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NEC MultiSync LCD4620-AV

Feb 1, 2008 12:00 PM, By Jeff Sauer

New features cater specifically to public-display installers.


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NEC MultiSync LCD4620-AV

There are a lot of flatpanel TVs out there these days, many of which you'll find for commodity prices at the local superstore or warehouse club. A lot rarer are flatpanels that are built with the rigors of public display in mind, combining high brightness, professional inputs, a robust enclosure, and components designed for around-the-clock usage. That's the calling card of the new NEC line of 40in. and 46in. MultiSync digital information displays.

Sexy and sleek new award-winning design? Not here. Indeed, there's little in this design to draw the eye away from the content on the screen. The chassis is metal construction, except for the hard, durable black-plastic bezel — with ventilation holes dispensing heat on all sides rather than through the center back — and two strong metal carrying handles in the back. Eighteen VESA-compliant screw holes across the back afford landscape- and portrait-mounting options. There are no lights or controls on the front of the panel — even the NEC logo across the bottom is an understated and smaller-than-usual dark gray — although there are tactile menu-access controls hidden in the back below the connection ports. Naturally, those can be locked out and password protected.

As with other NEC panels, this new public-display-oriented MultiSync line is available in either AV or IT configurations. The LCD4620-AV($4,199) that I tested, and the smaller LCD4020-AV ($2,599), feature a full array of inputs, including 15-pin VGA, DVI-D, HDMI, 5×RGB and loop-through, 3×RCA component video, S-Video, and composite, as well as an audio amplifier. The IT versions ($3,999 and $2,499, respectively) offer significant savings by eliminating the mostly extraneous S-Video, composite, and component video ports (leaving the 15-pin VGA, 5×BNC RGB, and DVI-D). NEC does offer external loudspeakers and an ATSC HDTV tuner as options.

Yet there's a lot more below the surface that caters specifically to public-display installers. First, the LCD4620 takes advantage of recent improvements to LCD technology, such as 4-millisecond response time — which minimizes image ghosting — and new chevron-shaped pixels that increase color saturation when viewed from a sharp angle and prevent color shift as a viewer walks past the panel. NEC has improved its multipanel matrix support of up to 5×5 daisy-chained panels by adding easily adjustable compensation for the physical width of the bezel. By assigning a matrix ID to each panel, a single handheld remote can control all 25 panels in a matrix. NEC's Cable Comp feature compensates manually or automatically for long-cable-run signal errors in any of the three primary colors.

Naturally, the LCD4620 supports a picture-in-picture mode, as well as a picture-on-picture mode that would be more appropriate for simple digital signage, with text surrounding that aforementioned video in a window. There's also a built-in scheduling feature for automatic power up and power down for every day of the week — a great time-saving feature for installations with multiple panels hung throughout a facility. And the LCD4620 includes an expansion slot that is available for custom options, such as an internal computer module, an HD-SDI or other I/O expansion option, or a digital signage streaming player.

TESTING

Unlike NEC's line of Multeos crossover business/residential LCDs with native 1080p resolution, the LCD4620 has a lower, more computer-centric resolution of 1366×768, and that's no accident. Because LCDs are at their best when directly displaying source resolution, NEC has opted for a resolution that's more likely to be consistent with the digitally created source material for digital signage. While that may be a compromise if most of your signage content is high-definition video, that's not the case for the large majority of public-signage usage. Yes, video is often a part of it, but often the video resides within a window surrounded by the text and graphics that create the specific signage message. And the 1366×768 computer resolution is excellent for producing sharp, legible text and graphics.

On the spec sheet, NEC lists the brightness of the LCD4620 at 650 cd/m2 and I was able to measure right around that, but only with brightness artificially high. More appropriate measurements based on a setup similar to how the panel is likely to be used are a little lower, from 534 cd/m2 to 592 cd/m2 depending on specific color temperature. I measured brightness uniformity between 85 percent to 90 percent, again depending on specific brightness and contrast levels and a contrast ratio of 653:1. Those are pretty good basic numbers, and the ability to crank up to more than 600 nits against the potential bright lights of public spaces is not a bad option.

Yet, even better than those basic statistics, the LCD4620 should be a very straightforward install given its out-of-the-box color configuration. I found grayscale curve to be particularly good, especially for an LCD panel, all the way down to 10 IRE. Color accuracy out of the box was equally impressive. Both primary and secondary colors were right where they should be, with the slight exception of green, which hints toward blue. That just means there will be a lot less need to delve into NEC's custom color parameters. They are there if you want them, but the LCD4620's excellent default configuration should save a lot of time during the install.

And, while you'll do best to feed the LCD4620 its native resolution (as with any LCD), I was pleasantly surprised by the auto-setup function's ability to adjust to alternate resolutions, in terms of both alignment and scaling. The process takes several seconds, but it's just a push of a button, and the results are quite good.

With the combination of its sturdy metal chassis, built-in configuration features, computer-centric resolution, and understated design, the LCD4620 was built specifically for the digital-information-display market. While the price is still much higher than those sexy curved-bezel commodity panels at the superstore, the LCD4620 is built for a much different job and that should lower the cost of ownership in the long run. And it's got an inner beauty that a business installer could love.


PRODUCT SUMMARY

Company: NEC Display Solutions www.necdisplay.com

Product: MultiSync LCD4620-AV

Pros: Sturdy, understated design for public-display usage; excellent image quality, particularly for LCD; extensive built-in features for cost of entry.

Cons: AV version is a little pricey.

Price: $4,199 street price ($3,999 for the IT configuration).


SPECIFICATIONS

Display type: Active-matrix LCD

Diagonal screen size: 46in.

Native resolution: 1366×768

Aspect ratio: 16:9

Brightness: 650 cd/m2

Contrast ratio: 1200:1

Pixel pitch: 0.7455mm

Inputs: DVI-D, 15-pin RGB, 5×BNC RGB, 3×RCA component, S-Video, BNC and RCA composite

Control: RS-232 in/out (daisy chain)

Viewing angle: 178 degrees side-to-side and up-down

Dimensions (H×W×D): 29.9"×41.6"×5.6"

Weight: 83.6lbs.

Warranty: Three years parts and labor



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