Articles: Monitors

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Philips Brilliance 170T4

This widescreen monitor (the native resolution of the screen is 1280x768) from Philips is evidently made for home use with a nice-looking silvery case, a pretty base (allows controlling the screen tilt in a rather wide range, to a perfectly horizontal position), an integrated TV-tuner, and the very aspect ratio of the screen (16:10) that’s first of all necessary for watching movies. If necessary, the monitor can be wall-mounted with its standard base, but you can also replace it with a standard VESA-compatible base.

There’s only an analog input present, accompanied with an audio input and a headphones output. The power adapter is external and rather large. In the snapshot you see the monitor with the interface cable attached, but the cable is detachable – there’s a standard D-Sub connector under the lid.

The TV-tuner is supplied as an independent unit fastened at the back panel of the monitor (if there’s no tuner, the bay is concealed under a plastic cover). The tuner adds an antenna input, S-Video and composite inputs and another audio input to the monitor’s connectors.

It’s easy to control the monitor as it offers as many as eight buttons for that purpose. For example, it has two buttons for switching between the inputs (they switch into two different directions). The monitor can also be controlled with a remote control, but that’s not quite handy – the control is very slow, so you have to hold a button for half a second and make pauses between presses on different buttons. As for disadvantages, there’s no quick access to the auto adjustment function (the monitor doesn’t always launch it automatically somehow) as well as to the brightness and contrast settings.

The menu can’t boast any special attractions, but it’s quite easy to use. The letters are larger than you usually see in a monitor’s menu, but not large enough for a comfortable control of the monitor from your sofa (when watching a movie). I guess the developers of multimedia monitors should follow Samsung’s example: the menus of Samsung’s 510MP and 710MP models have a size and contrast so well selected that you have no problem with the remote control – the screen is easily readable at a distance of two or three meters.

If the image outputted on the screen has an aspect ratio of 4:3, you can choose to stretch it to 16:10 or leave as 4:3 with black margins on the sides. Thus, you can make the 170T4 work at its native resolution of 1280x768 as well as at 1024x768 and the image will be absolutely sharp and clear in the latter case.

By default, the brightness and contrast settings both stand on 50%. To achieve a screen brightness of 100 nits I chose 25% brightness and 42% contrast.

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