30 ~ 81 kHz
    Vertical 56 ~ 60 Hz

    Thus, if we look at the vertical figure, it goes according to specs only to 56, but not to 50? Optimum resolution is 1920×1080@60 Hz. But isn’t it that while CRT monitors would still depend on the fast refresh rate to reduce flickering, these LCD monitors mostly operate natively at 60Hz (the rate at which they receive the images from the video card), but they differ in their response times (in milliseconds)? I am not an expert, just checking it from here:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Refresh_rate

    The 60Mhz judder sounds nasty in any case — hopefully you can find a 50 or 100 Hz monitor to get over the problem.

  5. Yep, it’s available here… $330 Australian.

    Vertical 56 ~ 60 Hz —– Hmmmm, yeah, that’s pretty typical of LCD monitors. I was hoping it would do 50Hz. My lenovo laptop (9300M) has a 1280×800 panel which supports (at maximum resolution) 50Hz, 60Hz (so called optimal, but that’s dependent on the frame rate of the source video!) and 40Hz interlaced (power saving mode). In my opinion, any monitor sold in Australia (or any non NTSC region) should support 50Hz or 100Hz. Our LCD / Plasma TV set’s support it, so why not PC monitors. The fact that my laptop does 50Hz gave me some hope for a newer BIG panel.

    You’re right about flicker on CRT’s… i’ve ‘forced’ a CRT to 50Hz…. and it’s very noticeable. Not shooting that electron beam at each pixel again (refreshing) fast enough means they start to go black. You can not look at it for more than a minute at 50Hz. I think if the CRT is designed right the pixels will stay lit for longer (as in, all the old 50Hz analog TV sets in Australia)

    An LCD could run at 2Hz with no flicker (not that they sell monitors or cards that support such a stupid frame rate, but if they did…) You could run a slide show of your favorite photos with the computer only updating the image 2 times a second, and it would look fine. No flicker. The pixels that make up the first image are instructed to turn on, and like a light bulb, they stay on, without needing to be “refreshed” by an electron gun to stay lit. Then after half a second, the next image is sent to the LCD monitor and the pixels change accordingly and stay that way for another half a second. No flicker. They just “stay on”.

    That response time you talk about, is how long it takes for the first image to change into the second image. When you’re talking about realistic frame rates (or “refresh rates”) like 50, 60, 72, 75, 100Hz that’s when response time becomes important when things are moving around the screen. The lower that number (in ms), the quicker each image can transition into the next, and the less blur you get in fast moving scenes.

    Man, i’m rambling on, sorry…. Anyway all this said, for some stupid reason, even though with LCD’s it doesn’t matter about flicker @ 50Hz (because there simply isn’t any flicker on LCD’s)…. They don’t all “let you set them to 50Hz”, and that annoys me because i need 50Hz! (100 would be better but that’s getting expensive)

    Frans,
    Can you please please do me the small favor of going to video properties, advanced, monitor… and try to set the “refresh rate” to 50Hz and see if it works???

  6. Thank you so much! That’s as good as it gets, photo and all!

    Is that VGA, DVI, or HDMI?

    and is the picture 1:1 pixel mapping (perfectly sharp, not blurry)?

    Cheers Frans…. greatly appreciate your help. I think i want one of these monitors!

  7. Greg, it was connected using DVI. The version I have here in Finland appeared to give same, pixel-perfect, native resolution image both at 50Hz and 60Hz in my experiment. Hope it will work for you!

  8. Ok… Well I went ahead and bought myself a 2494HS

    Nice!

    The first test i did was with my laptop (because i wasn’t at home) and connected via VGA, went to nVidia control panel and trid to create a custom resolution of 1920×1080 @ 50hz and the darn thing wouldn’t let me. I was kind of shattered. Said it “failed” setting that mode or something. Then i tried HDMI from the laptop… and it did let me set it to 50hz, but the picture was not pixel perfect (that’s 2 out of 2 samsung panels i’ve tried via HDMI that don’t do pixel-perfect, one being a friends 40″ LCD TV, the other; the 2494HS). I wasn’t in the best of moods after that… but i knew i still had one last connection to make… DVI, the one you said did 50hz pixel perfect… so i packed everything up, finished my work and headed home to the 8800 GTS….

    I got home, made space for the second monitor, set it all up, plugged in via DVI and turned the PC on. Set up multiple monitors to dualview and no problems with default 1920×1080@60hz. Next i went to nVidia control panel and proceeded to create the custom resolution of 1920×1080@50hz, and low and behold, it worked! i was wrapped! … for a second…

    The darn picture was greyscale! i was like, “what the fuck?”, i pressed the menu button on the monitor and the menu was color. I messed around with some settings for a while and eventually resorted to doing a google search, where i found someone with an ATI card with the same problem… turned out in his CCC control panel the saturation was set to zero. So i went into to nVidia control panel again and eventually got to the “digital vibrance” slider and sure enough, moving it from zero to 50% brought back the color!

    Then i opened my TV application (dvbviewer) to check out TV quality… the number one thing this monitor will be used for. I was a bit disappointed at first. I knew why… the main signal broadcast here is 1080i… so the quality of the final picture displayed on a non-interlaced, progressive monitor is totally dependent on the deinterlacing and scaling capabilities of the software/hardware generating the signal. I fucked around with the directX decoders and renderer settings for a while and finally settled with VMR9 renderer and nVidia Video Decoder. With this, i’m now getting a pretty good picture. I think it could be better though. Apparently ATI cards have better deinterlacing (ie motion vector deinterlacing) than nVidia. I have a feeling i’m getting plain old BOB deinterlacing.

    There’s no judder with this monitor at least. The renderer outputs 50 frames per second and the monitor displays 50 frames per second. It was really bad before @ 75hz, as the renderer gave the monitor 2 repeated frames then 1 frame, then 2 repeated frames then one frame and so on. Scrolling text during the news kind of jerked it’s way across the screen. da-da, dit, da-da, dit, da-da, dit, da-da, dit, etc. Now it’s much smoother.

    I’m currently watching some sport… and when the camera pans quickly…. the crowd and football field blurrs a lot. I’m hoping this is just the “sub standard” deinterlacing at work…. but part of me suggests that maybe it’s the monitor’s response time. They say 5ms but that is marketing bullshit. Different colours change to another colour differently than they do to other colours, if that makes sense. They pick the best case scenario and advertise it as that, 5ms… maybe; grey to black to grey or whatever. Hopefully it’s just the hardware/software that’s processing the image rather than response time… but until i get all that sorted, who knows.

    I’m defiantly happy with the monitor for the price none the less, and i thank you very much for what you did, uploading that photo and all… thanks mate!

    oh, yeah, that’s one thing i noticed… in your photo it says 50hz PP…. mine says 50hz NP…….. i’ve got no idea what that means.

    Hope i didn’t bore you too much anyway frans…. thanks again anyway!!!

  9. Greg – great to hear that the monitor appears to do most of the stuff that you are asking it! And as you say, it is hardly perfect (is there such a thing? not at this price at least) – my main complaint is the touch-button controls, but after the initial setup, I use them rarely.

  10. Yeah the touch buttons are stupid. You’ve gotta get down on the floor so you can attack them from a reasonable angle for starters. It’s a slow process going through the menus. Kind of reminds me of touch screen phones where the keypad is on the screen… No boundaries, no edges of the buttons to feel, annoying! But as you say, set and forget. I’m loving the swivel base. I often turn my monitors around a full 180 degrees, and this one just turns so easily. My other one and older one have to be lifted up and put back down again basically.

    question… have you got the 8800gts512 (g92) by any chance? that’s the one i’ve got.

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