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But this situation became reality two years ago in the LCD monitor market. The manufacturers rolled out their TN matrices and TN-based monitors which cost less than the competitors on IPS and MVA matrices and were “better” than them (better in one respect only – in the response time). As a result, all 17” LCD monitors currently available, besides just a few models like Samsung’s PVA-based monitors and Iiyama’s H430S with an S-IPS matrix, are built on TN matrices. The TN technology is poised to conquer the market of 19” monitors, too. Until now, this market has only been safeguarded by a total lack of large TN matrices.

Regrettably, the response time is not the true indication of quality. Actually, the response time of 16 milliseconds was obtained with the help of a trick, made possible by the measurement method. As you remember, the response time is only measured on the matrix’s switching from black to white and vice versa, but now take a look at the following graphs, which show the time it takes to make a transition from black to a shade of gray:

This chart displays the results of two monitors: NEC LCD1760VM with a response time of 25msec, and Iiyama ProLite E431S with a response time of 16msec. You see that the two graphs nearly coincide, save for the black-to-white transition where the 16msec matrix suddenly has a great advantage. This is not a unique feature of the particular monitor model – all TN matrices with a response time below 25msec draw a similarly-shaped graph. Of course, they have a slightly lower response time on black-to-gray transitions, too. The maximum response time of 12msec matrices is no more than 25 milliseconds, but I think if the 25msec matrices were developing further, they would reach the same result, save for the black-white transitions.

Samsung even achieved a black-to-gray response time of less than 20msec in the SyncMaster 710T, but this is a single case where the maximum response time closely complies with the specification. In all the other matrices tested in our laboratory, the advantage of fast matrices on black-gray transitions is small (2-3 milliseconds compared to previous-generation matrices). In other words, you are going to find that a 16msec matrix is not 1.5 times faster than a 25msec one, and a 12msec matrix is not 1.33 times faster than a 16msec one – the difference is smaller.

Anyway, the steady improvement of the response time, although not as big as you might guess from the numbers the manufacturers are specifying, is a good thing overall. Right now, 25msec matrices are completely ousted out of the market, and 16msec models are ruling it (I mean the TN+Film technology only here). And 12msec matrices are coming up, followed by 8msec ones. But still, even with this response time, LCD matrices have a long way to CRT monitors. For the ghosting effect in moving images to vanish completely, a response time of 4msec is necessary, and in the whole range of colors rather than on black-to-white transitions only.

Above, I was expressing my complaints about the marketing folk from the manufacturing companies emphasizing one matrix parameter – its response time – silencing the rest of them. Now let me correct this situation.

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