Product Review: Wide-Screens Appeal For Both Business And Home Use

Wide-screen computer displays are becoming more popular because they're better suited for multimedia and entertainment purposes as well as certain business applications. We look at two new wide-screen displays, one from Philips and one from ViewSonic.

Marc Spiwak, Contributor

September 14, 2006

4 Min Read

Wide-screen computer displays are becoming more and more popular simply because they are better suited for certain business applications and for multimedia and entertainment purposes. They also cost less to manufacture than standard aspect displays, resulting in more screen space per dollar for the end user. Here, we look at two new wide-screen displays, one from Philips and one from ViewSonic. On the surface, the two units appear quite similar. But the ViewSonic multipurpose display has a built-in TV tuner, making it an ideal match for media-center systems, while the Philips unit has a higher resolution making it better suited for business and productivity applications.

Philips' new 200WB7 is a 20-inch wide-screen LCD monitor with a native WSXGA resolution of 1,680 x 1,050 pixels. This high-resolution display lets users view two letter-sized pages side-by-side at once or a spreadsheet in its entirety. This eliminates page scrolling, thereby increasing productivity. Many Web sites now have wide-screen formats, making a wide-screen display beneficial there, as well. Of course, a high-resolution display also helps produce a crisp, sharp image. The display has an aspect ratio of 16:10which is close to, but not an exact match for HDTV's 16:9 aspect ratio.

The 200WB7 is a state-of-the-art display, with an 8-millisecond response time and dual inputs with both analog VGA and digital DVI connectors (VGA and DVI cables are supplied with unit). This makes it easy to mate with any system, new or old. The display also has ergonomic components such as a base that provides height, swivel, tilt and pivot adjustments. For convenience, the display has a USB port located in front that lets users connect peripherals in a hassle-free manner.

The 200WB7 offers wide viewing angles of 160 degrees horizontal and 145 degrees vertical. The unit measures 19 inches wide by 15.8 inches high by 8.5 inches deep and weighs about 19 pounds. Philips has provided the display with SmartManage technology for LAN-based management. Once connected to a networked computer, the SmartManage technology allows the monitor to be tracked by asset management systems. Network administrators can observe usage hours, verify locations, adjust and reset display settings and so on.

The displays were tested for image quality using DisplayMate Technologies' DisplayMate for Windows Multimedia Edition Version 2.10, a program containing images and test patterns that push displays to their limits. Image quality of the Philips 200WB7 was quite good, as it displayed very sharp text, good grayscale, white scale and color scale. The display's MSRP is $469.

Philips' channel program has a vertical structure. To become an Authorized Philips Reseller, VARs must prove their business is based on business-to-business selling as opposed to selling strictly via the Internet. Authorized resellers receive evaluation units at no charge to the VAR, specially priced demo units, promotions and other rewards. Premier resellers reap all of these benefits plus more. The channel program is designed to help partners meet market demand and keep the product moving without encountering additional hurdles.

What separates ViewSonic's 20-inch wide-screen N2060w from most other displays is that it has a built-in TV tuner making it a multipurpose display suitable for both entertainment and productivity applications in settings where a separate unit won't fit.

The N2060w is a great value with an MSRP of $549. More versatile than the Philips unit, the ViewSonic N2060w has built-in speakers and also has more inputs, including VGA, composite, component and S-Video. Unfortunately, the N2060w does not include a DVI input, which nowadays, is what most high-end graphics cards have.

The unit is compatible with HDTV signals including 480i, 480p, 720p and 1080i and progressive-scan DVD players. The display also features reverse 3:2 pull down and a 3-D motion-adaptive comb filter to provide a high-quality image. The N2060w has a native resolution of 1,366 x 768 pixels, providing an aspect ratio of 16:9an ideal match for HDTV and other wide-screen sources, but not as high a native resolution as the Philips unit, which is therefore better suited for business applications. Like the Philips unit however, the N2060w has an 8ms response time.

When tested for image quality, the N2060w displayed sharp text and good gray scale, although a white-scale display dropped off at the extreme white end. Color scales showed up vividly.

The three levels of ViewSonic's Access channel program include Silver, Gold and Platinum. Silver members must have up to $50,000 in quarterly ViewSonic sales, Gold members must have $50,000 to $250,000, and Platinum members must have more than $250,000 per quarter. All members receive help from a dedicated ViewSonic Access program representative. Gold and Platinum members receive MDF and a VIP support hotline. Gold members get a listing on ViewSonic's dealer locator site while Platinum members get a link on the ViewSonic's "Where to Buy" site and a dedicated ViewSonic regional business manager. Both Gold and Platinum members receive Growth Incentive Rebates (GIR) on incremental sales. VARs also can sell ViewCare extended warranty and express exchange services. Other benefits include online training and Webinars, demo units, discounted pricing, free shipping, lead generation, spiffs and more. About 99 percent of ViewSonic's products are sold through the channel.

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