Articles: Monitors

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LG Flatron L172WT

The L172WT model is the opposite of the above-described T17-1. This is a rather expensive, home user oriented, multimedia monitor. More exactly, it is a mixture of a PC monitor and a TV-set. On one hand, the L172WT can connect to the computer and supports the typical resolution of widescreen monitors, 1280x768. On the other hand, it has an integrated TV-tuner, and the employed matrix is described as a TV matrix on the manufacturer’s website (the LC171W03 matrix comes from LG.Philips LCD).

Besides this formal classification the LC171W03 matrix has other special features. First, it is a widescreen matrix. Second, it is made using the S-IPS technology which is rather rare today on the market of 17” LCD monitors. I should also note that the matrix specification on the LG.Philips website declares a response time of 12 milliseconds on gray-to-gray transitions, but our sample had an older version of the matrix with a black-white response time of 25 milliseconds, typical for S-IPS technology.

The monitor looks large in profile and from the front alike. Other 17” devices seem small in comparison. The stand is a shiny circle (I don’t really like it because if there are light sources behind the monitor, they may reflect on the stand and disturb you). It only permits to change the tilt of the screen. You can attach a VESA mount to the monitor by removing the rear cover above the connectors and exposing the screw-holes.

The rear panel carries one DVI-I connector (it can be used for both analog and digital connections) with a corresponding audio input, a microphone port (which is to be attached to the appropriate input of your sound card), a SCART connector, a high-frequency antenna input of the TV-tuner, and a power connector (the power adapter is built into the case). Two interface cables are included with the monitor: one with two DVI connectors and one with a D-Sub connector on one end and a DVI-I on the other end.

The second group of connectors is located to the right: composite and S-Video inputs with a corresponding audio input, a headphones output, and a microphone connector. A minor problem is that the S-Video socket is sunken deep in the case, so some cables won’t plug in unless you “correct” them a little with a file. If you buy an S-Video cable separately, make sure its connector is round, without angles, in section. Otherwise you’ll have to file off these angles as they will prevent the connector from going into the socket.

The monitor is controlled with a four-position joystick (which is in fact four ordinary buttons under a single concave plastic disc) and four buttons around it. This solution is quite handy but sometimes your finger may accidentally press one of the buttons instead of the edge of the joystick.

Besides that, a handy remote control is included with the monitor. All the setup options can be accessed via this remote control in the TV-set as well as PC monitor mode of operation. This control is sometimes even easier to use than the monitor’s own buttons. For example, you can turn on and off the “picture in picture” mode with a press of a single button. And you can’t do such an operation as editing the list of the TV channels without the remote control at all.

The menu looks nice and works well, though I wish it could memorize the last selected position. When the monitor is connected to a computer, the image-related settings don’t differ from those of other monitors, while the sound-related options include balance adjustment, SRS WOW effects on/off, and even a 5-band equalizer besides the ordinary volume adjustment.

A separate menu section is dedicated to the picture in picture mode. You can choose the source of the image in the second window (SCART, composite or S-Video input, or the TV-tuner), the size of the window (small or large) and its position (in any of the four corners of the screen). You can independently set up brightness, contrast, color reproduction and saturation for the second window as well as choose its aspect ratio (5:4, 4:3, 16:9). You can also indicate if the monitor should reproduce the sound corresponding to the second window (as I wrote above, the monitor has two audio inputs).

A minor inconvenience is that the monitor doesn’t automatically determine which input is receiving the signal from the computer (the monitor’s single DVI-I connector acts as two logical video inputs) and you have to press the Source button and select the necessary input manually.

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