There are currently two discernable trends on the market (and I am more interested in technical trends, rather than marketing ones).
First, it is the second advent of widescreen monitors. The wide aspect ratio is quite an ordinary thing for 20” and larger monitors, but there seemed to be no choice on the market of smaller monitors. Widescreen 19” models used to be a poor choice due to their large pixels and relatively low matrix resolution (this is not crucial for watching movies, but you don’t buy a PC monitor only for movies – there are LCD TV-sets for that!), but the new 19” matrixes with a resolution of 1440x900 have nearly the same number of pixels as ordinary 1280x1024 ones, making widescreen monitors a more appealing option. They are currently assembled only on TN+Film matrixes without response time compensation, but I hope this will change in the future.
Second, Response Time Compensation technology is victorious. The results of my tests are indicative that RTC-enabled matrixes leave no chance to monitors without this technology. They are much faster. The difference in real response time is nearly twofold with MVA and PVA matrixes, threefold with S-IPS matrixes and five- or sixfold with TN+Film matrixes.
I don’t claim it’s all well with RTC because it has brought about such an annoying thing as RTC artifacts, but you can compare monitors from different manufacturers to see that it’s possible to eliminate them and that a smaller response doesn’t necessarily mean greater artifacts (e.g. the BenQ FP93GX is not only faster, but more accurate than the Samsung 960BF). The RTC error is usually very small on MVA/PVA and S-IPS matrixes and they have a decent response time, even though higher than TN+Film have (I’m anticipating a little here: we haven’t yet tested 19” RTC-enabled monitors on S-IPS matrixes in our labs, so I’m basing my conclusion on the results of tests of 20” and larger models).
The last thing I want to dwell upon in this review is that some reviewers have reported that RTC leads to the residual image effect. That is, if you have a static picture on the monitor for a few hours, you will see a shadow of this picture afterwards on the screen. This effect is well-known to owners of plasma panels and it is irrevocable there – the shadow of the picture remains on the screen forever. On LCD monitors this effect is temporary, and the matrix returns to its normal state after a while. I personally cannot see any connection between RTC and the residual image effect. The RTC technology doesn’t put any higher load on the matrix – the maximum voltage applied to a cell is not higher than the voltage corresponding to ordinary white. And after all, RTC is only used on dynamic, moving images whereas there is no response time compensation on static images just because there is no response!
So, the residual image effect is related to the specifics of the pixel structure, chemical composition of the liquid crystals and other factors on the matrix manufacturing technology level, but no direct relation between this effect and RTC technology can be established.
And from my personal experience, I saw the biggest residual effect on an Apple Cinema HD monitor (with a 23” S-IPS matrix) which didn’t have any RTC!